October 20, 2023

Honoring Jose Martinez Cruz - "People Over Profits"

Interim had the great good fortune to work with Jose Martinez Cruz for nearly 15 years as he created ideal, fulfilling, meaningful gap experiences in his beloved Costa Rica. Through his company CIME - Center for International Multidisciplinary Education, over 160 of our students were welcomed as “family” and nurtured and mentored while engaging in bespoke experiential learning opportunities. Jose left no stone unturned as he found options shadowing doctors, volunteering with a UN-associated women’s shelter, helping at a sloth sanctuary or sea turtle rehabilitation non-profit, living and working alongside the indigenous peoples of Costa Rica, or learning the art of creating a hand-carved Boruca mask from a local master artisan. His success has been based on service to others, and at the core of every student’s experience was a genuine caring human being whose core mission was to help young adults grow into their full human potential. 

CIME’s business model was a noble one: 

Our priority is people over profits. We pride ourselves on our ability and willingness to redistribute funds and resources to worthy grassroots projects and organizations. Most of the money derived from payment fees to CIME is spent or re-invested LOCALLY. The money is paid out or donated to the families who host students, to sites and projects where our students work or visit and to special community service projects and events. Five percent of each tuition payment is immediately donated directly to children’s rights organizations, women’s groups, community soup kitchens, and animal shelters. A priority donation site is the Community Soup Kitchen of St. Lazaro where meals are served daily to 250 hungry kids. Upon request we would be happy to send a complete list of the organizations we currently help to support.

Student and parent reviews laud Jose and the CIME experience:

Thank you so so so much for everything. This has already been the experience of a lifetime!! I am having an absolute blast! I love my classes and am excited to start my internships next week! I will be working with the turtles in the Pacific for two weeks, then I will return to San José and work in human rights for another two weeks. For my final two weeks, I am going to work in a school in San José! My host family is incredible, and I absolutely adore my friends in the neighborhood. Thank you for helping me find this incredible opportunity. It is truly the greatest
experience of my life! Pura Vida 
~ Student: KM

Jose is extremely organized and (my daughter) was well taken care of and had all the guidance and
assistance she ever needed. She developed a wonderful relationship with her host family and all the families in the neighborhood. The program itself didn’t have that many students this season but she made wonderful friends in the neighborhood and in all places she visited. Her weeks were filled with work and during the weekends the group did small trips to gorgeous places around the country. Her voluntary work was interesting and she really enjoyed her time at Ostional, especially since she was there during the arrival of the turtles. Her Spanish has improved dramatically and she is much more confident communicating verbally and in writing. I will recommend this program to anyone who wants Spanish immersion and a really sweet taste of the wonderful people of Costa Rica. 
~ Parent: AS

Costa Rica and CIME have been absolutely amazing. I just got back from the mountains in Monteverde which was beautiful. We zip lined and rappelled down a 40 meter water fall. My Spanish has absolutely improved. We’ve been spending a lot of time with a group of kids in the neighborhood which has given me a lot of practice with more colloquial Spanish. Today I met a man on the street who thought I was a native Costa Rican because of my Spanish. That was a confidence boost for sure. I think the details about my internship are still being confirmed, but I will most likely stay in San José and work with a human rights group in the city. I will let you know how things go. Sending you the best from me and Abuelito the goat!”
~ Student: TP

It is with great sadness that we learned of Jose’s recent failing health which necessitated the closure of CIME. Jose was cared for at home by his family until his death on October 21.

Pura vida, Jose, and a heartfelt thank you from all of us in the gap year field.

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