About Community Development in Costa Rica
World Endeavors Community Development volunteers in Costa Rica work to strengthen their host community by addressing some of its most pressing needs and sharing their skills and compassion with the people they meet. Volunteers contribute to a community program that provides job skills training and job placement for unemployed and disadvantaged adults. Tasks may include providing English language training, teaching computer skills courses, and facilitating other skill-building workshops. Volunteers on this project can also spend time working at a local soup kitchen that provides nutritious meals for low-income community members. Community development volunteers gain a window into the local Costa Rican culture as they work to make a meaningful contribution to their host community.
A Typical Day in the Life of a Volunteer in Costa Rica
World Endeavors volunteers in Costa Rica can expect their days to be a combination of meaningful volunteer work, cultural experiences, and free time for relaxation and reflection. The sample schedule below represents a typical day for a volunteer in Costa Rica. Keep in mind that when volunteering abroad, a typical day can be anything but typical!
8:00 am – 8:45 am: Breakfast with your host family. Breakfast in Costa Rica often consists of gallo pinto (rice and black beans), eggs, fried plantains, and fresh fruit juice or locally-grown coffee.
8:45 am – 9:00 am: Travel by public bus or walk to your volunteer placement.
9:00 am – 12:00 pm: Work at volunteer placement.
12:00 pm– 12:30 pm: Head home for lunch with your host family or eat lunch at your project site. Lunch is the main meal in Costa Rica. A typical lunch is a casado (rice, beans, meat, tortillas, and a salad).
1:00- 3:30 pm: Work at volunteer placement
3:30 pm: Walk or ride the public bus to Spanish class.
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Spanish class.
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Free time to explore the city, take a stroll through the central park, browse the vendors’ stands at the market, get some ice cream, go to the internet café, or swim in the local public swimming pool.
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Dinner with your host family. Dinners in Atenas often include gallo pinto, meat, vegetables, and tropical fruit. Dinner is usually a smaller affair than lunch.
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm: Relax at home, watch a movie and practice Spanish with your host family, prepare for tomorrow’s volunteering, or plan a weekend trip to go swimming along the Pacific or Caribbean coast, hiking in the rainforest, visiting one of the numerous volcanoes, or white water rafting and zip-lining.
Project and class schedules, meals, and free time activities may vary depending on the details of your placement.
Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, though exceptions to this age requirement may be made on a case-by-case basis. Successful volunteers are hardworking, flexible, and open to truly immersing themselves in Costa Rican culture.
I loved speaking Spanish. It was an amazing experience and I feel more comfortable starting a conversation in Spanish now.
-Maggie, Community Development Volunteer in Costa Rica
Elyse is from Ontario, Canada. She studies Sociology and English at university. She was a volunteer with the World Endeavors Teaching volunteer program in Costa Rica.