About Teaching in Costa Rica
World Endeavors Teaching volunteers in Costa Rica help to provide greater educational opportunities to local children. Education is one of the most powerful ways to promote social and economic development in local communities, and volunteers partner with local educators to share their skills and their enthusiasm for learning with young children. Teaching volunteers often begin their volunteer placements as classroom assistants in English classes, helping local teachers with lessons and assisting students with assignments. Volunteers who are ready may gradually begin to take over lessons, and may also spend time working with local English teachers, them helping with pronunciation and vocabulary. Many teaching volunteers also help to supervise recess and support after-school activities for the children.
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.
The greatest benefit for me was observing how classes were taught in a different country and being able to use my own experience as a teacher to bring new ideas into the class as well as take ideas back to my own school.
-Jenifer, Teaching Volunteer in Costa Rica
Keri Larsen is from Indiana, where she studied Elementary and Special Education. She volunteered teaching children abroad in Costa Rica with World Endeavors.