Costa Rica, located in Central America, is beautiful and historical. According to the New Economics Foundation, Costa Rica is the "greenest country in the world," a small country making huge strides toward becoming a completely carbon neutral country.
About the project
Take the opportunity to participate in one of three tracks: teaching/children, healthcare and medical, or community. The aim of these projects is to give aid to communities in Costa Rica that are stricken by poverty, lack of health care, and/or lack of resources. Volunteers should posses patience, creativity, and commitment.
Children in the communities can fall victim to a living situation that affords them few opportunities. In these cases, the community is often left with the responsibility to support and rehabilitate these youngsters. In other cases, parents need to work to support their families, and arrangements are needed to provide supervision and positive modeling for their kids when not in school.
These health projects in Costa Rica provide a wonderful opportunity to doctors, nurses, and medical students (some Pre Medical students can join the project too) to become familiar with the challenges and health issues of Costa Rica, and to get first hand experience in the field. Volunteers support local doctors and nurses.
This project is for creative and free-thinking volunteers who are really interested in bringing their own ideas and background to the volunteer experience. In this program you will immerse yourself in the activities of the community: working with local groups, communal associations, youth groups, and sports organizations.
Examples of past community projects: establishing programs and activities such as women’s groups, organizing soccer leagues for kids, women and men, building organic gardens for local soup-kitchens, repairing or constructing community sites, or designing small businesses that support local women’s financial independence.
Please note, that these projects require conversational Spanish, both speaking and comprehension. Upon arrival in Costa Rica if you don't know Spanish you will be required to take a Spanish immersion course. Please see below for full information.
Volunteer work and contribution
The aim of volunteers on any of the tracks will be to be a helping hand to their particular organization. Duties are varied but will include:
Helping in the kitchen
Playing with the kids
Teaching basic English vocabulary
Basic care for children
checking blood pressure,
distributing food and medicine,
helping with other first-aid procedures.
Volunteers may be asked to help with different programs such as health education, basic prevention, nutrition, and sanitation that are organized through a number of hospitals and local clinics
Your custom-made project will be a marriage of the needs of the community and your personal inspiration. Your goal will be to get your brainchild off the ground and once it’s up and running, hand over the responsibility to the community members with whom you’ve worked.
Homestay: This type of accommodation is available in most of our projects. We use great local families who are all screened and are very happy to have volunteers who are there to help their communities.
Meals are included in your homestay accommodation. Food will be standard Costa Rican cuisine. All food and drinks served by the host family will be safe to eat and vegetarians can be accommodated. Laundry service is offered once a week.
Volunteers houses: Some of the projects have small or medium size volunteer houses. Volunteers share rooms with others. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is provided Monday to Friday for volunteers who stay in the volunteer house as part of their program fee. The houses have nice facilities. Sometimes volunteers are expected to help with meals and assist in the cleaning of the volunteer house. They can sleep on beds, and sometimes bunk beds. The volunteer houses are also available to be used on the weekends.
Not just work...You will have the opportunity to travel throughout Costa Rica during your time off. Volunteers are invited to take part in extracurricular activities such as Latino Dancing Lesson, Costa Rica Cooking Lesson and Tropical Fruits Lesson in the afternoons.
Its important to have intermediate Spanish before you join the volunteer project. If you don't, no problem, you can join a fun week (or more) Spanish course. The course includes Spanish grammar rules, emphasis on pronunciation for increased ease of conversation and allows plenty of practice time for verbal and written Spanish. The goal of this program is to provide the student with basic language skills and functional fluency.
Minimum age 18
Conversational Spanish, or willingness to take Spanish immersion courses
Motivation to work with children or in humanitarian aid settings
Full travel & medical insurance
Immunizations (please consult your doctor)
To apply for this program, see Community Involvement in Costa Rica