Volunteer Language Teaching in Costa Rica
Volunteer Language Teaching in Costa Rica
A huge part of being a great teacher lies in being passionate about what you do, and our Volunteer Language Teaching programme in Costa Rica needs passionate people! Costa Rica is a very popular tourist destination, so being able to speak other languages can help open doors for these children when they leave school. Further, whilst you will be supported and guided by local staff, but will also have the freedom to use your own techniques to engage the children in your language sessions. This programme is not just about teaching English, however; it’s about giving children the confidence and self-belief to dream big and plan for a bright future. If you feel you can do that, then this programme is for you!
Give Costa Rica’s Children a Better Start in Life!
You will be teaching children between 5 and 19 years old, usually in English – however, if you are bilingual in French, German or Mandarin, you can also teach these! There may also be the opportunity to choose the age group you prefer to work with, so you can match the class to your experience. You will find that some of the larger schools have English teachers, but they can sometimes struggle – so your help will benefit them as well as the children! Whilst you are not required to have teaching experience for this programme, you are expected to be able to plan lessons and may also be the lead teacher on occasion, so belief in yourself and your abilities is a must!
Explore Costa Rica, its Vibrant Culture and Friendly Communities!
At the end of your day of Volunteer Language Teaching here in Costa Rica, you’ll want to do some exploring! Esparza, where you will be staying, is a quiet town a little off the beaten track. Here you will find people who follow a traditional way of life, with horses for transport and small village markets for basic needs. However, for those who want a little more excitement, you’ll find much more around Costa Rica city. Head for jungle canopy walks, watersports, trekking and hiking activities closer to the city. And if you simply want to kick back at the end of the day, our Eco-houses have great spaces to relax and socialise with your new friends, inside and out.
Why Volunteer Language Teaching in Costa Rica?
- Help local children gain language skills and build their confidence
- Improve and share your own teaching skills with local teachers
- Explore Costa Rica, its varied landscape and vibrant culture
- Stay at one of our Eco-houses with great communal areas and outside spaces
- Enjoy authentic Costa Rican cuisine with meals and beverages* included
*tea, coffee and drinking water
You will arrive on Sunday, and have plenty of time to relax and refresh before your week of Volunteer Language Teaching. On your teaching programme, your hours will follow the school day, and there will be plenty of breaks in between to explore the village or get to know your fellow volunteers and teaching staff.
Mandatory Orientation Day
On the Monday of your first week as a Language Teacher here in Costa Rica, you will join our orientation day to get accustomed to your local surroundings as well as local culture. Your programme will continue as usual from Tuesday onward throughout the rest of the week.
Orientation Day Schedule
- Introduction meeting, House rules, Setting Expectations, Health and Safety Advice and handling of documents.
- Costa Rican Do’s and Don’ts, Costa Rican Culture Lessons and Spanish Language Lessons.
- Tour around the compound and local area; where to find local shops, and arrange a sim-card if necessary
- Introduction to the project site, and start participating on the project (if possible).
Monday to Friday
Each day will depend on the classes and schools you are working with, as well as activities you may be taking part in. However, your schedule will be from 08:00 in the morning until just after 16:30, with lunch and breaks at regular times.
Evenings and Weekends
Your evenings and weekends are free to do as you wish. There’s plenty to see locally after your day of volunteering! Many of our volunteers plan group outings together at the weekends, or simply hang back at the accommodation and get to know each other in the evenings.
Places to Visit
Esparza and Puntarenas have plenty to offer for weekend activities, including horse riding, watersports (surf is huge), game fishing, canopy tours, hotels to suit all budgets, and some of the best scenery in the world. Puntarenas is also ideally suited to take a scenic ferry to the Nicoya Peninsula and its many secluded beaches. Further, Esparza is on the Panamerican Highway, so access to the rest of Costa Rica and the rest of the American continent is at your doorstep!
This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen events.
Further, when confirming your dates for language teaching, please take note of the long holidays (late Dec to early Feb) and the other Public Holidays in the Holidays section which schools may take advantage of. During such times, renovation work continues, with the option to join special classes and English camps when requested by the local community.
Esparza is an agricultural town and is the second oldest in the country. Further, it also has a rich history that includes legends of hidden pirate gold! The pace of life is relaxed here, and you will find locals to be incredibly warm and friendly – our volunteers are always the talk of the town when they come to visit!
About the Accommodation
You’ll stay in two newly built Eco houses in our centre in Esparza: Jaguar House and Toucan House.
These houses sleep up to 22 people, and most rooms have bunk beds, with all rooms single-gender. However, private rooms are available if preferred.
For relaxing, there is also a large dining hall/games room/communal area shared by both houses, with free WiFi, and table tennis, and a large garden of tropical plants, including coconut palm, papaya, banana, and citrus.
Costa Rican food is a blend of native American, Spanish and African cuisine, and is quite mild (not too spicy!). You will have three meals a day on weekdays (two on weekends), all included in your programme. Most meals will include either fish, chicken, pork or beef, but vegetarians can be catered for.
There are shops within 300 metres of the centre, and bars, restaurants, and an excellent public pool within 15 minutes walk. There is an ATM within 1km and more ATMs in town, about 2kms. Buses into town and further afield leave from within 300ms of the centre.
Trip Country Info
Capital: San José
Currency: Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
Time zone: UTC -6
Pura vida (“real life”) has become the unofficial motto of Costa Rica. And for a reason. Costa Rica is, in essence, a slice of tropical paradise in Central America, and its inhabitants, AKA “the ticos”, are justifiably proud of it. Perfect waves for surfing, breathtaking sunsets, misty crater lakes, waterfall-filled hiking trails, white-water rapids, sun-kissed beaches, adventure-filled paths and wildlife that includes howler monkeys, capuchins and other friendly-looking animals await you in this small, yet magnificently varied country.
Costa Rica has a reputation for being a tropical paradise, and rightly so. However, due to its diverse terrain, the country boasts a range of different climates.
Costa Rica has no real summer or winter due to its proximity to the equator, and the average temperature ranges from 21°C to 27°C. However, a rainy season does exist, and takes place between May and November. The central valley is often cooler than the coastal areas.
The Pacific coast tends to be hot and dry all year-round, especially the northern part (known as the Gold Coast), while the highlands (around Monteverde) are filled with mist during much of the year, due to the high altitude. The Caribbean coast is quite hot and moist, and receives rain during most of the year. The lowlands have quite a warm climate, with an average temperature of 26°C, and the Central Valley, including San José, is said to have the best climate in the country.
Costa Rican culture, as in most Latin American countries, is heavily influenced by Spain, as a result of colonization. However, parts of the country have other strong influences, such as that of Limón, which has more of a Jamaican feel to it. There are also several indigenous areas throughout the country.
A great part of the music and folklore of Costa Rica comes from the north of the country, where Mayan culture mixes with Afro-Caribbean trends. Costa Rica has a distinctive musical genre known as punto and most of its music can be easily distinguished by a very unique rhythm known as tambito.
Costa Rica goes by the motto Pura Vida, which means “pure life” and the phrase can be used as a greeting or a farewell, or just to say “that’s great” or “all’s good”. The phrase was originally from a Mexican film, but was soon adopted by Costa Ricans, and is used in several contexts to express a positive outlook on life.
The cuisine of Costa Rica relies heavily on fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fish and meat. Rice and black beans are traditional and included in most meals. Potatoes are another staple of Costa Rican gastronomy as wells as plantain, a member of the banana family.
Due to the tropical location of the country, you will be able to find many exotic fruits that you might have never heard of before!
Due to the amount of tourism that Costa Rica boasts, international food is offered in many sites – from Japanese to Mexican to Peruvian.