Teach English as a volunteer

Learning Spanish in Heredia, Costa Rica
Learning Spanish in Heredia, Costa Rica

Travelers looking to volunteer during a trip to Costa Rica can contribute to local communities by teaching English at schools and universities.

Because Costa Rica is rapidly becoming one of Central America's most important destinations for eco-tourism, many Ticos are interested in becoming fluent in English so that they can work in the tourism industry or the high tech industry that is increasingly becoming popular. By teaching English as a volunteer, visitors to Costa Rica can experience the country's beautiful natural scenery as they fill an important role in its developing economy.

Volunteer at Schools

Volunteers who work at primary schools frequently help teach students between the ages of 3 and 13 years old. Whether they lead smaller groups of students or help support a professional teacher in a full-size class, these travelers provide children with exposure to native English, laying a critical foundation for their study of the language later in life.

People who teach at universities usually lead sessions in the afternoon after normal classes have concluded. At these meetings, volunteers teach conversational English to students who are interested in learning more about American culture.

In addition to simply teaching English, visitors to Costa Rica can take advantage of opportunities to share some of their other passions as well. For example, many schools allow volunteers to organize their own extracurricular activities related to sports, drama and music. Additionally, some conservation centers throughout the country blend English courses with instruction on the local ecosystem, giving visitors a chance to provide children with education about both language and environmental issues.

Learn Spanish at a Homestay

Many groups that organize volunteer trips to Costa Rica house participants with local Spanish-speaking families. These homestays allow travelers to learn just as much as they teach, offering them a unique look into the everyday lives of Costa Ricans. The bonds formed between volunteers and their host families often last long after the programs end, leaving everyone with new friends and a richer understanding of another culture.

Travelers who are looking for longer-term ways to teach English in Costa Rica must obtain a special work visa in order to find employment in the country. Once this is obtained, teachers may wish to look for work in early January, as this falls in the middle of the main break in Costa Rica's school year.

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