Volunteering in Sports Education in Costa Rica

Volunteer to teach sports in Costa Rica and make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged school children in rural Alajuela province. In Latin America, physical education is an important part of the curriculum, but budget constraints mean that many schools can’t afford to employ a full-time PE teacher. Sports education volunteers provide students with the opportunity to learn new sports, develop their skills and foster a love of fitness.

Working at schools throughout San Ramon, you will introduce first to sixth-grade school children to a range of sports, help them develop team playing skills and enjoy getting active. Equipment is limited so volunteers often have to apply creative thought to lesson plans, making classes fun and educational with minimal resources.

Program Video

You don’t need to have any professional sports experience or teaching qualifications to join the project. There will always be a teacher available for supervision and language help. However, if you have a particular skill or experience in a specific sport, feel free to share your knowledge with the students.

If you are passionate about sports and fitness and have intermediate Spanish speaking skills, download our program brochure to find out more about volunteering in sports education in Costa Rica.

Quick facts

  • Program: Volunteer Costa Rica
  • Location: San Ramon
  • Minimum Duration: 2 Weeks
  • Language Requirement: Int. Spanish
  • Airport Pick-up: Yes, for $75
  • Travel Insurance Not included
  • Suitable for Groups: No
  • Region: Alajuela
  • Project Site: Elementary & High Schools
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Accommodation: Dorm Home
  • Meals: 2 Meals Daily
  • Start Dates: Every Other Friday
  • Suitable for Families: Yes

Your role as a volunteer

Volunteers joining the Sports Education Project in Costa Rica will help plan and deliver PE lessons under the supervision of a qualified teacher. You will also assist teachers with lesson preparations, encourage students to become physically active, introduce children to new sports and help out with school events and competitions.

Tasks may include:

  • Assisting teachers in preparing sports classes
  • Teaching children about new sports
  • Assisting and taking part in sports training and inter-school competitions
  • Supervising children during recession and lunch

Work schedule

Sports education volunteers work four days per week, from Monday to Thursday. You will usually work in the mornings between 7 am and 12 pm or in the afternoons from 1 pm until 3 pm, but this may change depending on the school where you are placed.

Journey to work

The sports education center is within a 30-minute walk or a short bus ride from our volunteer dormitory.

Closed dates

The Sports Education project in Costa Rica is closed from the second week of December until the second week of February, and for one week preceding Easter Sunday. There is also a mid-term break for the first two weeks of July.

Project Photos

Project Location

Project Reviews & Testimonials

When I first arrived in Costa Rica, I had certain expectations of exactly what I wanted my trip to be like, I was so excited + nervous about everything.

I was very surprised by San Ramon the first time I saw it. San Ramon was not quiet slightly desolate and dirt road town I pictured. Instead, the actual town is filled with shops, restaurants, bars, internet cafes and an amazing farmer's market on weekends. Everything you could possibly need was within walking distance.

We cover various altered forms of baseball, basketball, volleyball, American football, dodge ball and various tag games.

A Norwegian friend of mine from high school was already working with uVolunteer in San Ramon as an English teacher, and he recommended the program. He also told me that uVolunteer needed a P.E. teacher for the local school, so I decided to join in. And I was not disappointed.

These kids were amazing, a burst of life.

A remind of all the good that is still in the world! What will this day bring? I often asked myself. It always brought me laughs, smiles and some times tears. Tears of joy. A remind of all the good that is still in the world.

I explained that I have been playing my whole life and I know it is easier to catch a ball with two hands.

After some of them listened to me after I had repeated it a million times, they finally realized it works. Slowly but surely more and more kids became interested in this new sport they had yet to discover. I would teach, I would say 20 kids, how to play catch and then they started to teach each other.

The first day at INA, the english school, I had to stand in front of the 30 students and give a brief presentation about myself.

During the break, six students came up to me to properly introduce themselves, and find out more about me. Throughout the 4 weeks, I got to help them with their pronunciation, watch their presentations and share some stories of my own.

There is no more appropriate way to end this testimony than by ending with PURA VIDA! I stated out by taking three weeks of language school and then header to San Ramon where I volunteered as a physical education teacher for five weeks.

Three weeks of Spanish school was enough for me to begin to try and communicate in Spanish, but soon I realized that the language barrier presented a definite challenge for me since my Spanish was still very limited. However, even with limited Spanish I was able to have a fun and rewarding experience...

During my placement each day I would teach English for 3 hours at an elementary school, and 3 hours at another school helping to teach physical education.

Every day I was excited to go to the school and see the smiling faces of the little kids. The school atmosphere was awesome, because as soon as you walk into the school there is a load of kids there to greet you with hugs, hellos, smiles and questions each and every day.

Upon completing the mural many fellow volunteers and I travelled to the Caribbean cost to experience another part of Costa Rica.

Once back in Costa Rica after an amazing get away we were informed that the schools were once again open and I was finally going to be able to teach physical education. In conclusion I have been having an absolute blast playing sharks and minnows, relay races, kickball, jump rope activities, handball, and of course tons of futbol or as us Americans say, 'Soccer'.

Upon arriving at the school, I was immediately welcomed by all the students and teachers.

They were so excited and happy to have me there, which immediately made me feel more comfortable. It did not take long for me to fall in love with the students. Every one of them was so appreciative of everything I did and it felt really nice to be welcomed every day with hugs from all of them.

Undoubtedly as a solo female traveller it's not an easy decision to make to come to a foreign country where Spanish is the primary language.

Communication barriers, safety and not knowing anyone were among my largest fears. However, the determination to come to Costa Rica and at the same time volunteer some of my time to the people here far outweighed those fears so I booked my flight and there was no looking back.

Costa Rica Information Brochure

If you are interested in joining the program in Costa Rica, you should download and read our destination guide.

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