Volunteering Teaching English in Costa Rica

English language skills are increasingly in demand in Costa Rica, where speaking English can help open the doors of opportunity to a better future. Join uVolunteer’s Teaching English Project to help children and adults develop conversational English skills and improve their spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Working in local schools and community classes throughout San Ramon, you will plan and deliver both theoretical and practical lessons under the supervision of a qualified English teacher. In addition to teaching classes, volunteers also assist English teachers in their own class preparations.

Program Video

Adult classes are often held in the informal setting of the uVolunteer dorms, providing plenty of opportunities to get to know the locals and build friendships.

No formal teaching experience or qualifications are needed to volunteer for the project — your volunteer coordinator will provide training and direction when you begin your placement.

Find out more about teaching English in Costa Rica by downloading our program information brochure.

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

Teaching English volunteers in Costa Rica plan and deliver lessons in schools and community classes with a focus on practical use of English. Other tasks include assisting teachers in the classroom, testing and grading students, and encouraging pupils to practice their English skills through group and one-to-one exercises.

Work schedule

Teaching English volunteers work a 4-day week, from Monday to Thursday. Your placement location will depend on the length of your trip. If you are booking a two or three-week placement on the Teaching English Program, you will teach adult community classes in the evening and may also take community education workshops.

Elementary/high school teaching volunteers:

  • Minimum duration of three weeks
  • Working hours are from 7 am until 1 pm

Community education volunteers

  • Minimum duration of three weeks.
  • Working hours are from 2 pm until 5 pm

Adult community education volunteers

  • Minimum duration of two weeks
  • Working hours are from 6.30pm until 8.30pm

Journey to work

The schools we work with will either be a short walk from the volunteer dormitory or around a 30-minute bus ride.

Closed dates

The teaching English project 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

Before I began volunteering, the biggest thing for me though was the option to live in a dorm while I was volunteering.

I really liked the idea of living and working with other people who were all in Costa Rica to volunteer and after 8 weeks living in the dorm I have met heaps of people who will remain my friends for life.

I had no idea what to expect from our first visit to Escuela La Palma, But I was ready to help out however I could.

My initial reaction was shocked at how understaffed the school was and how much more could be done to help the kids achieve their full potential. Of course, some of them desired nothing more than to play soccer.

My biggest take away from the experience was the importance of help when it comes to volunteering.

It is very easy to relax but I get a lot done particularly at school that was one of the projects that I choose teaching English, an active attitude and for fullness will help make your experience much more meaningful.

On my first day at the project was great, I choose to teach English in a rural school so I was greeted 8 energetic and awesome kids.

I definitely achieved my goals working in that project. Later I worked in a Construction project that was amazing, it was a hard and dirty work but it was rewarding to know that I was helping people in need.

I came to Costa Rica to practice my Spanish and work with children, a passion of mine.

My name is Jordan Simpson. I just finished my first year at Indiana University, and until six weeks ago, I'd never left the United States (with the exception of a family excursion to Niagara Falls when I was very young.) Six weeks in, I must say that this is one of the best experiences of my life.

My name is Laura, I'm 18, and I've been volunteering in Costa Rica with a friend for almost six weeks now, May- June 2009.

We're both college students who've worked with kids in different settings for a long time, but our initial visit to the Hogarcito didn't go quite as we thought they would. The Tias have a very smooth system here, and for the first week or so we had some trouble making ourselves part of the group here, although all the Tias were very nice- the kids just take some time to warm up to new people, as we eventually found out. Our English class was not what we expected at first either. (We've been teaching a night class for adults two times a week.) The first few times though, we only had two or three students, so the lesson plans we had made up and the ideas we had were switched for working one-on-one with individuals, which was good, just different than what we expected.

Instantly upon seeing the smiling faces of my students, I knew I had made an excellent call in embarking on this experience.

They are ready to have fun which is perfect because your volunteer teaching experience should be fun. One memorable lesson I taught, we had set up a small caf? within the classroom! complete with tablecloth, trays and all. I was the waiter. The students of course were more than eager to play the hungry patrons.

Living with 11 other people could be challenging, but there was always someone to talk to or go to a cafe or somewhere with.

It was really nice to be able to talk about your day with someone going through a similar experience.I have also spent a few weeks with a Costa Rican family which has been great. I wanted to experience how Costa Rican people live and I certainly have.

I easily got attached to all the students and love teaching English to them.

I have decided to change my career to teach English as a foreign language teacher in another country. I was looking forward to working with a school that was a bit less fortunate; San Rafael has an English teacher and plenty of resources.

At first the school was pretty daunting, it had 900 pupils and I was a teacher assistant to a teacher who taught 1st-6th grade.

As time went on, the more and more enjoyable I found it. The kids opened up so much more and became a lot more responsive to my help. I'd never really thought about how difficult English would be to learn, until I came here.

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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