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

I'm not a teacher so I completed a CELTA course before my volunteering assignment.

That helped me a lot in planning my classes. The student turnout was unreliable; it was not really possible to build one lesson on the other. Though both the beginner and the pre-intermediate class have a curriculum, I don't think they were followed by the volunteer teachers before me.

I will never forget the excitement and the smiles on their faces when we gave them a soccer ball.

Coming from very materialistic would it was incredible to see how such a small object can make them so happy. Overall, I am glad and proud to have participated in the uVolunteer program. Not only did I meet some of nicest volunteers from around the globe but I was also able to dedicate my free time to help the Costa Rican community in San Ramon.

In addition to having an amazing home stay experience and project, I was also able to travel every weekend.

I traveled with several other volunteers, a total of ten for one trip, and I also traveled with my just partner. Traveling with other volunteers was amazing and a great opportunity to get to know others better, especially because I didn't live in the dorm; and of course traveling with just my partner was a great way to have a completely relaxing and low key weekend.

By far the highlight of my volunteering experience was teaching the evening adult English classes.

This is something I had previous experience of but volunteering here in Costa Rica was tremendously rewarding as the students were so keen to learn (obviously they weren't as excited about the Christmas holidays as the kids)!

My only concern was that I would not make a real difference like the people working in orphanages and construction, but I found out that I was extremely wrong.

Working with the English teacher at my school, I felt like I was making a huge difference in the lives of the students, not only in terms of speaking English, but also as a friend to the teacher and the students.

Volunteering in a different country opened doors in my world that were previously closed - I experienced and participated in a different way of life.

I slowly molded into the Costa Rican culture and sincerely feel that I am a different, better person back in the United States. During the weekdays, I taught English at a high school during the day, as well as at the local university at night. Weekends consisted of traveling around to different tourist locations.

My first job was at Simon Bolivar School teaching English.

I was only supposed to be there for two weeks but I ended up spending as much time as I could there. Four weeks to be exact. All the teachers and students were super nice, especially the English teacher we were helping, Isabel. I also spent a lot of time talking with Marvin. He was really friendly I like him.

When I arrived in San Jose I was really excited to finally be in Costa Rica, but also a bit nervous about meeting my host family for the week.

I had travelled a fair amount before but never had I lived with a local family. I got my first taste of the friendly ways of the Ticos right at the airport with an abundance of airport staff offering to help me. Shortly after I was met by a staff member from the school and taken to my home stay for the week, while I studied at the Spanish school.

During my stay in Kenya I have met so many wonderful people.

.. I also accompanied a couple field workers while they visited HIV positive children in their homes to check on how well they were taking their anti-retroviral medications and how they have been feeling.

I enjoyed teaching English there as it gave me a real sense of accomplishment and I learnt a great deal about life in Costa Rica from talking with the teachers and children.

The adult classes were very different, although involved the same sort of teaching methods; Bingo and Guess Who, of course. I liked these a lot because I shared them with another volunteer and we had some very funny lessons. Not to mention, it helped my Spanish a great deal!

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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