Costa Rica – San Jose Medical Internship

This program is now open and accepting international volunteers as of November 1st 2020, schedule a call with us to find out more.


Provide medical and health care for those in need in the vivacious city of San Jose, Costa Rica! This internship is a fantastic opportunity for those looking to build a foundation in the healthcare system and obtain global experience in an international medical system.

Program Highlights:

  • Experience the vibrancy of San Jose
  • Enhance your CV with clinical skills
  • Receive a certificate of accomplishment upon successful program completion
  • Four placement options: health care, physical therapy, dental and medical
  • Add group or private Spanish language lessons for an additional fee


Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum four-week commitment):

Arrival Day, Sunday: Arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). You will be picked up from the airport and taken to your homestay in San Jose. Spend the day settling in and enjoy the young and vibrant atmosphere of the nation’s capital.

Day 1, Monday: Your host family will accompany you to the project site on your first day of volunteering, where you will receive additional project orientation. After completing this, you will begin your volunteer tasks, which will depend on your experience and qualifications, level of Spanish, as well as the needs of the project.

Days 2-5, Tuesday-Friday: Interns will work three to four hours per day, on either a morning or afternoon shift, depending on the needs of the program at the time. Specific tasks vary, and depending upon placement, previous experience and language skills. (Intermediate Spanish required)

Days 6-7, Saturday-Sunday: Weekends are free for relaxing or exploring.

Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow a similar schedule of volunteering Monday-Friday and having Saturday-Sunday free. Departure is on a Saturday.


Location icon Location of the Project: San Jose, Costa Rica

Project length Project length: Minimum 4 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work:  Patient care and clinical work

Age Age:  Minimum age of 18

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 10 international interns

Important Note Important Note: All volunteers must bring some medical supplies- details in your packing list.


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Private room with a host family

Food Food: Breakfast and dinner are provided every day

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers:  Airport pickup is provided upon arrival

Orientation Orientation: Interns’ experience, education and Spanish level will be evaluated before the internship begins in order to determine exact tasks.

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team


What’s not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance. lunches, daily transportation (about $5 USD per day), personal expenses.

This project takes place in the spirited capital city of Costa Rica, San Jose. Costa Rica is located in Central America, with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. The city is located in the Central Valley, so volunteers can reach any coast or border in Costa Rica in just 3-4 hours. Within San Jose; however, there is excellent shopping, nightlife and a great live music scene that shouldn’t be missed.


Provide medical and health care for those in need in the vivacious city of San Jose, Costa Rica! Costa Rica is home to an incredibly comprehensive health care system that provides universal healthcare to all the citizens. As an intern, you will be working in an internationally competitive healthcare system and learning about the advantages and opportunities this system provides for the citizens, residents and staff members. Interns will be placed in two sectors of the Costa Rican health care system: assisted living facilities and small, local clinics. Interns usually work one-on-one with a staff member from their given placement, shadowing and assisting them while on site. The needs of the facilities are constantly changing, and because of this, interns will engage in a variety of different activities and will need to be flexible! Your daily tasks will be dependent upon the level of credentials you have.

This internship is a fantastic opportunity for those looking to build a foundation in the healthcare system and obtain global experience in an international medical system. Interns on this program will notice the tangible impact they are making in the local communities they are serving in and be deeply planted in a personal journey of cultural immersion. While interning in San Jose, interns will also have the option of sharpening their Spanish language skills!

Medical interns will either be placed in assisted living facilities or small local clinics for the duration of their internship. Interns will be shadowing medical professionals and, depending on their qualifications, may be involved with more hands-on tasks, such as triage, patient consultations, check-ups, making rounds, elderly care, health education, patient records and taking vital signs.

Some of your tasks may include:

  • Aiding in patient consultations and medicine prescriptions
  • Assist in physical examinations
  • Aid in processing, reporting and interpreting laboratory tests
  • Observe injections, sutures and suture removal
  • Sterilize and prepare medical equipment
  • Sort and organize patient medical files
  • Monitor the development of patients as the assisted living facility and local clinics


Medical professionals are typically placed at a national clinic for primary and emergency care, or in an assisted living facility. Due to medical laws, professional interns are not allowed to practice fully and freely, however your help can greatly benefit the projects still.

Medical professionals can expect to do the following in their placement:
– Work alongside a nurse, doctor, therapist, or other medical professional with consultations
– Do triage, clean wounds, draw blood samples, give sutures and injections
– Provide general care and companionship to patients (talking, feeding, bathing)
– Distribute or sort medicine, teach patients about their medicine
– Clean or prepare materials and equipment, including changing beds
– Assist with administrative work and filing, recording patient data

Please note: Specific tasks will depend on your level of experience, education and Spanish language skills. Physical therapy and dental placements may or may not be available at any given time. For the four-week program, a one-hour presentation or 10-20 page paper is required upon completion. For the eight-week program, both a one-hour presentation and paper are required. Weekly journals are also required.

Typical Schedule: Interns will work Monday-Friday for four to six hours. Daily, one-hour Spanish language classes are arranged aroudn the working schedule. Weekends are free for interns to spend as they wish.

Holidays: While the project remains open throughout the year, activities and volunteer schedules may vary during holidays. For specific dates, please consult with our placement coordinators.

Internet icon Internet: Internet is available at the institute in San Jose.

Laundry icon Laundry: Laundry is available for an additional fee at host families or at local laundromats.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: Volunteers with will stay in private rooms with a host family. Couples may request a private room

Food icon Food: Breakfast and dinner are provided every day. Certain diets can be accommodated with advance notice.


Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Police clearance
  • Strong, intermediate level of Spanish
  • Must be a pre-med, medical, or nursing student
  • Able to be creative with limited resources, have an open mind and a flexible attitude
  • Evidence of medical education, training, certifications, and license

Consider joining one or more of these specialized program add-ons to add another dimension to your experience in Costa Rica:

Spanish Language Immersion -1-24 weeks of intensive Spanish language lessons in small groups or in private lessons

Surf School – Five-day surf school at the stunning Manuel Antonio beach

Mini Adventure—Catch the best highlights of Costa Rica on this week-long tour including a Costa Rica Cultural Night, volcano tour, and a one-day cruise to Tortuga Island!

Please note that there is an additional fee for these programs. Prices available upon request.

Volunteer Experiences

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