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GoEco > Central America > Costa Rica > Child Care and Teaching in San José
Help provide education enrichment for underprivileged children in San Jose. During this program, you will learn Spanish, volunteer on social programs for children, and explore Costa Rica during your free time.
Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum one-week commitment):
Arrival Day, Sunday: Arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). Airport pickup and transfer to your homestay in San Jose. Take the afternoon to get to know your host family and get used to life in Costa Rica.
Day 1, Monday: Your host family or coordinator will accompany you to the project site on your first day of volunteering, where you will receive additional project orientation. The volunteer placements take place during the morning or afternoon, you will get the exact schedule and placement upon arrival, based on availability and needs.
Days 1 – 5, Monday-Friday: Meaningful volunteer work with the children, around 3-4 hours a day. During your time off, you can enjoy weekly dance, cooking classes, as well as join tandem conversation lessons to help improve your Spanish.
Days 6-7, Saturday-Sunday: Your weekends are free to enjoy San Jose. Take some time to rest or go for a walk through the central market. In the evening, you can enjoy the many bars with live music and authentic Costa Rican food. Wander outside of San Jose and enjoy many attractions, such as volcanoes and the wildlife-filled Tortuguero Canals. Tours are available for an extra fee.
Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow a similar schedule of volunteering Monday-Friday and having Saturday-Sunday off. Departures are on a Saturday.
Spanish Immersion Week – Add-on: During your first week in Costa Rica, you can attend Spanish group classes (Monday-Thursday for five hours each day) and take part in cultural activities in the evenings. This is a great way to start your volunteer adventure and meet participants from around the world. See Additional Options below.
Location of the Project: San José, Costa Rica
Project length: Min 1 week – Max 12 weeks
Arrival Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)
Volunteer Work: Teaching, educational enrichment and social aid (community centers, day cares, and other childcare facilities.)
Age: This program is available for all ages and also welcomes families with young kids. Teens aged 16-17 can join solo with a parental concent form.
Important Note: A basic level of Spanish is recommended (see additional options for Spanish Classes below)
Accommodations: Homestay with half-board in a shared room with 1-3 volunteers. Families can share a room for no extra cost. Private rooms are available upon request.
Food: Breakfast and dinner
Airport Transfers: We provide airport pickup upon arrival to San Jose
Orientation: On-site country orientation and training in San Jose and support during the volunteer program.
Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.
What’s not Included
Though a small country, Costa Rica offers a variety of interesting contrasts: scenic coastlines with white and black sand beaches, tropical rain forests, mangroves, volcanoes, canals and turtle nesting beaches. In Central America, Costa Rica shares borders with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the southeast; to the east you find the Caribbean Sea and to the west and southwest, the Pacific Ocean. You will begin your adventure in the capital city, San José, surrounded by green mountains and spring-like temperatures all year round, as well as lots of activities to enjoy in the evenings and over weekends.
The Spanish Academy is in San Pedro neighborhood, a short 10-minute bus ride from downtown San Jose. Universities surround the area and offer a relaxed student vibe. Within walking distance, there are a variety of restaurants, gyms, malls, and markets. You can also enjoy the bars, live music, and dancing in this neighborhood.
The Academy offers both indoor and outdoor study areas. It provides a great meeting place for international students, interns, and volunteers to plan activities and practice Spanish.
As a volunteer, you will work informally with kids in community centers, day cares, and other childcare facilities. Please note that because of availability and seasonal needs, we cannot guarantee any type of facility. However, all the childcare projects work with underprivileged children and your time there is valuable.
The children at these projects require a lot of care, attention, and companionship. We encourage you to bring any unique skills, interests, and creativity into the volunteer program.
Examples of volunteer tasks:
Working hours may vary, but you can expect to work 3-4 hours per day, Monday to Friday. Your volunteer shift is in either the morning or the afternoon, depending on the needs of your project.
The childcare projects may seem disorganized, understaffed, and under-funded. Therefore, creativity, independence and show of leadership are essential skills for the volunteer program. Our in-country coordinators always provide support, however, they are not on the project site every day.
The volunteer projects are based in the San Jose area. Walking or taking the bus is the best way to get to your project. Travel time varies with each project. You should expect to spend 15-60 minutes traveling each way. On your first day at the volunteer project, our local representative will escort you and provide you with all the transfer information.
Internet: Free access to the computer lounge at the Spanish Academy. You can also bring a laptop, tablet, or other personal electronic device and use the free Wi-Fi.
Laundry: Your host family is happy to help you wash your laundry. The fee for this service is around $5 per kilo (2.2 lbs) and can be paid directly to the family.
Accommodations: You will live with a pre-approved host family in San José in a shared room with 1-3 volunteers. Private rooms are available upon request. The host families live in San Pedro, walking distance or a short bus ride away from the Spanish Academy.
Food: Your host family will provide you with breakfast and dinner. Meals include vegetables, fruits, rice & beans, pasta and occasionally meat, fish or chicken.
Spanish Immersion Week – Recommended Add-on
During your first week in Costa Rica, you can attend Spanish group classes (Monday-Thursday for 4 hours each day) and take part in cultural activities in the evenings. This is a great way to start your volunteer adventure and meet participants from around the world. See Additional Options below for the extra fee, which includes:
Important note: If we can’t form a group at the student’s level, for every 2 hours of group classes, the student will instead receive 1 hour of private tutoring.
Activities & Tours
There are lots of things to do in San Jose, such as city tours, shows at the National Theatre, the central market, parks, etc. Our local staff will post a monthly events calendar to let you know about the activities going on. Outside of San Jose you can hike up volcanoes, go white-water rafting or zip-lining, take a trip to the Pacific or Caribbean coasts, and so much more. There are a lot of options at your fingertips. Our staff is well-acquainted with the area and can advise you on the must-see places. You can also book tours and trips through an on-site travel partner in San Jose.
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