Costa Rica Summer Service Adventures

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Are you a high school student looking for volunteer opportunities in Costa Rica? Global Works has a variety of options for you. Take a look at our programs and visit our site for full details.

Language and Leadership: Spanish Immersion, welcoming homestay families, community-driven service projects, and adrenaline pumping adventure...this trip has it all! Over the course of three weeks, practice Spanish and learn cultural norms and customs through immersive homestays and community service projects

La Pura Vida: On these 2 week adventures, practice your Spanish with local families and community members, roll up your sleeves for some meaningful service projects and pump up the adrenaline on a zip-line canopy tour through the rainforest.

Sea Turtle Adventure: On this week-long trip, we engage in projects and tours to support native leatherback sea turtles and the local community. Activities include a tour of the hatchery, environmental projects, a night beach patrol, a kayak tour through the canals of Tortuguero National Park, and even an overnight rafting trip!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 22 reviews
  • Growth 9.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 8.9
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 22
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Kennedi
10/10

Take the Leap!

I participated in session 2 of the Costa Rica: La Pura Vida trip with Global Works this year. As I signed up for the trip, I was excited, but as it drew closer I became more and more wary. I had never traveled without my family before, and other fears crept up as well (what if I didn't get along with the group, what if my Spanish failed me, what if we were in danger, what if...). Motivated by my uncertainty, I emailed my co-leader, Annie. She immediately put my anxiety to rest by describing her own experience on a Global Works trip in high school, and her experiences as a leader as well. My shaking nerves placated, I took a deep breath and resolved to go on the trip, no matter what other worries my brain might come up with. And I am so glad I did. The moment I stepped off the plane in Houston and met my other co-leader, Brent, I knew it would be a fun-filled two weeks. He and Global Works' lively dance instructor/ leader Randall greeted me with smiles and riveting conversation in jumbled Spanglish. The rest of my inhibitions disappeared one by one as the other members of my group arrived. After the flight to San Jose, we bustled through customs and met Annie and the last member of the group. Although we were all exhausted after a long day of traveling, we discussed our concerns and apprehensions-- most of which circled around the homestay. However, after completing that week of immersion I can tell you that without a doubt, the homestay was the most rewarding experience of my life. Since our group was so small, the two other girls and I lived with the same family, who are the most incredible people I have ever met. Our homestay mom was so kind and patient, and curious about our lives back home. We spent many nights up until almost midnight just talking with her and our dad. I look back on those nights as some of the best of my life, because I was able to learn so much about them and the culture of Costa Rica. Our town is called Pueblo Nuevo, and it is small enough that everyone knows everyone. Our three homestay siblings would introduce us to people as we were walking down the street, just as excited on the last day as they were on the first. If you are feeling anxious about the homestay portion of the trip, I hope I can help calm your nerves. I felt safer in every part of Costa Rica than I have in some places in the U.S. The families are patient and understanding, and will open your mind to brand new perspectives. On top of that, in the homestay you get to eat the most amazing food you will ever have. Through the experience, my Spanish improved tremendously. I no longer have any fears about speaking Spanish outside the classroom; in fact, I seek out opportunities to do so. If you are considering a Global Works trip, but you're uncertain, please take my advice and go for it. My live has been improved so much because of what I learned those two weeks, and yours will too. Get out there!

How can this program be improved?
If it was a week longer! I never wanted to come home.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Daniel
9/10

Costa Rica Service Trip

Hi, my name is Daniel Dessert and recently last summer I went to Costa Rica with my friend Ethan. This was a one of a kind experience because I made so many new friends that I am still keeping in touch with. This experience was amazing and something I never would have had without Global Works. The environment and the energy from the group leaders made everything so much more exciting. I flew to Houston first, and met my amazing group leader Annie. She has so much energy and was alway super happy. Then I flew to San Jose and met all my other kids and soon to be friends that I would stay with for the next 2 weeks. The first few days we did some cool things in the capital but nothing too exciting. But the amazing part was after. We then went to a small, pretty poor city in Costa Rica and stayed with a host family with 1 other friend. These families spoke no english and at times it was very weird, but we ended up getting along great. This part in our journey was the most amazing because I got to see what it really was like living in Costa Rica. All the little kids that I played soccer with were all so cute and everybody just had a great time. Even though everybody spoke minimal words to all of their host families, the families were so grateful to have all of us there because I guess us young children are pretty exciting. But then the sad part came. Then we had to go almost all of the families kids and parents started crying because we all were so happy together. 100% if you are reading this, thinking about if you should go to Costa Rica or not, these 2 weeks were the most happy moments of my years. I had NO worries, didn't even think about anything, related to social media, school, stress, guilt. NOTHING. I was so pure and so happy to be in another country helping out not as fortunate people then myself. It was truly an amazing experience. Then after the housing, we moved to the west coast to surf. And after that, we had to leave. And again, another sad part. You would think in only 2 weeks you wouldn't become very good friends with the other kids you are staying with but you do. The worst part was leaving and going back to San Diego where I live and thinking, and I ever going to see these people again? We literally all started crying. Yes, even me. And we were so happy, but so sad and I really wish it could all be done over again. But sadly not. I may not be able to have that exact same experience, but I for sure will keep it in my memory for the rest of my life.

How can this program be improved?
I really can't be improved.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jack
10/10

Pre-Med and Public Health in Costa Rica

The program was amazing, it was very cohesive and easy to navigate. The staff was very fun to talk to and hangout with. They were great people and very protective of us, but they also gave us the freedom we need as teenagers. I also became very close with the group I travelled with and by the end of the trip felt like I had known them forever.

Working in the clinics was very interesting and rewarding. I was able to see two minor surgeries from less than 2 feet away and listen to a little girl’s lungs before and after her asthma treatment. I also learned about how difficult it is to work in a pharmacy, and why it takes so long to find, count out and fill the different prescriptions. I will never be impatient with a Pharmacist again. At first, I was a little worried that I didn’t know enough Spanish to understand what was happening in the clinics, but the doctors and guides were helpful, translating everything that was happening, and I was able to learn from them without any trouble.

After our time in the clinics, we did our homestays. The people in the village that we met at the homestays were so nice to us and they honestly felt like a second family to me. My best advice to people joining is that I know no matter how much we say don’t worry about the homestays, you’re still going to worry. I know because I was the same way. However, the homestays were one of the greatest parts about the trip because the families are just so happy to have you and they do their very best to welcome you into their home. Keep your mind open to new cultures and try to learn as much as you can for as long as you’re there.

How can this program be improved?
I can't think of any way to improve it. It was a great trip!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jack
10/10

Pre-Med and Public Health in Costa Rica

The program was amazing, it was very cohesive and easy to navigate. The staff was very fun to talk to and hangout with. They were great people and very protective of us, but they also gave us the freedom we need as teenagers. We got to go to clinics and shadow them and throw ourselves into the language and the culture. The people in the village that we met at the homestays were so nice to us and they honestly felt like a second family to me. My best advice to people joining is that I know no matter how much we say don't worry about the homestays, you're still going to worry. I know because I was the same way. However, the homestays were one of the greatest parts about the trip because the families are just so happy to have you and they do their very best to welcome you into their home. Keep your mind open to new cultures and try to learn as much as you can for as long as you're there. After my trip, I've been obsessed with studying abroad and I want to go anywhere and everywhere and I want to learn what the whole world has to offer.

How can this program be improved?
Some people brought ipod touches because it said ipods were allowed but then they got taken because they had wifi and social media. just clear that up i guess.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Lily
10/10

¡Pura Vida!

Going on this trip was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. Global Works was super easy to work with and made me feel super prepared going into my trip. The leaders were great ( shoutout to Perri, Taylor, and Randall! ) and I felt very well taken care of, while also having fun, the entire time. My Spanish greatly improved this trip and I enjoyed all of the experiences we had! The zipline experience had such great views and it was so cool to able to do something so special with a great group of people. The homestay experience was something unlike anything I had ever done before and was one of my favorite parts of the trip! The homestay community was so welcoming and my family was so sweet and welcoming. I felt so proud at the end of the week when I looked at all of the work that we accomplished on the community center and all of the relationships we had formed, The friends that I made on this trip are some of the best friends I've ever had. I was with such an awesome group and I'm still talking to them nonstop! Our final days were spent surfing and hanging out on the beach, which was a perfect end to such an amazing trip! The beach was beautiful and made me want to stay in Costa Rica with this awesome group for my whole summer. Overall, this was such a wonderful experience and I can't wait for my next Global Works trip!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jasmine
10/10

A beautiful three weeks

I participated in the Global Works Into to Pre-Med program in Costa Rica. This was my first time outside the country and it was amazing! There was continuous support from the supervisors, and I made a strong bond with everyone I met on the trip. The clinics we visited were also fascinating. It was very educational to see another Country’s medical system and how it worked. But the trip wasn’t just visiting clinics. We got to meet holistic health doctors, which exposed us to a wider view of medicine, and an herbalist. We also got to go zip lining.
Over all, the trip was so incredible I can’t describe it in words. I loved every bit of it, and never got homesick because I was enjoying myself so much. In fact, I wish the program had been longer!

How can this program be improved?
my suggestion would be to choose a different hostel or lodging to stay in at Monte Verde.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tara
9/10

Costa Rica: Intro to Pre-Med and Public Health

I cannot begin to express how much fun I had in Costa Rica. As soon as we arrived, the group of students automatically clicked, and friendships only grew stronger as the trip progressed. Even though our trip was changed from Nicaragua to Costa Rica relatively last minute, we still were able to work in multiple clinics and get real insight into the healthcare system in Costa Rica. During the homestay portion of the trip, it was amazing to enter into a rural community, and interact with the people our service efforts would actually be affecting. After living with our homestay families for 5 nights, saying goodbye was extremely difficult. Even a month later, I still miss my homestay family, along with other residents of the community that we grew close to. Going into the trip, though I was not 100% fluent in Spanish, the trip leaders and other students made active communication with community members and the clinic staff easy. Over the trip, I made many lasting friendships and came home with a greatly improved ability to speak and understand Spanish.

How can this program be improved?
The work in clinics could have been more hands-on.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Natalie
10/10

Costa Rica: Sea Turtle Expedition

This was a fun filled program into the land of turtles! Starting off our trip with adventure we took a stop at a local cheese factory where we got to experience the process of cheese making starting with milking the cows to boiling and stretching the gooey yummy cheese. We then went rafting along the river picnicked on the side and even caught a fish in our boat as the waves splashed over us! Further on in our trip in Parismina we took night patrols watching for turtle tracks, cleaned up trash on the beach. We then helped hatch baby turtles on to the beach into the ocean providing a proper waddling space as the turtles made their way in to the ocean and started there life as a baby sea turtle.

How can this program be improved?
More Focus on Turtles
Yes, I recommend this program
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Ryan
10/10

Best experience of my life

Going into the trip i was thinking it would be very fun. I was very wrong Once i met the other kids i was going on the trip with i started really liking them. Once we got into Costa Rica i was very close with the other travelers and i quickly started having an amazing time. I did not think it would be difficult to leave the trip, but as the day got closer and closer the more i feared leaving. The trip gave me Friends and memories i will never forget. Its almost been 5 months since the trip and i still miss it just as much as the day i left. If you are debating to go on a trip with Global Works i strongly recommend you to go with them!

How can this program be improved?
Make it 1 week longer
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jill
10/10

Great Adventure

My trip to Costa Rica with this group was hands down one of the best weeks of my life. I was able to experience so many new things from making new friends around the country to learning about a whole new way of life to helping out in the community and speaking the little Spanish I know to the locals. The fact that I was able to experience a whole other way of living at this young age really made an impact on me. Going on this trip opened my eyes to a whole new perspective. I've realized that we should not take anything at all for granted any day of the week because we don't realize how good we have it and how much we ave. I've become a lot more appreciative and also a lot more accepting. With that, I learned through the people in the villages and how they go about their way of life that you should always extend a helping hand and make sure everyone is accepted. Other than my learning experiences, I had such a blast everyday with anything we did - especially the surfing and the late night talks with my group. We were all able to get really close with each other since we were such a small group and it really meant the world to me. This trip was truly such an amazing experience and I would definitely do it again, or something like it, in a heartbeat.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Abby
10/10

Costa Rican Adventure

My experience on this Global Works trip was nothing less than phenomenal and life changing. Every day I spent in this amazing country helped me grow as a person in knowledge and understanding. Those who accompanied me on this trip would definitely say the same.

How can this program be improved?
I would change the housing arrangements. By the end of the trip, I think that students should be allowed to choose their roommate.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Josh
9/10

¡Pura Vida Mae!

When our group traveled to our first destination after San José, el Rio Pacuare, I knew it was going to be an amazing trip. Just as we started our bus ride toward the river, I began to see the immense beauty of the country with its endless mountains and lush greenery. Also, friendships were quickly made. I found that regardless of it being a sort of long bus ride there was never a moment when I felt bored. I was always talking to the people around me and trying to get to know one another. The friendships were so close, but yet very inclusive. I loved the lifestyle and friendliness of Costa Ricans-¡Pura vida!

How can this program be improved?
The one thing I do wish there were more of was language. We did often speak in Spanish during the times we had Spanish meals as a group (where we only spoke Spanish), but I do feel that at times there was no Spanish at all. Maybe more contact with locals besides the homestay too.

LOVED the trip!!!!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sabrina
10/10

The Puda Vida Lifestyle

The Puda Vida life means living your life as if every obstacle is a piece of cake. It means being happy and welcoming to everyone around you as well as looking at the bright side of everything. I would love to be around Costa Ricans all the time. The community I stood with was so loving and caring and still to this day opening there homes to me if I ever go back to Costa Rica which I most defiantly will do!

How can this program be improved?
If I could change one thing I would have a more organized schedule on how things will work in your home stay community once there as well as a bit more flexible with calling back home.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Brigitte
9/10

AMAZING OVERSEAS TRIP

This trip was my first overseas camp. All I know is that the description fits. It is a wonderful experience and I made so many great new friends! I got significantly better at speaking spanish which enabled me to skip a class! I also did so many cool activities that I wouldn't have been able to do anywhere else. For starters, I was really nervous for the rafting trip. However, it was completely safe and absolutely thrilling! We got to go swimming in all these waterfalls and go surfing down the rapids. The views were stunning especially with no one around us but the wildlife. Ill also say overall the lodging and bathrooms were all really nice, compared to what I expected. Next, the cloud forest was really, really nice. Off the bat if you are going to this particular trip you need to be fit. The exercise and exertion that goes into this part of the trip is intense. So be prepared!! Here we did TONS of work everyday and we learned a lot about the wildlife too. The food on this part of trip was to die for. The people are also super nice and you never feel pressured about the spanish. Next, the home stay is probably the most impactful. Here you get to practice your spanish the most. You are also rarely with your counselor and you have the most freedom, but it's still safe!! The people, again, are also very nice and there are tons of little kids to play with. We do community service everyday but its easy stuff and then we do fun activities like playing in the river or games with the kids. I should also mention that we have to wake up around 7 am everyday and go to sleep around 10 pm. We also always pretty much have access to food. We also went on a few field trips like visiting another but huge waterfall. There isn't as much shopping on this trip as I personally expected but we got to go to super markets a lot. Then we travel to the national park. Unfortunately I got sick during this part but I got lucky because it has the best lodging! We saw amazing sunsets, went to hot springs and ziplining of course! Do not do this trip if you are afraid of heights!!! You are hundreds of feet above the forest for a large time in the air. But don't be afraid to try new things! Last but not least, the surfing! The beach is just beautiful. The water is warm and safe and the bottom is all sand. The surf instruction is great and you are guaranteed to stand up the first day. There is also a nice pool too or you could walk up and down the beach and collect shells. The shacks that we live in are super comfy but I hope you are not afraid of giant lizards! All in all this trip is just..its soo nice. I completely recommend this to anyone! Lastly, the counselors are the sweetest people who you can really trust and they always do everything with the safety of your child in mind! This the right decision for an overseas camp. And don't forget Global Works offers other locations and specializations as well.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing about this program it would be to spend less time traveling or maybe travel overnight so as to permit more time for fun activities.
Yes, I recommend this program
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mcw1213
10/10

Costa Rica Global Works Experience

While on my trip in Costa Rica with Global Works, I had the time of my life. The hardest part for me was feeling comfortable with my group because many of the kids came with friends. I can be shy anyways, but it was a great learning experience and it has made me more outgoing. By the end of the trip, our group was very close and it was sad to see everyone go.

I loved all of the language games we played and I have since decided to major in Spanish and use it in my daily life in the future.

How can this program be improved?
I would say that the one thing I would change is the homestay. I was able to be in my homestay with my best friend on the trip, but I know many people were upset that they could not choose their roommate.
Yes, I recommend this program

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For more than 28 years, Global Works has been an industry leader in community service-based adventure travel programs for high school students and custom group trips. Much more than a vacation, Global Works international trips are the bridge for...