WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in Costa Rica - Past Programs

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from WorldTeach.

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About

WorldTeach's volunteer program in Costa Rica, established in 1989, is their oldest continuously running program. Volunteers work with WorldTeach and the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) to provide Costa Rican students the opportunity to learn English. Volunteers teach in rural elementary schools as well as in the only two public bilingual elementary schools in the country. In rural areas, the students wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to learn English in school even though it is an official school subject. At the bilingual elementary schools, volunteers make an impact by working with local English teachers to provide integrated instruction to students who live in areas economically fueled by tourism, and thus where there is a high demand for English language skills. Volunteers have the option of serving for an entire academic year or for a summer.

Yearlong program: January through mid-December
Summer program: late May / early June through mid-August

Questions & Answers

Hi Candace, You can start applying here--- http://www.worldteach.org/site/c.buLRIbNOIbJ2G/b.6150583/k.1365/Apply_to_WorldTeach_Volunteer_Programs.htm

Reviews

94%
based on 39 reviews
  • Benefits 9.6
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.3
  • Facilities 9.5
  • Safety 9.6
  • Instruction 9
  • Support 8.9
  • Value 9.3
  • Difficulty 7.5
  • Job Assistance 6.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 39
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Kristi
10/10

Amazing Experience

I decided to do WorldTeach Costa Rica a little over ten years ago because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, learn Spanish, and help people. My actual experience way surpassed these goals. It’s difficult to summarize all of the amazing things about the country and program: the people, the environment, the time to be alone and challenge yourself. I was probably a little too rose-colored glasses at times (I was fresh out of undergrad), but now that I reflect back more critically on what happened that year, I have a deeper appreciation for WT and what the MEP was trying to do. My main job was co-teaching kinder-3rd grade, and that was challenging and rewarding. I was also lucky to have a great family, who I am still in touch with and hope to visit again soon, and to live in an area where there was always something to do (having another WT volunteer in my town was so much fun!). I enjoyed the little trips with the other volunteers and having my WT best friend come visit whenever she could! The directors were great in prepping us, Orosi was a perfect training site, and I felt lucky to have the support. This program also introduced me to teaching, which I thought at the time would be my eventual path. It also gave me something unique to talk about in job interviews and grad school applications.

How can this program be improved?
I’m so sad to see this program is no longer offered. I read some reviews that the program cost was too much... not sure how much it increased, but I imagine it can’t be more than rent, food, and teacher/language training for a year. But anyway, if I could help at all to bring it back, I would :)
Yes, I recommend this program
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Isobel
10/10

Life Changing

I applied to World Teach on retirement from UCSC. The training and support I received were impeccable. The adventures I had were like nothing I had experienced before, and broadened my understanding of culture and people, literally changing my outlook and approach to life. I am still friends with some of my first grade students in Costa Rica, who are now entering college and working in helping professions. They share their accomplishments and my joy and pride in these relationships is exquisite, invaluable payback for that year of my life.

How can this program be improved?
It is constantly improving.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Stephanie
10/10

Life Changing

I went to Costa Rica with WorldTeach for a year in 2010 and ended up staying for two years. It was the most incredible and life-changing experience. Not only did I learn a language and gain valuable teaching experience (and life experience!), I also created deep and lasting bonds with my community, my school, and my host family. This has been the greatest blessing of the program. I have a second family whom I am very much connected with, and we celebrate one another's life events. I met my host niece the day she was born, and I've seen her grow into an amazing little girl, already poised for kindergarten.

I chose WT because it was the most bang for my buck, and offered comprehensive training and in-country support. I am so glad I chose WT over other programs, and I would tell anyone the same.

The WorldTeach program itself provided an incredible platform for mine and my cohort's success. The in-country staff were helpful in every way you might have needed them. I went through a crisis situation and knowing they had my back made me feel so much safer and supported.

How can this program be improved?
I'm sad to see the Costa Rica year is not longer offered...bring it back!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Shannon
6/10

Costa Rica

The placements and training were wonderful but the materials provided were not great. We could have benefited more support in the field. The overall program cost was very expensive and volunteers could have benefited from getting more of a stipend. Also volunteers needed more support from field staff. I would recommend providing more materials and more videos, songs and books for volunteers. I think the families who hosted the volunteers were wonderful and very accepting. I hope that WorldTeach brings the Costa Rica program back because it’s an asset to the communities it serves.

Response from WorldTeach

Hello Shannon,

Thank you very much for leaving this review. We appreciate any feedback that we receive from current and former participants, so your advice is taken to heart. I myself participated in a WT program in Costa Rica, and my host family was the kindest I've ever met - I'm glad to hear that was your experience as well.

As for support and more detailed materials, we agree, and so we have taken many steps over the last few years to continually improve our materials and training offered to Field Staff.

Moreover, we completely agree WorldTeach was a big asset to the communities in which it served in Costa Rica, and so we would always be open to bringing it back in the future.

Thank you again Shannon for your feedback.

Best,

Caitlin

Yes, I recommend this program
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Lauren
10/10

WorldTeach

My WorldTeach experience was amazing! 16 years later, I am still in regular contact with the community where I served. The program was structured and supportive. While the focus was education and I ultimately decided to pursue a different career, I still rely on the experiences and things I learned during my year with WorldTeach in my professional and personal life. I would strongly recommend the program.

How can this program be improved?
N/A
Response from WorldTeach

Hi Lauren,

Thanks so much for providing this review! We're so glad you had a positive experience and that you are still in contact with your community. While many WT alumni stay in education, many also decide to go into other fields but like you say, retain the skills they developed through their WT experience.

Thanks again Lauren!

Best,

Caitlin

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Melanie
6/10

World Teach

World Teach gave me the opportunity to learn Spanish, make lifelong friends and give back to an amazing community. I am in regular contact with my village and still stay in touch with fellow volunteers. Life changing experience for sure! It was also a beautiful country to explore. Since teaching there I have visited on a regular basis. There is a sense of calm and simplicity in the village that I carried with me after leaving Costa Rica.

How can this program be improved?
Unfortunately WT no longer serves in Costa Rica
Response from WorldTeach

Hi Melanie,

Thanks so much for providing this review! We're so glad you had a positive experience and that you are still in contact with your community and WorldTeach cohort. I also served in Costa Rica and likewise consider my experience life-changing :-).

Thanks again Melanie!

Best,

Caitlin

Yes, I recommend this program
Morgan
10/10

A Summer of Pura Vida

I had the pleasure of going to Costa Rica in the Summer of 2010 via WorldTeach. They helped me every step of the way not just in planning my trip but support when I was in country at my placement site. I can't recommend this program enough. It is well established so there is no concern for your safety or concerns that you will be completely alone when you go. I was able to fundraise ALL the money I needed to go and WorldTeach offers materials about how to get your fundraising started.
They offer many programs but Costa Rica was especially beautiful and my host family were so welcoming.

How can this program be improved?
The only improvement is that more people should know about it.
Response from WorldTeach

Hi Morgan,

Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this review! I'm glad to hear you had a great experience :-). My own personal experience in Costa Rica was the same!

All the best,

Caitlin

Yes, I recommend this program
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Sarah
10/10

World Teach Costa Rica

This was seriously a life changing experience. I got to live and volunteer in another country for year. I got placed with an amazing host family and got to experience and be a part of the Costa Rican culture. I loved working with the kids each day. It was challenging but so rewarding. I learned a lot of Spanish and was able to make lots of friends that I will have forever. Costa Rica is such an amazing country and I feel blessed I got a chance to live and volunteer her for a year.

Response from WorldTeach

Hello Sarah,

Thank you very much for sharing your experience in words and photos!! Those are excellent photos that show off a gorgeous country. We're so glad to hear that you were able to develop your Spanish and build solid relationships through the WorldTeach Costa Rica program.

Thank you again Sarah!

Best,

Caitlin

Yes, I recommend this program
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Caitlin
10/10

A transformative summer with my Tico school

Looking back I don't think I knew just how important this summer would be to my personal and professional development. My summer with WorldTeach in Costa Rica was certainly a life-changing experience and placed me on the path I'm on today in international education. I was welcomed into my community with open arms by both my family and my school, and I got to experience a totally different way of life in a rural setting. All of the challenges (being thrown into a foreign language, adjusting to the isolation of a mountainous Costa Rica town, terrifying bugs big and small, first-time teaching, and so on) were very important to my development as I thought about how I wanted to live my life and what field I wanted to get into.

I thought about my family, my students, my town, and the experience for years and years after and longed to do it again - so I moved to South America to teach for two and a half years! I don't think I ever would have had the courage and ganas to do that without that first experience with WorldTeach. WT really expanded my world - not only internationally but also domestically, as I have connected with local immigrant communities in the States through ESL too. It was the perfect program for that time in my life, and an incredibly positive experience, with tons of support and cultural sensitivity. Not only that, when you're teaching you're making a direct impact on the community and you have a structured role, which is something that I really appreciated for the direction that it provided. WT is amazing!

How can this program be improved?
At the time I think in-country support when you're at your placement could have been improved (for example, while I liked and respected my Field Director I didn't feel particularly close to her), however, that was back in 2008 and things have come a long way since then. Of course it always depends on how you jibe with the FD too.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Casie
10/10

Awesome experience, exploring the real culture of Costa Rica

It isn't everyday that you wake up and find a new farm animal outside your window. Sometimes it was a horse, most often a cow, and on the rare occasion we watched my host abuela's goat and got to wake up to that lovely white, hairy face in the mornings. The best (or maybe worst) part of watching that goat was getting to try fresh goat milk for the first time - and I mean fresh! I milked it straight from the utter into and coffee mug, something that's not totally abnormal in Costa Rica. The experience I got living in Costa Rica for a year with a great family (wonderfully pre-approved by WorldTeach) is one of the best, and definitely something I would never change. WorldTeach offers great support to you while you're in country, so your focus gets to be on your service teaching and being with your family and community learning about the amazing culture. A must do if you have means and time to participate in a WorldTeach program!

How can this program be improved?
I would prefer more information sooner prior to the trip, but I also understand that information is highly dependent on how the country operates. I remember feeling like we were getting some information a little late right before our departure, but came to learn after living in Costa Rica that that is really just the nature of how the country operate's - very slow (in comparison to US norms)!
Yes, I recommend this program
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MJ
10/10

Living La Pura Vida!

WorldTeach Costa Rica was an amazing and enlightening experience, from the orientation to the ongoing in-country support the program was very organized and created a really great program. The people of Costa Rica are wonderful, the geography is naturally spectacular, rich in culture and experiences for everyone. I would highly recommend this program for anyone!

How can this program be improved?
I would have loved a little more guidance on curriculum and teaching methods/structure for planning out the year of teaching.
Yes, I recommend this program
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EJ
9/10

Teaching in Costa Rica

Volunteering with WorldTeach was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only did I have a fantastic, life changing experience, but this program also set me in the direction of my career path. Through WorldTeach I was able to have an incredible volunteer experience, learn a new language and culture, travel, and work on my teaching skills.
While I was away in Costa Rica I completed a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) program. When I returned to the US I got a job as an ESL teacher in a charter school and I have been teaching ever since. I now have an English teaching certification as well as an ESL teaching certification and I am a few months away from receiving my Masters in Multicultural Education. I never would have realized my teaching dreams if it hadn't been for my experiences teaching with WorldTeach.
As much as I loved my program, it is hard for me to reflect back on that year. I miss my town and the people who live there so much. If I could go back in time I wouldn't do anything different except for appreciate the time more! Volunteering and teaching are things I am so passionate about and WorldTeach made my experience so simply and so meaningful.

Yes, I recommend this program
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jim
9/10

here are my thoughts on World Teach in Costa Rica

in country support is fantastic throughout the year, building on the solid support of the first month in country with other volunteers doing basic language and teaching classes.

I had a lot of success because I knew my parameters for the kind of teaching and living experience I wanted. this made the adjustment periods short.

host family is important for feeling connected to the community and reducing the isolation of cultural adaptation. Though World Teach does a great job vetting families, there are inevitably mismatches that can create challenges. this is true also of school populations, support of directors,etc. I think all this goes to thinking about and feeling out what other strengths and outlets you can rely on in yourself and your surroundings (e.g. writing and reading, surfing, hiking) to absorb tough moments

How can this program be improved?
developing more continuity year to year with the individual programs and teaching materials. This is a high bar I think and doesn't necessarily affect the experience of the volunteer because part of the journey is really developing teaching material on one's own and getting into a rhythm with individual styles and approaches.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kyle
10/10

Great teaching and community experience

My placement was excellent, a rural community with a very welcoming family where I could see the impact of my teaching and presence. I felt connected to other teachers during training, even on a shorter summer program.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Steve
10/10

Costa Rica Summer Program

This program and experience was a "10". The program was run very professional, Cara Abel and Paul George ran a perfect program from my viewpoint.

The program itself had a lot of challenges and rewards. Challenges included: heat and humidity, myself not understanding what was going on in certain circumstances, and initially, bug bites.

The rewards far surpassed the challenges. These included seeing a new country and its people, making friends and relationships (I mailed a package of supplies, cards and pictures to a subsequent volunteer), and learning more about myself.

I could what formally could have been called hardships, are "nothing". The simple food I ate was excellent; I lost over 10 lbs of fat and felt great. The roosters crowing at 3 or 4 am did not detract from my energy. Any loss of sleep was not noticed nor considered an irritant; it was amazing! Cold showers in a hot climate aren't that bad.

The people you meet are wonderful. They will teach you as much as you teach them. You will be introduced to new animals, you will see how people make a living in a different country. On some weekends you can go into town and explore.

Bottom line: you will most likely be challenged (but not too much, just go with the flow), you will bring back memories and have learned so much you most likely will consider it an adventure of a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?
I'm not sure; Our staff was excellent. Perhaps equip teachers with (simple) laptops and a projector with some canned lessons to build off of? The challenges I had probably had no solution or is there a way to spare the person bug bites?
Yes, I recommend this program

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WorldTeach was founded in 1986 by a group of Harvard students who were motivated by the desire to promote local education initiatives in places where teachers and resources were lacking. Today, we continue to provide opportunities for individuals to...