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
  • Academic Rigor 7.5
  • Job Assistance 6.9
Showing 16 - 30 of 39
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Kaila
10/10

Amazing Experience in an amazing county

Completing the summer teaching program through WorldTeach was one of the best decisions I have made. All of the processes were easily understood and the field support was great. Especially in my case, I arrived earlier than the group and left two days after. My field directors were very helpful in getting me where I needed to be and then making sure I was integrated into the group once everyone else arrived.
Once on our own, our Field Directors (even some year long volunteers) provided us with insight on places to visit and stay making our vacations safe and fun.
I was fortunate and had an amazing bond with my family in Changuena. The volunteers in my area were actually the closest, yet I had such a great time with my family that I didn't rely on visits from the other vols as much as I thought I would. My town was so welcoming, I never felt unsafe, and my school was wonderful. I had a very easy going Director and made relationship with our Kinder teacher outside of school. She invited us (me and the other close vols) to her home and we all went on a trip to the hot springs.

All in all, my experience with WT was great. I felt supported, heard, and made lasting relationships with the volunteers and locals alike.

How can this program be improved?
The only issue I had was the clarity of the Quince Dias project. I think I would have benefited if the expectations were more clear.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Melissa
10/10

Best Abroad Experience!

The Costa Rica World Teach program is an amazing program in an amazing country. Everyone is so friendly and World Teach is so supportive all year long. It is definitely an experience to remember and I recommend it!

How can this program be improved?
I actually wouldn't change anything with the program. The school system in Costa Rica was a little difficult to deal with with the support of World Teach, I was able to continue on without any problems.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tracy
9/10

Valued Experience

Although it has been a long time, my year in Costa Rica teaching children, living with a family & bonding with fellow volunteers is an experience I will always be grateful for. Thank you, WorldTeach!

Yes, I recommend this program
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CZ
10/10

Great program with excellent in-country support

I had a terrific experience with World Teach in Costa Rica. The process that began with the application and ended with my completion of the program was relatively smooth. The World Teach staff did an excellent job with orientation so I felt prepared when I arrived at my site. They also did a good job of matching me with a site that I really enjoyed. I cannot say enough good things about the Field Director. She was organized, helpful, compassionate, and did her best to give us the support that we needed. World Teach provided us with top notch health insurance that made all in-country health care cheap to free. I highly recommend this program.

How can this program be improved?
My only area for improvement would be a lower cost to participate. Many people would love to volunteer as a teacher in a developing country, but it is very difficult for most people - particularly those a year or two out of college - to afford (by self-funding or fundraising) several thousand dollars to work as a volunteer.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sara
7/10

It's okay

If you are looking for something different, want teaching experience, and to learn Spanish, then you should definitely go to Costa Rica. It is safe and the people are very friendly. You won't have time to travel a lot, so expect to stay in your community. You have to put yourself out there and not be afraid to speak Spanish and do things, otherwise, you will be bored. As long as you are going because you want to teach and see what it is like to live in a different culture, than the Costa Rica program is great! If you do the summer program than it goes by fast!

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked more time off to see the country.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Isobel
9/10

World Teach Costa Rica changed my life direction.

My WorldTeach experience was unexpectedly rewarding. I had a wonderful, supportive director at the school where I was assigned, and we remain in communication. The training and experience I received prior to and during my teaching year proved immensely helpful, enabling me to participant in Costa Rican education in a meaningful way for many years. The challenges of the Costa Rican educational system were well met by the WorldTeach support system, and the teamwork on all levels across cultures was always based in good will. My world was opened and expanded, my life enriched, and I love knowing that I am doing the same for my students.

How can this program be improved?
Many of the things that I felt needed addressing at the time have been done. World Teach responds and grows as necessary, most admirably.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Ab
9/10

WONDERFUL Teaching Abroad Experience

I taught 1st - 6th grade, Monday through Friday, in a Costa Rican village of about 100 people. I lived with a host family. It was absolutely amazing in every way! WorldTeach did a great job of helping things along the way so it was smooth sailing for the volunteers. You won't have to worry about hardly anything but your teaching, which is how it should be!
The most difficult part of this experience, for me, was my personal lack of Spanish knowledge. I knew just enough to eek by, but when you are COMPLETELY immersed (living with a Spanish-speaking family, working in a Spanish-speaking school, navigating a Spanish-speaking community), it can get frustrating when you're not able to communicate like you'd like to (or worse if people either underestimate or overestimate your Spanish ability...equally frustrating!)
However, this was also the most rewarding part! I absolutely love my family, my school, my students, my community...all of it. They have wrapped their arms around me and considered me a part of the community not a visitor, even though I am only here for 3 months!
It seems like a short time, and sometimes it will be short, but you have no clue what an impact you can have on their lives and they on yours!
I am an ELL teacher back in the States (though much different), but if I accomplished nothing more than giving the student's a positive view of the English language and the community a positive outlook on "gringas", I will have considered my experience a success. Luckily, my students have learned more than that! :)

How can this program be improved?
Everything was, seriously, almost perfect, but the current field director is less than desirable. However, the past field directors have been incredible, the summer coordinator is amazing, and it is the current field director's last year with the program!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tyler
10/10

SOLO BUENO

This was the most impactful experience of my life and has shaped how I view the world, its people, and my role on it. Keep an open mind, practice cross-cultural competency and get ready to leave your heart with the Ticos.

How can this program be improved?
Offer more extentions.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Wilson
10/10

Fantastic Program

Wonderful program. I was a teaching volunteer in Costa Rica for 1 year and it was exactly what I was looking for--a peace corps-like teaching program but without the bureaucracy. The application process was efficient and I was able to ship out very quickly. After a few weeks of training, I was placed in a village school where the need for a teacher was clear. It was a challenging and rewarding experience. Note - Most volunteers on this program are placed to live with host families, but some (including me) were in private housing. My village had a small house where all of the teachers lived (5 of us), because the Costan Rican teachers were not from the village either. Only downside is that there was an out-of-pocket cost.

How can this program be improved?
See above.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Lauren
10/10

WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in Costa Rica

I had a fantastic experience. I felt supported prior to departure as well as once I was in country. The host family and school were vetted and prior volunteers led orientation. I would recommend this program to anyone looking for a meaningful oversees experience that does not require imposing political/religious views on the host community.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Sara
9/10

Teaching (and Learning)

As a World Teach volunteer in Costa Rica, I learned so much. I felt incredibly supported by World Teach and learned so much from the other volunteers throughout the year. I miss the challenges and excitement of living and teaching in a different country.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Sherry
10/10

Wonderful Program!!!

My time in Costa Rica was wonderful, I cannot say enough good things about the program. Prior to leaving, WorldTeach has a comprehensive survey that helps with placement so you get an experience that meets your expectations. For example, in my case I knew that although I wanted an adventure, I didn't quite want to live the whole year without running water. My mother also had me request a telephone in the house, she couldn't go a year without being able to contact me haha. Both requests were accommodated. I had worked with children in the past but had no official training experience so the first month of training was extremely helpful as far as coming up with a curriculum for the year. I was placed with a wonderful host family who was picked by the volunteer the year previous. I still keep in touch with them! I also want to add a comment about the in country support. Our field director was always available and went above and beyond. She was able to help with big things like doctors and bank accounts as well as small things like, the best way to send and receive care packages. Overall, I felt that WorldTeach was organized and supportive. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and the people are excited and eager to learn English. Besides teaching in a small rural elementary school (my official assignment) I was also asked to tutor high school students and start an adult class. I participated in the town's all girls soccer team and was welcomed by the community. As a last note, as a young woman traveling on my own I also felt safe in Costa Rica. I often traveled to visit other volunteers or to go to the beach since I lived in the mountains. I was able to navigate the public transportation and quickly learned the dos and don'ts. I highly recommend the program and especially Costa Rica!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Cassandra
7/10

Pura Vida

I spent a year living in rural Costa Rica, teaching English, learning Spanish and enjoying what I could of the famously relaxed and friendly culture. Day to day I would teach English in the morning, plan classes and relax in the afternoon and have a hearty dinner with my host family before turning in at 8 PM - yes you read that right! Did I mention we woke up almost every day at 5 AM? Yes, it was early to bed and early to rise, but I was never better rested than when I lived in Costa Rica - that's still 9 hours of sleep an evening.

Highlights of my year were tasting Costa Rican food, journeying into San Jose for breaks from the slow country life, visiting other teachers at their sites for mini-breaks, learning Spanish, having fun with my students and pushing them to make breakthroughs with their English.

I absolutely loved the laid-back atmosphere of Costa Rica. It was a great change of pace to have so much free time and to be able to revel in that by relaxing and watching the grass grow. There wasn't so much pressure to fill my every waking moment with activity and it was a great change of pace. I also really loved the food! Now some people may tell you that Costa Rican cuisine isn't that distinctive, but I really loved the millions of ways I ate rice and beans, fresh fruits and veggies and farm fresh eggs. It was delicious. And, my students were amazing. They were fun, funny, warm and genuine. Maybe we weren't setting the world on fire with our English classes but we had fun and I feel like it was a great growth experience for everyone involved.

I will say it was really challenging to live with some of my students. To be honest I should have been more cognizant of the fact that I am an introvert and need some alone time everyday to unwind and recharge, but I didn't factor that in when I was in the process of placement. It was hard for me to spend all day in class with the kids and then have to go home with them when all I wanted was some alone time to digest what had happened that day. There was also the added pressure of living with parents of my students. Costa Rican parents may have a reputation of being very laissez faire, but my host mom was super involved and I felt a lot of pressure to live up to previous teachers and a lot of self-doubt that I wasn't quite meeting her expectations. I think it's really important to think about these matters when you are getting placed. In hindsight, I realized that part of what I loved about my work before and after Costa Rica was being able to leave work at work and keep good boundaries about not bringing it home - that was something I should have considered and perhaps requested living with a family without such close ties to the school.

All in all though I would highly recommend WorldTeach Costa Rica to any and all - it's a great experience that will change you forever!

How can this program be improved?
I don't think that my Spanish skills improved as much as I was hoping while I was there and I would have benefited from more language training during orientation and ongoing classes as well.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Doug
9/10

Costa Rica Summer Program

The journey to Costa Rica was adventuresome and rewarding. I had the luxury of having been previously acclimated to the Country as I am married to a Costa Rican and had spent much time there already. The training in Orosi was wonderful. Again, I was already a teacher, so the teacher prep part of training wasn't necessary for me, but the language training was fantastic. They also did a fantastic job with cultural responsiveness training.
The placement was wonderful, I couldn't have asked for a better pueblo than Cerros Arriba. All in all, a great experience!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Mike
10/10

Incredibly Beneficial Experience

I participated in the Costa Rica program in 1991. It was a very challenging but rewarding experience for me. Today I practice corporate law in one of the Twin Cities' largest law firms, where I'm also a partner and a member of the firm's Board of Directors. I can say without a doubt that my experience as a WorldTeach volunteer has been instrumental in giving me the skills (primarily patience, passion and persistence) to succeed in the workplace. To this day, I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me by WorldTeach. Assuming the program has only improved since 1991 and you're a person that is self-motivated, tenacious and positive, WorldTeach is worth looking into, as it will pay lifelong dividends.

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...