Proyecto San Gerardo Volunteer Positions
88% Rating
(10 Reviews)

Proyecto San Gerardo Volunteer Positions

Proyecto San Gerardo provides skills training to rural Costa Ricans to help them find better jobs. We are located in San Gerardo de Rivas, near Mt Chirripo - the highest most spectacular mountain in Costa Rica. The area is perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities as well as photography and wildlife viewing. Just an hour by bus from the city and 2 hours to the beach volunteers can get away to explore the beauty of Costa Rica at the weekends.

Volunteers may apply for the following teaching positions: ESL teachers (*3 month minimum), 'Amigos Ingles' conversation practice volunteers, Computers Skills teachers, First Aid instructors and Business Development Skills teachers.

We also need website developers, writers, crafts teachers and youth leaders.
All our volunteers receive orientation, home-stay, and ongoing support throughout their stay.
Volunteer and have fun! Pura vida!

* other positions have a 4 - 6 week minimum commitment

Locations
North America » Costa Rica
Length
1-3 Months
Language
English
Housing
Host Family
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Costs include USD$350 per month homestay fee, your health insurance and spending money (you won't need much here!)
Other Locations
San Gerardo de Rivas

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    84%
  • Support
    89%
  • Fun
    89%
  • Value
    77%
  • Safety
    91%

Program Reviews (10)

Default avatar
Clarice
Female
24 years old
Somerset, KY

Amigos Ingles-Phenomenal Opportunity

8/10

Through Proyecto San Gerardo, I volunteered in their Amigos Ingles program to help local students with fairly advanced English language skills practice conversational English one-on-one. General resources and a broad structure were provided and the rest was left wide-open to me. Everyone that I met with brought great enthusiasm and dedication to their language studies. For myself, the learning experience associated with teaching in a one-on-one setting was phenomenal as I learned to tailor my focus and style of instruction from student to student. Through this program, I didn't just gain experience with one-on-one teaching. I also gained a handful of amigos that I still stay in touch with and do a bit of English writing practice long-distance through their updates about progress in their lives and big changes, like heading off to university.
The town of San Gerardo de Rivas is quiet and the winding roads although steep entice you around every bend with the promise of another sensational view. It is a great place to enjoy a slower pace of life and appreciate the small things.

Reginald
Male
46 years old
Evansville, Indiana

Cloud Forest, Coffee and Children

10/10

If you love mountains, rivers, coffee, simple living, children, people, teaching and a very humble life style you should love living and teaching in the San Gerardo area. My experience was truly an idyllic one, allowing me to live with and experience the lifestyle of a rural Costa Rican family while enjoying the challenge of teaching English to both children and adults in the community. The support I received was moderate, enough to allow me considerable latitude to "do my own thing", yet with enough structure in the program to ensure continuity and a sense of organization essential to the learning success of most individuals.

How can this program be improved?

I believe that students should be required to pay at least a modest sum (those taking classes outside the auspices of the public school), ensuring that they are truly motivated and take the classes seriously, and helping to provide for the cost of basic materials and to offset, in part, some of the other costs of the program.

Response from Proyecto San Gerardo

Thanks Reggie!
You have many, many friends here in these communities - you certainly made a great impression!
The age-old debate about charging for classes continues! We still offer all our classes free but increasingly we are expecting our students or their families to help out in one way or another. The schools have also been great at offering free school supplies like printing, paper and meals to our volunteers! But I appreciate your point.

Default avatar
Mary
Female
54 years old
Vancouver
University of British Columbia

Teach English and live in an immersive environment in peaceful town in Costa Rica

10/10

Proyecto San Gerardo provided me with a fantastic opportunity to experience the warmth of the Latino community by being involved with the lives of the people in several small rural towns in Costa Rica. Teaching English in such an intimate environment means that you get to know everyone pretty quickly and they sure get to know you! You can tell that learning the language is seen as a real benefit to the people who live here and it is a means to a better life and future.

Unlike other programs, this one is organized and structured to assist you with your volunteer hours. It is not a loose, adhoc situation - you are given a proper schedule and details necessary to teach; however, there is still lots of room for you own ideas and creativity to come up with any plans to help the community. This is not the place to volunteer if you want a "party atmosphere", but rather a serene and safe place. If you are the sort to enjoy fresh air and nature, it is ideal and bigger towns with transportation hubs are not far away.

Living with Margarit and Memo was great as I became a part of their family and when I returned the following year for a visit, it felt like I was returning home. This town is so unlike many touristy parts of Costa Rica - it remains unspoilt and authentic.

Volunteering with Proyecto San Gerardo started me on a continued passion for travelling in Central America and continued studies in Spanish.

Default avatar
Aleisha
Female
26 years old
langley
Simon Fraser University

Great teaching experience

8/10

Proyecto san Gerardo was an amazing opportunity! It was my first time teaching overseas and I would do it again in a heart beat given the funds and time!

Staff: The staff were wonderful and all the local teachers involved with PSG. Communication was a little difficult as I spoke minimal Spanish so a lot of hand gestures and google translate was needed. Expect to be a little confused once and awhile or practice your Spanish lots. All the locals were really patient in helping me practice and I used my duolingo nearly ever single day.

Teaching: I taught in Canaan but the neighboring communities are within walking distance if you go there to substitute. I taught 7 classes and approximately 7 hours a day/4 days a week from beginner to intermediate.

Climate: Bring a good pair of walking shoes as there are huge hills and long walks involved however all with stunning views that looks like something out of Jurassic park. If you're into hiking, yoga, trail walks then you will love it! I found walking at night to be a little scary sometimes as there is little in terms of light on your walk home. Bring a flashlight! Not too much in terms of a social scene in the village but the main town is about a 30 minute bus ride away that's super easy to get too. There's one bus in and out of San Gerardo so patience is a necessity.

Travel within Costa RIca: I did a lot of short weekend trips away along the coast however renting a car is a lot easier if you intend to do some distance traveling on your weekends. There's some great local one day hikes as well if you've like to stay closer and the beach is about an hour away by bus.

Homestay: My homestay family were amazing! You can pick if you want to stay with a family with kids/pets, etc but it was a great opportunity teaching the kids English during the day and then having them help you with your Spanish in the evening. You get your own room and my family was really good about privacy and making sure I always had a meal ready to go or put in the fridge for me if they weren't home at meal times. I really think my homestay family made my trip what it was. Super important to have a good relationship and communication with your homestay so your stay is as comfortable as possible.

Internet: Wifi was available in the home however it depends on your homestay family. You are essentially in the middle of the jungle so don't expect fast service. There was a hotel about a 15 minute walk from my hotel that you can grab a soda at or something to eat and use their wifi. It was the best I found!

Response from Proyecto San Gerardo

Hi Aleisha,
It was great having you volunteer with the ESL program in Canaan and the kids and young people loved your energy as well as your knowledge of popular culture!
Thank you
Jenny/Director PSG

Default avatar
Jeff
Male
35 years old
Denver

My experience with Proyecto San Gerardo

8/10

I volunteered for Proyecto San Gerardo in the Fall of 2014 for several months. First off - San Gerardo is a gorgeous little town that is set at the base of Mt. Chirripo. One of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica. The people of San Gerardo are very nice and make you feel at home in the community.

I taught English to both kids and adults during my time. I always felt like I received the support I needed to be successful. The kids were great to teach (even though I struggled with discipline from time to time!).

I would highly recommend being part of Proyecto San Gerardo and helping anyway you can in that community. The community relies on Proyecto San Gerardo to provide English classes to the locals and many other helpful resources.

Jeff Manson
2014 Proyecto San Gerardo Volunteer

How can this program be improved?

My only suggestion would be to maybe provide some resources or recommendations for the volunteers to learn Spanish or take some Spanish classes from the locals.

Default avatar
Martina
Female
43 years old
Chachapoyas, Peru

Teaching English in San Gerardo de Rivas, Costa Rica

10/10

We stayed 8 months with PSG in the southern mountains of Costa Rica. We ? Actually the four of us, my husband, myself and our two boys. I taught English in 2 different villages, at the local school for pupils aged 6 to 12 and in the afternoon to older students, that took the English classes in addition to their highschool English. My husband worked in Café Bambu to teach some different cooking techniques and he also taught a Restaurant course for 3 months.
Being a teacher for these young people, that come into your class at 5 pm after their school day to study, is very rewarding - and it gives you the responsibility to not deceive them !
We had a great time and always think back thankful for those wonderful months.

How can this program be improved?

There is nothing to be improved. I just want to say that you don't get any pay (as is stated in the questionnaire above), but you pay for your housing a very reasonable fee to your host family (which seems rather normal to me). This is important to know before you apply !

Response from Proyecto San Gerardo

Thanks Martina! People here still ask about you and your lovely family and we were so impressed at all you achieved!
Yes thanks for pointing out that the home stay does require a small fee to cover costs, and that in itself is a lovely way to help a local family. Rentals are possible but they vary from cheap and uncomfortable to western style and expensive PLUS you miss the wonderful opportunity of practicing Spanish and getting to know the culture inside out.

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John
Male
62 years old
London

Proyecto San Gerardo

8/10

My wife and I spent 3 very enjoyable months in Herradura, a small village very close to San Gerardo. We were mostly working as English teachers in small (very small!) elementary schools but we also had some group and one-to-one classes for adults and teenagers. We stayed with a family on a small farm, which was a delightful experience. At the weekends we were able to get around and explore many parts of Costa Rica, which was really great.

Default avatar
Anna
Female
29 years old
Cambridge

Special Volunteer Opportunity in Costa Rica

9/10

Though it has been nearly 2 years since I returned from Herradura, CR, I still think about my experience with Proyecto San Gerardo all of the time. My time spent there and the relationships I developed with my host family and community have had a lasting impact on me.

I found PSG while looking for a volunteer opportunity in Central or South America. I had never traveled by myself, so I wanted a somewhat structured opportunity to volunteer and live in Costa Rica. I was interested in living with a family in order to immerse myself in the culture and the language. PSG provided me with a safe and supportive environment to engage in meaningful volunteer work, but also allowed space for me to explore the community and learn about myself. Living with a family was the best part - most of my free time was spent hanging out with extended family and neighbors. This provided a unique insight into the community that only comes with staying with a host family. You will learn a lot through running a youth group at the school and through the Amigos Ingles program, but you will learn even more during meals with your family and spending time with people. They treated me as a family member, which made me feel comfortable from day 1. Martina and Philippe, who were filling in for Jenny Moss during my stay, were immensely supportive, and I still keep in touch with them years later. Volunteering with PSG is a great opportunity to work directly in a gracious community with students and their families. Great for first-time volunteers and solo travelers. I hold a special place in my heart for Herradura and PSG.

How can this program be improved?

I wish I had been there at the same time as other volunteers, both for companionship and for maximizing my own impact as a volunteer. My only regret is that I wasn't able to stay in Herradura longer. I would have benefited from a more structured orientation when I arrived, but you really do learn as you go along. You have a lot of freedom to create your own volunteer experience and schedule.

Default avatar
Laura
Female
31 years old
Vermont

Teaching English in the mountains of Costa Rica

8/10

I spent almost a year in San Gerardo and Herradura teaching English. I had a great time there and gained excellent experience both in teaching English and in speaking Spanish. Both of these skills have helped me in my later work and education.

While in Costa Rica, I lived with two host families, first in San Gerardo, then in Herradura. Both families were so welcoming and friendly. They were always feeding me great Costa Rican foods (I still miss Eneida's arroz con leche and Yeti's tres leches) and were happy to chat with me (in spite of my stumbling Spanish) and would include me in their outings and social events in the area.

Jenny was always very friendly and supportive, and Pedro was always around to make a joke and have a laugh. I miss drinking coffee with them in their kitchen (while simultaneously being attacked by their kittens).

Costa Rica is of course, incredibly beautiful. Having the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve just up the road was awesome. It provided both beautiful hikes and fun volunteers with whom I had a great time socializing with. Although, I admit, it took me a couple of months to find them... In addition, they have the hot springs nearby, and Uvita and Dominical are a couple of lovely beaches just a couple of hours away. Great options for a weekend trip!

I really learned how to teach in Costa Rica. Students were forgiving of my imperfect Spanish and my newly tried English teaching techniques. Many students were very enthusiastic about learning English (although there were certainly exceptions). Overall, I really enjoyed the small classes and informal setting.

I would definitely recommend Proyecto San Gerardo as a great place to volunteer if you're looking for a quiet, rural, mountainous location.

How can this program be improved?

When I was there in 2012, finding a decent speed of internet connection was a constant challenge! Perhaps that has improved since then.

Response from Proyecto San Gerardo

Hi Laura!

It really was very special having you here for a year. You really opened up Herradura as our second English learning center. Believe it or not your students are practically all in high school or university now!

And yes, internet has improved a lot - even in Herradura, our most remote location. So now we have the good and the bad of being constantly connected!

Default avatar
Ashley
Female
44 years old
Mocksville
University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

Mountains give Motivation

9/10

If you love mountains and rivers and natural beauty, it doesn't get any better than Canaan, Costa Rica. As a family, we spent 6 weeks working with the project. Miles (father and hubby) taught computer classes and worked on the website. I (mom and wife) taught Amigos Ingles. I am a teacher by occupation and it was so rewarding to work with adult students. I have formed lasting friendships with at least 4 students and we are having a ball on What'sApp now that I am in North Carolina. Our kids were a bit bored while there, as they do not speak Spanish. They had to learn to live without Internet! However, they came away with the life lessons we wanted to teach them about caring, volunteering, cultural diversity and adventure. We rented a house but I would recommend the homestay. We were able to meet a few of the homestay families and see their houses. They did not disappoint and the food was AMAZING. Bus system is great so we didn't even contemplate renting a car. There is little to do as far as socializing so college students might want to apply as a team. After dark (6 p.m.) there is nothing to do unless you want to go to a restaurant. This fit our lifestyle perfectly, but younger folks should be aware. Apply or talk to Jenny. Visit their website! Pura vida!

How can this program be improved?

It is hard to get away for 6 weeks. I think the project is working on other options.

About The Provider

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Proyecto San Gerardo is a community-based non-profit organization in south central Costa Rica. Working with rural communities we provide skills training, scholarships and job training to youth and adults who lack access to those opportunities.

Our volunteers help teach and practice new skills working directly

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