Is teaching in Costa Rica right for me?
If you’re pursuing a career in teaching or just love working with children, then our Teaching Project is for you. You’ll gain practical teaching work experience in Costa Rica and learn from qualified teachers. This is a great addition to your CV and will be a fascinating topic to talk about in future job interviews.
We’ll teach you everything you need to know to participate in this project. Your supervisor will talk you through everything. They will introduce you to our extensive list of teaching resources and invite you to regular workshops with other volunteers. You can discuss lesson planning suggestions and teaching advice.
This project runs all year round so you can choose when you’d like to join. Our minimum stay is two weeks but the longer you stay, the bigger your impact will be.
What will I be doing during my Teaching Project in Costa Rica?
As a Teaching volunteer, you’ll work alongside local teachers at a primary school in Heredia. You’ll get involved in the following activities:
- Improve the English language skills of your students through fun and educational lessons
- Run extracurricular activities such as music, sports, and drama
- Improve the teaching techniques of local teachers to ensure more efficient learning
Improve English levels of young students
As a Teaching volunteer, you’ll be work predominantly as a teaching assistant to the local teacher. In smaller groups, you’ll help each child learn English grammar rules, develop their vocabulary, and improve their conversational skills. You’ll also assist the teacher with marking and lessons planning. If you stay for four weeks or longer, you’ll be given more responsibility. You may even be able to run your own classes by the end of your project.
Run extracurricular activities
If you are eager to do more, you can get involved in after school murals. You can organise lessons focusing on:
You may even be able to set up extra English lessons or a club if the school allows it. You can speak to your supervisors about the ideas you have.
Share teaching techniques from your home country with the local teachers
Many teachers continue to teach using the same methods in which they themselves were taught as students, focusing on simple memorisation.
You can share your experiences of different teaching methods from back home during discussion sessions. Together, you can share tips and ideas on activities that can make learning fun. You’ll learn from them and encourage the local teachers to introduce different techniques which will make lessons more fun for their students.
Where will I be teaching in Costa Rica?
You’ll live in the quaint laidback city of Heredia. Known as the “City of Flowers”, it comes as no surprise that Heredia is filled with beautiful gardens and luscious flora in between the colonial architecture that line the streets. Mixed with the floral scents is the compelling aroma of their famously farmed coffee. You shouldn’t leave without tasting a cup!
You’ll work in a local primary school. The schools are often understaffed so the teachers will always welcome an extra hand during their classes. Your fresh ideas will be greatly appreciated in making the lessons more fun for the children.
What will a typical day be like on the Teaching Project in Costa Rica?
You’ll start your day with a light breakfast and a freshly brewed cup of Costa Rican coffee with your host family before heading off to work. Depending on how far you are from your placement, you’ll either catch a public bus or get some fresh air with a walk. Your supervisor will show you the way on your first day to ensure you are prepared.
Depending on the school you’re at, a typical day may start at 7 or 8.30am and end around mid afternoon, Monday to Friday. These hours might extend to 5.30pm if you choose to take part in extracurricular activities.
Each day, you’ll follow the schedule of the local teacher and assist during classroom activities. You’ll provide additional support to the children who are struggling and ensure they understand what is happening during the lessons. During the students break times and after classes, you can sit down with the teacher and share different teaching techniques. Alternatively, you can work together on future lesson plans.
At the end of the day, you are free to relax and explore the rest of Heredia. You might choose to visit the famous colonial-style church in the town square, swim in the blue sea waters, or sample the local cuisine. Over the weekends, be sure to organise a ziplining expedition or a hike up one of their famous volcanoes.
What are the aims and impact of this project?
The aim of this project is to develop the English conversational skills of young students in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is a predominantly Spanish speaking country but English is the language of business. With the flourishing tourism industry, having strong English speaking skills has become increasingly important. This can lead to better job opportunities.
Another reason for this project is to improve the teaching techniques of local teachers. Insufficient teacher training means that they stick to the same method of teaching year in and year out. Mainly memorisation. This is an ineffective way of teaching and can become tedious for young students. By introducing new techniques, you’ll be able to improve the standards of teaching in local schools.
In Costa Rica, we have identified three long-term goals that you’ll work towards:
- Improve English
- Improve teaching techniques
- Encourage learning through creativity
If working with children and implementing new ways of teaching is something that interests you, then sign up for our Teaching Project in Costa Rica!
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Leisure activities and free time
With more than 25% of its land protected in national parks, Costa Rica is a nature lover’s paradise. It has everything from volcanoes to tropical rainforests, and magnificent waterfalls to beautiful sandy beaches. This tiny country is also renowned for its biodiversity and boasts an array of wildlife.
The vibrant city of Heredia, where most of our projects are based, is situated in the heart of Costa Rica’s coffee-growing country. With its large student population and close proximity to the exciting capital city of San Jose, Heredia has an active cultural and social scene.
You can easily reach the impressive Poas and Irazu volcanoes on a day-trip from Heredia. Many other popular tourist destinations, such as Arenal volcano and Monteverde cloud forest, are only a few hours bus ride away.
You're never far from the coast in Costa Rica. Spoilt for choice by the number of idyllic beaches, you'll have plenty of opportunities for water-based activities like surfing, swimming, or scuba diving in your free time.
There will likely be other volunteers in Costa Rica with you. So you can choose to explore on your own or as a group.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.