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Work, Study or Volunteer in Costa Rica

By  June 25, 2010

From language schools to environmental projects - find an excuse to stay a while.

From language schools to environmental projects, there are many adventurous and educational experiences available in this geographically-diverse country.


Punta Mona

This organic farm and community and education centre is located on the southern Caribbean coast. It hosts internships, group retreats and school programmes, while promoting sustainable living and permaculture farming. Interns pay US$600 per month and work on gardening, building, forestry, art, cooking, childcare, natural medicine and more. Punta Mona offers “work trade” and some paid positions.

Pacuare Nature Reserve

The Endangered Wildlife Trust, a British charity, established this 800-hectare reserve on the Caribbean coast to protect the leatherback turtles that nest here. Volunteers come from March through September to tag turtles at night and protect their nests. The trust is hiring field coordinators and research assistants for the 2010 season. Ecology Project International also runs an education/volunteer program here.

Volunteer Abroad

Owned by the Canadian Federation of Students, this organization offers volunteer opportunities in seven countries. The Costa Rica programme begins with Spanish study and orientation in San José. From there, you can volunteer in building, conservation, health care, teaching and social programmes in several locations.

Cross-Cultural Solutions

Volunteer opportunities are located in the rural locations of San Carlos and Puriscal, and the historic city of Cartago. You can work with Nicaraguan immigrants, women’s groups, people living with HIV and others. 

Amigos de las Américas

Amigos has been working in Costa Rica for almost 30 years. In the summer of 2010, volunteers will run summer camps for children aged 5 to 12.

Globe Aware

This organization offers one-week volunteer vacations in 15 countries. In a village near Costa Rica’s Carara Biological Reserve, volunteers can help locals develop community-based tourism to make up for the income they lost when their farmland was taken over by the reserve. Or volunteers can work in a community on the Caribbean coast, helping with construction or education.



Costa Rican Language Academy

This Tico (Costa Rican)-owned school in San José also offers cultural studies, dance lessons, gym membership, cooking classes, weekend excursions and optional homestays.


Comunicare is a non-profit organization that provides Spanish classes along with volunteer work opportunities and education on local community development. There are three types of programmes: flexible study, Central American reality and study and share. The goal is to promote cultural exchange and an understanding of current issues in Central America.

University for Peace

Costa Rica is the home of this United Nations-mandated graduate school of peace and conflict studies. They offer several master of arts programmes as well as workshops and training. Graduate students from other universities can participate in their semester abroad programme.

International Studies Abroad (ISA)

ISA provides educational experiences for American and Canadian students in 14 countries. Heredia, San José and Tenorio Volcano are the diverse sites for study in Costa Rica.

Cultural Experiences Abroad

CEA brings American and Canadian students to 16 countries. Their Costa Rica programme is located in San José and includes environmental studies, international business, volunteer work opportunities and Latin dance classes.

The Tico Times

This English-language newspaper based in San José has four-month unpaid writing and photography internships. The writing internship requires fluent Spanish for conducting interviews; photographers need intermediate Spanish.

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad has internships and volunteer work opportunities in Costa Rica. The northwestern town of Liberia is the site for volunteer opportunities in teaching, care, sports, journalism, along with learning Spanish. Volunteers stay with host families. There’s also a conservation and environment programme at Barra Honda National Park.


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Published in Study Abroad
Roop Gill

After finishing her undergrad in Toronto, Roop Gill worked as journalist for a year. Giving into her wanderlust, she packed up her life in Canada and is currently doing a cross-continental MA through the Erasmus Programme that will take her from Denmark to Australia to England. She can’t understand how this happened, but she has managed to pick three of the most expensive places in the world to live as a student, but she is determined not to let that stand in her way of travelling.

Website: roopgill.com/

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