Teach English in Costa Rica

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  • Overview

    Greenheart Travel’s Teach English in Costa Rica program offers a unique opportunity to make an impact on a local community in Central America. We are excited to partner with the Costa Rican government on this program!


    • 4-month volunteer English teaching placement
    • All housing and meals included with a local Costa Rican host family
    • Placements throughout Costa Rica
    • Extensive 4-day group orientation upon arrival in San Jose
    • Upfront Cost: $650
      • $150 for insurance coverage for the duration of your program (required for the program)
      • $500 program fee. Upon completion of the program, you’ll receive a $600 completion bonus from our partner organization

    We are excited to be assisting the Costa Rican Government’s “Skills for Life” initiative, which will provide intensive English education and life skills training to local Costa Rican communities. The goal of the program is to empower and improve the employability of at-risk young adults to gain employment at local businesses where a basic to intermediate level of English is required.

    Learning English is a gateway to careers and jobs beyond what some of these students might have access to without this education. This program aims to make a big impact in each community where teachers are placed, as well as in each student’s life.

    In order to receive classes, students must qualify for government assistance based on their current income and employment status and must be able to dedicate 30 hours per week to attend English classes. We will help train volunteer teachers with ways to encourage consistent attendance from their students.

    Greenheart Travel’s Teach English in Costa Rica Program was the WINNER of Innovative New Teach Abroad/ TEFL Program at the 2019 GoAbroad Innovation Awards!

  • Program Dates

    Please note: unspecified dates and exact locations are subject to change, so it’s important to remain flexible. Final start dates, end dates, and placement locations may not be confirmed until after acceptance onto the program.

    Start Date Availability Placement Location Contract End Date
    January 2021 Open Puntarenas March 2021
    January 2021 Open Guanacaste May 2021

    More dates and locations to be confirmed soon!

  • Eligibility

    • Native English Speaker
    • Citizen of the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa
    • University Degree preferred (we can make exceptions if you have teaching experience)
    • TEFL/TESOL Certification (unless your degree was in Education)
    • Basic level of Spanish
    • Experience working with under-resourced communities
    • No criminal record
    • Great physical and mental health
    • Technologically savvy, must bring your own laptop

    We will be looking for experienced and dedicated volunteers who have the passion for positively impacting the lives of at-risk young adults in Costa Rica. Volunteers should be prepared to lead a classroom all day, for four days per week. This is a new and important government initiative, so we will need volunteers who are hard working and committed to the program’s success to ensure that the program can continue and expand in order to impact the lives of more Costa Rican youths.

    Still need your TEFL/TESOL Certificate?

    A TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate is required to qualify for the program. If you are not yet certified, you may still apply, but you’ll need to submit proof of registration for a course that will finish prior to your desired start date, and your acceptance would be contingent on receiving your completed certificate prior to the beginning of the program.

    Take your 4-week TEFL/TESOL certification course in Heredia, Costa Rica!

    Or, take your certification course online before you go!
    Courses start every 2 weeks

  • Costs and Inclusions

    It’s free to apply! You won’t have to make any non-refundable deposits until you’re officially accepted!

    Upfront Cost: $650

    • $150 for insurance coverage for the duration of your program (required for the program)
    • $500 program fee. You’ll receive a $600 completion bonus from our partner organization when you complete the program

    Program Inclusions:

    • Volunteer teaching placement in Costa Rica
    • 4 Months of International Health Insurance
    • Private Room Accommodation with a local host family
    • 3 Meals per day (provided by host family)
    • Airport pickup and transfer to orientation host family
    • Transportation to teaching site
    • Group orientation upon arrival, including host family accommodations
    • Greenheart Atlas Program, an interactive guide to your cross-cultural experience
    • Greenheart Travel T-shirt & Greenheart Stickers

    Our Support and Services:

    • Volunteer Visa Assistance – upon arrival in Costa Rica (you are required to bring the necessary documents)
    • Pre-departure advice and support from Kara, your program manager! She will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and stepping on your flight to Costa Rica.
    • Online webinar logistical orientation before you leave
    • Comprehensive Training upon arrival
    • All teaching materials and a course syllabus for easy planning
    • Highly experienced team of in-country support staff members
    • 24 hour in-country and emergency support for duration of the program, including 24 hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.
    • Constant support from your on-site coordinator at your teaching site
    • Free Program Extension – upon approval by our local partner
    • Opportunity to apply for a Greenheart Grant to give back to your community at home or abroad

    Not included:

    • Airfare to San Jose, Costa Rica
    • Federal background check
    • A laptop:  Teachers are responsible for bringing a laptop computer to Costa Rica with them for lesson planning
    • Any personal expenses outside the scope of the program

    Payment Structure:

    • $300 Initial Deposit due to move onto interview (Refunded if you are not accepted)
    • $300 Commitment Deposit due after acceptance (Confirms your spot on a start date)
    • Remaining Balance Due 60 Days Prior to Start Date: $50

    Wondering where exactly your program fee goes? Here’s a breakdown:


  • Placements

    Placement Locations

    • You will be working in the heart of your community, providing a valuable service to underserved students
    • Placement assignments are mostly in rural towns and villages. A few regions past teachers have been placed in are: Guanacaste, Limón, Puntarenas
    • You may be placed in the same town as another volunteer on the program, but this is not guaranteed. You should expect to be the lead teacher for all your  classes
    • You must be flexible about where you are placed – we cannot guarantee specific placement preferences as you will be placed where you are needed most

    Teaching Positions

    • 4-month teaching commitment, with option to extend
    • 30 classroom hours per week teaching English lessons, plus 10 hours of administrative work, grading, lesson planning, etc.
    • The majority of your students will be at an absolute beginner level
    • You should be comfortable being the lead teacher
    • Your classroom will in the local partner’s facilities, and the type of facility will depend on your placement – it could be a local community center, a church, or a local university.
    • You will be provided with all of the necessary teaching materials and a course syllabus for easy planning
    • Each location will have 50 students
    • The teacher to student ratio will be about 1:25
    • You will be responsible for submitting written bi-weekly reports to your on-site coordinator
  • Accommodation

    You will be matched with a Costa Rican host family in the community where you are placed. Your host family will provide you with three meals per day. You’ll also be welcome to use the kitchen in your host family’s home.

    The types of host families can vary. Families could be the traditional mother/father/adult or young children type of family, or older single mothers whose children live outside of the home.

    Our top priority is that volunteers are safe, comfortable, and happy with their host family. All host families are screened by local community members. We typically only work with families who are recommended by other approved families. The family is screened via telephone by our partner, and then your On-Site Coordinator and Social Worker will personally visit the home to see the conditions of the home and get a feel for the family.

  • FAQs

    How do I know if this program is right for me?

    You should participate in this program if you:

    • want to teach English in Costa Rica or Latin America
    • have previous experience with and have a passion for working with under-resourced populations
    • want to make a true impact on the lives of young Costa Ricans
    • are interested in a complete cultural and language immersion experience
    • do not feel comfortable moving to Latin America without a support network or assistance finding a volunteer or teaching placement
    • want to improve your Spanish
    • are seeking a work experience abroad that will look great on a resume
    • are a teacher, even if a novice, looking to improve the lives of locals

    Will I be paid?

    This is a volunteer teaching program, so you will not earn a monthly salary or stipend. However, almost all your living expenses are covered by the program, and you will receive a $600 completion bonus when you finish your contract.

    Will I be placed alone?

    Although it is common for two volunteers to be placed in the same town, this is not a guarantee. You should go with the expectation that you could be the only volunteer in your town. However, there will be a Costa Rican social worker, who is part of the program, placed in your town that you will get to know! There could also be other volunteers form your orientation group within the same region.

    Will I have access to internet?

    Yes, the internet in most areas is strong enough to stream Netflix and have video calls, as least in your class location. At home, it is a requirement that the host families have internet in their house, but the families might have a bit poorer quality video calls and slower internet (more buffering times, etc).

    As long as your phone is unlocked, you will also be to purchase a data package for your phone. We would help you to make sure you’re getting the data package with the company that has the best internet in your specific area. You would be responsible for covering the costs of your data package.

    Is Costa Rica safe?

    Yes – Costa Rica is a safe country, and the safety of our volunteers is our top priority.In fact, Costa Rica is the most politically stable country in the region with over 80 years of democracy without the threat of war. Costa Rica is also one of two countries in the entire world that does not currently have an army.

    However, just like any country in the world, normal travel precautions should be taken to avoid dangerous situations. Here are the basic rules for staying out of any unnecessary trouble:

    1. Try to avoid walking late at night. Take a taxi when you can; it’s very cheap and safe.
    2. Don’t wear expensive jewelry visibly or carry large amounts of cash.
    3. Stay clear headed: do not get intoxicated or use drugs.
    4. Stay away from dangerous areas. If you’re unsure of where it is safe to go, ask your program coordinator.
  • Application Process

    1. Start Your Application HereYou will be sent more information as well as the link to our application portal to begin your formal application.

    2. Submit Basic Program Information: The first step in our application portal will be basic things like your chosen start date, etc.

    3. Submit your deposit: A $300 deposit is required in order to apply for the program. This is subtracted from your total program fee. If we are unable to accept you following your interview (very unlikely!) we will refund your deposit in full.

    4. Complete Application & Documents: Provide more detailed information about yourself in Part 2 of the application. In this section, you’ll tell us more information like your work history, motivations for joining the program, travel history, and emergency contacts. You will also submit your documents (below) within your portal account.

    5. Skype Interview: Once you have submitted your online application and paid your application deposit, you will be asked to schedule a video interview with a Greenheart Travel representative.

    6. You’re Accepted! Woohoo! We are usually able to accept people within 1-2 weeks of their interviews.

    7. Commitment Deposit: Once you are accepted to the program, you will need to submit a $300 commitment deposit within 14 days to confirm your spot on the program. Once you submit your commitment deposit you will unlock the acceptance portion of your portal, which includes things like pre-departure videos, travel and arrival information, the Greenheart Travel Atlas, and more.

    9. Book your flights, and get ready for your adventure to Costa Rica!

    Required Documents

    • Signed Electronic Terms and Conditions
    • Resume
    • Passport
    • Scanned Bachelor’s Degree
    • Scanned TEFL/TESOL Certification
    • Federal background check
  • Schedule a Call

    Have questions or want to talk with a program manager? Set up a time to have a phone call below.

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