Overview

Greenheart Travel’s new 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 help launch this new government initiative!

Program-at-a-Glance:

  • 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
  • $500 Program Completion Bonus

We are excited to be assisting the Costa Rican Government’s “English Training for Employability” 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 attending English classes. We will help train volunteer teachers with ways to encourage consistent attendance from their students.

Program Dates

Contract Start Date Contract End Date
January 27, 2019 May 25, 2019  *Application deadline: November 30
February 24, 2019 June 22, 2019
March 24, 2019 July 20, 2019
May 26, 2019 September 21, 2019
June 23, 2019 October 19, 2019
July 28, 2019 November 23, 2019
September 22, 2019 January 18, 2020

 

This is a new government program, and the details are still being locked down, so things like exact dates and some details are subject to change. Spots are very limited – apply early to secure a spot.

Eligibility

  • Native English Speaker
  • Citizen of the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa
  • Ages 21+
  • University Degree (BA in Education or ESL/TESOL is a plus)
  • TEFL/TESOL Certification
  • Teaching experience – applicants must feel confident that they can be a full time lead teacher in a classroom with language and cultural barriers
  • Experience volunteering in local communities or abroad
  • Basic level of Spanish
  • No criminal record
  • Great physical and mental health
  • Technologically savvy, must bring your own laptop
  • Must be open minded, very flexible, and highly adaptable
  • Should be high energy, positive, and knowledgeable

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!
Upcoming course start dates: November 26, January 7, February 11

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

Costs

Program Cost: $750

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
  • $500 bonus upon successful completion of the program commitment
  • 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
  • Costa Rica Culture Smart! Customs & Cultural Guide Book

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 Lauren, 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
  • Visa fee or any costs associated with obtaining documents required for the visa (background check, apostilles, etc)
  • 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 Details:

  • $300 Application 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 6 Weeks Prior to Start Date: $150

Placements

Placement Locations

  • You will be working in the heart of your community, providing a valuable service to underserved at-risk youth
  • You will be assigned a placement in one of the following regions: Guanacaste, San José, Cartago, Limón, Puntarenas, and Alajuela
  • Placements will likely be in rural towns and villages
  • You will be placed in the same town as another volunteer on the program, and you will be working together
  • You must be flexible about where you are placed

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.
  • You should be comfortable co-teaching
  • 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 1:25 (2 volunteer teachers for the group of 50)
  • There will also be an English coordinator and a social worker on site
  • 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
  • feel comfortable and passionate about working with vulnerable 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 an $500 bonus upon successful completion of your program.

Will I be placed alone?

Nope! You will be placed and work alongside another program volunteer, along with an English coordinator and social worker. There will also likely 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. You can start the application here: Greenheart Travel Application. This first step includes things like your name, address and chosen start date and should take around 10 minutes to complete. Once complete, you will receive a link to a digital Terms and Conditions form.
  2. Sign our online Terms and Conditions Document. These are our basic policies like cancellation policies, deferral policies, etc.
  3. Submit your $300 deposit. A deposit is required in order to apply for the program and is subtracted from your total program fee. If we are unable to accept you following your interview, we will refund your deposit in full.
  4. Provide more detailed information about yourself in Part 2 of the application. Links to this part will be emailed to you. In this section, you’ll tell us more information like your work history, motivations for joining the program, travel history, and emergency contacts.
  5. Submit your required documents (below) at the link provided.
  6. Schedule your video interview! Once you have submitted your online application and paid your application deposit, you will be asked to schedule a video interview with your Greenheart Travel program manager.
  7. You will have a second screening interview with the in-country program manager
  8. You’re accepted! Woohoo! We are usually able to accept people within a 1-2 weeks of their interviews.
  9. 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. Your final balance is due 6 weeks prior to your start date.
  10. 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
  • A reference letter will be requested upon acceptance to the program
Volunteer Visa requirements: 
In order to apply for the Volunteer visa, you must bring the following documents with you to Costa Rica:
  • A notarized and Apostilled Birth Certificate
  • A notarized and Apostilled Government Background Check
  • A valid passport that does NOT expire within 6 months of the arrival date