Teaching English and Community Development Projects in Costa Rica

Travel to Costa Rica to teach English to underprivileged children and adults in the local community.

Program Information

Discover the beautiful coastal town of Quepos when you travel to Costa Rica and volunteer to teach English to local children and community members. Depending on the communities requirements you will also have an opportunity to assist with different activities including life skills education, art, physical education, remedial academic assistance or extra-curricular activities. Surf or explore the tropical rainforests and stunning beaches in your free time.  

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals


Join a team of like-minded volunteers on this community project, living and working in the beautiful coastal area of Quepos in Costa Rica, providing conversational English to local children and other community members. You may also assist with art, music, physical education, remedial academic assistance, extra-curricular activities and community development initiatives.


Assisting in the school teaching English has been a lot of fun. The kids find the way we speak hilarious so it´s funny to hear them copy us! English is really important for any job here in Costa Rica so it´s great to have the opportunity to help them with that.
- Valentinna Vulin (Sweden)

Program Details

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Project Life

You will be teaching conversational English to children in an extra-curricular program. This will be done using various informal methods and activities to keep the environment fun and flexible. In addition, you will be involved in some English workshops for adult groups in the community several times per week.

The days could be spent brainstorming and lesson planning and leading activities and workshops or doing some construction, gardening or maintenance projects in the community depending on the communities' needs at the time.

Field Conditions

Your accommodation will be shared with other GVI volunteers, like-minded individuals who will share the same desire to help and make a difference. The task of cooking and cleaning is shared among all volunteers and as meals are prepared and taken as a group you will develop strong friendships with your fellow volunteers. The volunteer house is small but comfortable in the centre of the typically Costa Rican town of Quepos.

Project Details

Our Goals include:

- A shift towards long-term sustainable educational programmes
- Local environmental education initiatives
- Support extra-curricular activities including Sports, Arts and more

Our GVI participants and staff have started an exciting new partnership in Bahia Ballena town and Quepos itself. This is a program run by UNPD in partnership with local authorities and the local community aiming to reduce the amount of young people at risk and to provide them with tools to prevent violence and get reinserted to the productivity chain in the society. The program is called Integral Security and Prevention of Violence Affecting Children, Adolescents and Young People in Costa Rica and the role of GVI is to provide the English classes as a mean to improve their skills set to facilitate the reinsertion of the young beneficiaries of the project and/or to create an adequate environment for the development of it.

How this project makes a difference:

In this region of Costa Rica, much of the local economy is built on tourism.  In an effort to better serve the American and European traveller population, being able to speak and write in English is vitally important with the number one request from the local school board for more English teachers.

GVI directly serves this need by bringing native English speakers to the community to teach.

*During Easter and Christmas holidays the attendance tends to decrease. In situations like these we provide one-to-one tutoring to the students.

Quepos' short, mid, and long-term objectives

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.Upon arrival to

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Quepos:

1. Improve access to education and wellness to El Cocal community

2, Increase environmental awareness in the local community

3. Improve English literacy levels in Quepos community and surrounded areas

4. Ensure that GVI Quepos base provides volunteers and interns unique, safe, responsible travel experiences, exceptional training and career development opportunities, and facilitate the ability to make a real difference

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • 20 hours of Spanish lessons unless already fluent
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs


Our long-term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Our Quepos field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Costa Rica!

The volunteer house is located in the centre of the town of Quepos. You are given free time in the evenings after project and during the weekends to enjoy the local area. Quepos is also a fifteen- minute bus ride from the beautiful beach town of Manuel Antonio. During the weekends, you’re free to explore the beautiful surrounding areas.

Some volunteers have even visited the famous areas of La Fortuna or Monte Verde. Our experienced field staff on base are great at giving recommendations on good places to go when you have down time.

The Team

Hannah Watson

Education Officer
Meet Hannah, our happy education officer. Hannah joined the GVI staff after she decided to work abroad in the field, in a more face to face role. She has a degree in Spanish and English Literature, evidently making her a perfect fit for this role!

Hannah also has other impressive experience working abroad. "I worked in Spain for a year as a language assistant in a primary school. I then went to Colombia and I ran a conversation club in a University. When I returned from Colombia I got a job with World Challeng. In between all this I have nnterrailed around Europe, spent a summer volunteering in a hostel in Barcelona, helped to lead an expedition to Morocco, cycled around Cuba, hiked in Peru, rocked around the Galapagos and Ecuador, spied on Orangutans in Borneo and chased Penguins in the Falkland Islands!"

Luis Jimenez

Logistics Manager
Meet Luis, our well-travelled logistics manager! Luis studied Arts History and also has degree in Human Resources. His first contact with volunteer work was when he was studying at the University of Costa Rica and worked on a project to protect the sea turtles at Ostional beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Luis has a culturally diverse background as his stepfather was German and he had the opportunity to get to travel to some European, American and Latin American countries.

The chance to contribute to community development and help shape the children’s futures is what first attracted Luis to GVI. He loves getting to know and work with all the volunteers from around the world!

Eunice Jimenez

Base Manager
Meet Eunice, our experience base manager here in Quepos. Eunice is a Biologist with a Masters in high school education and has volunteer experience doing construction work in the middle of a forest in Germany, rebuilding some public areas in a small village in the north of Spain, and working with marine turtles in Costa Rica. She has also been lucky enough to have travelled around Europe, China, Canada and the USA.

Her internship as a Environmental Educator was what set her career into motion and now, years later, she is still pursuing her passion for the environment and teaching. She loves working for GVI as it gives her the opportunity to make a difference and to work with people from all around the world!

Shayle Havemann

Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.

When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!

Cynthia Arochi Zendejas

Costa Rica Country Director
Meet Cynthia, our Country Director in Costa Rica. She started out with GVI as one of our National Scholarship Program participants in 2006 and later became our Programme Coordinator in Mexico. Her skills and enthusiasm just made it too hard to let her get away!

Cynthia is a certified Veterinarian, an EFR Instructor and holds a Master’s degree in International environmental Science. She is also a member of the Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation, chapter Costa Rica.

The most interesting things she’s experienced during life in the field? “Watching the turtles hatching! Also finding jaguar tracks and being able to participate in community tours.” Apart from those, Cynthia also loves arranging and participating in the fun Charity Challenges with volunteers.

What does Cynthia think volunteers bring to the projects? Since our goal is to provide support to local organisations which don’t have the human or economic resources to achieve their conservation or sustainable development objectives, our volunteers play a key role by being the hands needed, or helping to fund raise for those projects.”

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