Teach English to Local Students

founded in 2011
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Coordinator | Josh
Coordinator | Josh
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.
In the beautiful city of Coronado the communities are rapidly developing and due to this classrooms are exceeding manageable numbers. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Teachers are overseeing classrooms of as many as 40 students, which is providing for much needed assistance. For over a century education has been free for all citizens and this has very much paid off! The literacy rate of Costa Rica is 95% and most students will graduate secondary school with some form of specialised training.

The belief behind free education is the empowering future that comes as a result. The government believes that providing a solid education will then provide the country with future scientists, businessmen and government leaders to advance with the times and have similar beliefs. The mission of the Costa Rican school system is, “To create a well-educated populace that will one day improve their national (and even global) lot.” Costa Rica is a community based society and the belief of their students isn’t to build individual success, but to create a foundation for the success of humanity.

In 1869 Costa Rica was the first country in Central America to make education free for all citizens. Much of the funding was founded after the military was disbanded in the late 1950s and poured into the education system. Since the early 70s more than 30% of the country’s budget was invested into the education. So much so that while in the country you will find there to be more teachers than policemen!

Primary education is mandatory for children 6 to 13 years old lasting 6 years in total followed by a voluntary Secondary education lasting five years. Secondary education will be separated into 2 parts. The first three years will provide students with general education including maths, science and grammar. The final two years are for specialised training such as computer science, media & technology, clinical assistance and childcare training.

The public and private school systems are similar as the curriculum is enforced and determined by the Ministry of Education. The major difference between the two will be that extra classes are offered to follow that of the US preparing their students to travel abroad for university education. Courses can be taught in multiple languages to ensure that when graduation comes the students receive accreditations equivalent to that of the US diploma or the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The cost of private education is very high and only those from high-income families are able to receive such programmes.

Social classes are a major factor in the social system of Costa Rica. Costa Ricans feel that their high education sets them apart from those of less fortune and due to this there has been great focus on expansion of primary and secondary education. Families born into the lower classes will almost always remain in this class, but in certain cases due to free education and family sacrifice children can be placed into private education or English classes that progress them into further levels of education. This is where free assistance within the public school system can really provide a fighting chance for those of lower classes.

PMGY Costa Rica is happy to provide assistance and lessons for the teachers of Coronado. The best part about the programmes in Costa Rica is that each volunteer programme starts out with 1 week of Spanish classes to ensure you are able to apply yourself with the children and teachers! This especially helps during English lessons. Many teachers have studied with foreign educators, but do so in a University level meaning that even their English was developed at an older level. Volunteers have the chance to start educating the students as young as 6 years old in the public-school system just a five-minute walk from the Volunteer House.

Can I use PMGY's programme as part of a university placement?

It is certainly possible to use one of PMGY’s programmes as part of your university or college placement. Project staff can sign off any paperwork required by your course tutors. PMGY regularly receives medical, childcare, psychology and nursing placement students at our projects around the world and we have ties with some of the leading universities.


If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programmes could meet the placement requirements for your degree course then please message us. 

Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?

Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our UK team undergo an extensive routine when establishing our in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.

The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verified them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on-hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our UK team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions.

In emergency situations we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances.

When you join PMGY we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visa issues etc. Furthermore, our UK team are only ever a phone call away should you wish to discuss any aspect of your upcoming programme. When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive safety briefing during your orientation course by our local coordinators. We will go through everything from emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM card, something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. We will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.

All our local teams are experienced development professionals who have years of experience in hosting international volunteers. They are our representatives on the ground and will assist you 24/7 throughout your stay. Whether you need to call home, travel at the weekend or require urgent assistance – they are there to support you.

Typical day

The placement is in a nursery, primary and secondary education centre for children aged 3 – 18 years. The school’s focus is largely on family and cultural infusions within the Costa Rican curriculum. The school day starts around 8:00 am and ends mid-afternoon. The school offers students classes in Spanish, History, Biology, Maths and Reading. English is a class that very much needs that assistance of volunteers for activities, lessons and engagement.


Volunteers can plan to join the programme from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm assisting the teachers, engagement in physical education, helping with homework and preparing lessons for English classes. Class sizes are 20-30 students meaning that volunteer assistance is greatly appreciated! If you have creative ideas whether working in a nursery, primary or secondary education PMGY Costa Rica would love to have you! There are no skills or experience required to join this programme as long as you are a hard-working and proactive volunteer.

Free-time activities

In & Around Coronado

PMGY volunteer in Costa Rica participants are based in Coronado. This is a very popular suburb of San Jose and home to nearly 60,000 residents! It’s a small tico town with a very typical way of life. The city is set at the foot of Braulio Carrillo National Park, a virtually untouched location home to over 150 different species of animals. Coronado offers visitors an opportune ability to encounter both the city life and natural wonders of Costa Rica!


Coronado is famous for its neo-Gothic architecture. Right in the centre of the city lies the most beautiful cathedrals in Costa Rica, San Isidro de Coronado. Aside from the beauty of this location you can find yourself at a prime spot to take a boat tour through the rain forest, hike to the Locos por el Bosque cloudforest reserve, eat at Kaffa Café and visit the La Paz Waterfalls Gardens.


Our participants are situated in a great location to explore the local sites, from both the hip and historic cultural attractions and natural wonders, but also travel further afield with ease.

Coronado is located 10km from San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Take off after your morning Spanish lessons to visit for a cappuccino or fresh juice at the local cafe, hope on a bus to the San Jose for a movie at the cinema or even join a tour to Irazú Volcano. Be sure to plan out your time volunteering so you don’t miss some of the best attractions in San Jose including the National Museum, Plaza de la Cultura, the up and coming Escalante neighbourhood with cool bars and restaurants and the Spirogyra Butterfly Garden.


This suburb offers an extremely diverse atmosphere, perfect for any traveller!

Jaco Beach

The surf city! The year-round constant surf will be the perfect place to learn or enjoy the waves. The town is the closest to San José, making it perfect for a day or weekend escapade. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains where you can hike and explore for yourself or hop on an aerial tram to the top only to descend by zip-lines. You can easily rent a board or book a surf lesson to get wet, then enjoy cheap-but-delicious local meals or a more fine dining in one of the many international food restaurants.



In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level) or Spanish (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
Education Requirements
at High School/University level
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
You should be physically fit, as volunteering overseas can be quite strenuous. If you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas then these must be declared to us during your online application.
While the programmes only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish, we find that the ability to speak a good level of Spanish will greatly enhance your overall experience.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 14:00

What's Included

Services by Plan My Gap Year
Your fee includes both your registration fee and programme fees.

Your programme fee includes; accommodation, airport pickup (24 hours), in-country orientation, private transport to projects, 24 hour in-country support.

Your registration fee includes; 24 hour UK based support, comprehensive volunteer handbook, live pre-departure webinars, 100% financial protection, regular programme inspection.
Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport
You should arrive into Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (airport code SJO) on the selected Sunday start date. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The programme ends on the Saturday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.

During your time with PMGY in Costa Rica you will live in our Volunteer House located in Coronado, a suburb of San Jose. You will find restaurants, convenience stores, cafés, pubs and ATMs all within walking distance. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

The accommodation is comfortable with free Wi-Fi. Each room has single or bunk beds with up to 3 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with cupboard space and bed linens. Bathrooms are shared, but have a hot shower and western style toilet. 

 The house has a communal area for volunteers to hang out. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks to store any valuables in your own bags, but there is a safe in each room for shared storage. There will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any items they need to keep chilled in the kitchen. The Volunteer House has a laundry room on site to do all your own washing equipped with washers and dryers!

 Volunteers are a short walk from the centre of Coronado meaning that restaurants, supermarkets, cafes and projects are close by! The house is in a compound with 24-hour security and a digital keypad to open and close the front gates. This is to ensure that volunteers are safe. Meals are not provided so there are fully equipped kitchens to prepare all of your food within the house. This accommodation setup offers volunteers the unique experience of living with lots of other volunteers as well as an independent environment in this Latin American country.

 During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

Meals are not provided with PMGY Costa Rica, but there is a food truck that comes to the compound Monday-Friday packed with sandwiches, local meals, Caribbean dishes and yummy desserts. The food truck ensures that even if you aren’t the chef fellow volunteers may be, you can still eat well and feel full while learning Spanish or helping the kids at project! Meals are going to cost around $6 and if you like something specific you can even ask for them to bring it the next day.

Bedroom (Single) Dorm Room
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose. We assist you to find cheap flights to Costa Rica.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Costa Rica provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Costa Rica you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Costa Rica.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

The programme starts Sundays so you should arrive into Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (SJO) on this day.The programme ends on the Saturday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
6 weeks
8 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$287 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Plan My Gap Year will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Plan My Gap Year during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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We refund your fees if Plan My Gap Year cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Plan My Gap Year.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Teach English to Local Students

In the beautiful city of Coronado the communities are rapidly developing and due to this classrooms are exceeding manageable numbers.


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