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Childcare, Education and Social Work Internships

San Jose, Costa Rica

Agency | GoEco

Gain practical experience in the field of social work by helping at-risk and impoverished youth and working to improve educational institutions.

While Costa Rica is known for its very high literacy rate and continually ranks on various top travel destination lists, it also has impoverished and at-risk communities. In and around the city of San José, we have selected several well-established programs for our interns that aim to uplift and provide support for these communities. Whether you want to improve conditions for children coming from low-income homes or contribute to the public education system, this internship will provide you with a deeper understanding of underserved communities of Costa Rica.

About the location

Costa Rica is a country that is famous for its lush tropical rainforests and sprawling beaches.  It is a top destination for ecotourism and many flock to the country to discover its fascinating animal and plant life.  San José, the capital, is home to nearly half of the country’s population and an array of historical museums. The food, culture, customs and crafts found in Costa Rica are a reflection of the various influences from Native Americans, Spaniards and Africans.  

About the projects

Interns will have an opportunity to choose from several different placement options in the fields of community development, child welfare or education. Each of the placements will be very demanding, but the work and contribution that interns can make is invaluable. This internship is designed to provide interns with both the practical and professional experience needed for a career in social work or a related field.  To ensure the best possible experience, interns will have weekly meetings with their supervisors, as well as a final evaluation of the intern’s performance.

Casa de los Niños:  Comedor de Tirrases: This project provides daily meals to children of low-income communities, while simultaneously offering much needed academic and psychological support to ensure that the children remain in school. The project also initiates community development activities and specialized workshops for the mothers in the community.
Interns must be high school or college graduates with significant experience in social work.

Fundación Ana Frank:  This project functions as a daycare center for children that come from low-income families.  It also offers community development lectures and workshops for parents and community members.
Interns must be high school or college graduates with significant experience in social work.

Public Schools: Interns can work in a number of capacities at public schools, as well as special education schools. Depending on their skills, interns can opt to work directly with students, as assistant teachers, getting involved in various educational activities in and outside the classroom.

PANI (National Children´s Trust): The National Children’s Trust is the governing body responsible for policies for children and adolescents, implementing plans, programs and projects to promote and guarantee the rights and the integral development of minors and their families, as part of the doctrine of comprehensive protection, with the participation of state institutions and other social actors. Interns can work in a shelter for children or a shelter for teenaged girls, assisting social workers and other staff. 

Orientation and Spanish Course (included)
The first week of this minimum five-week program consists of Spanish lessons (four days total) and cultural enrichment activities to facilitate communication at your project and help you acclimate to Costa Rica. During the Spanish course, you will learn vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and conversational skills.  Participation in the orientation week is mandatory.  
On the first day of your Spanish course, you will take an oral exam to determine your current language level. After you register and submit your application, you will also submit a written exam. Both the oral and written exam will be taken into consideration to determine which class you will placed in upon arrival.  During your orientation week, you'll also learn all about your designated project and you'll have a chance to visit the project's facilities. 

A typical day during orientation: Spanish class begins at 9am, with a one hour break for lunch at noon and then finishing for the day at about 3pm. You will then have the chance to join different cultural enrichment activities such as Latin dance classes, Costa Rican cooking courses, yoga lessons or informal Spanish conversation practice. After 5pm, you will have the evenings free to explore the area with fellow volunteers, study or relax at home.

If you speak basic or no Spanish, you'll need to enroll in extra Spanish lessons. Cost: US$380 per week. 

If you speak fluent Spanish before coming to the project, an exception may be made to waive the language course (though it is highly recommended in order to have the most fulfilling experience). Your fluency will be determined by your written exam and during your phone interview. Please contact GoEco to discuss this option prior to registration.

Typical day

A typical day: You can expect to take a public bus from your homestay to arrive at your project location at 8:00 am.  Your tasks will vary depending on your placement, so it is vital that you are flexible and willing to help the staff with whatever tasks need to be done. Generally you leave your project around 4:00 pm.

Details on Arrival

Holidays: Day care centers close for a short break from Christmas to New Year. Community Development programs are open year round, including holidays. School programs teaching English will be unavailable during the following school breaks in 2017:

  • July 3 - July 14
  • April 10 - April 14
  • Mid December - Mid February (exact dates to be confirmed before the start of the 2017-2018 school year)

Free-time activities

Costa Rica is a diverse country with activities to suit anyone’s interests. Visit one of the famous volcanoes, see the country’s wildlife in the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast, or the Tortuguero Canals on the Caribbean side, or enjoy a hike through the Costa Rican forests.  Adventure seekers will find plenty of activities to keep them busy including surfing, white water rafting, zip-lining through the treetops, and more.

Water Sports

Program Requirements

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).
Language Skills
You need to speak Spanish (intermediate level)
Criminal Background Check
Education Requirements
Social Work, Education at High school, Graduate or university level
Required Documents
A detailed CV, including educational background, experience, skills, and current Spanish level, must be submitted and reviewed before acceptance to the program and A motivational letter indicating internship expectations
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
You must have an intermediate level of Spanish. If not, you should be prepared to enroll in additional weeks of Spanish lessons.
Written Spanish exam must be completed and emailed prior to arrival (oral evaluation will be done on the first day of internship).
There will be a phone interview with each applicant.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 16:00

Suitable for


Any questions? Just ask. We at GoEco are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation

Included Services

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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by GoEco.
Services by GoEco

What's included:

  • Accommodation
  • Food: breakfast and dinner
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure day
  • Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
  • One-week orientation in San Jose including cultural enrichment activities and Spanish courses
  • Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport

Airport transfer provided on arrival and departure day


You will live with a host family in San José who will provide you with a comfortable, basic, private room in their home, which is a short bus ride away from the language school.

Guest Family
Food & Beverages

Your host family will provide breakfast and dinner every day.

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.
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.
Costs (Prices in USD)
5 weeks (min. stay)
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
9 weeks
10 weeks
11 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in San Jose/Costa Rica between 5 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. GoEco will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Costa Rica.
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 GoEco during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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