PMGY’s Costa Rica volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. The learn Spanish in Costa Rica language program is a core aspect of this. Spanish classes will be tailored to your ability, whether you are a complete beginner or an intermediate looking to improve. The classroom will be a fun environment that provides you with lessons that are Instituto Cervantes Accredited. For this reason, we recognise this language program as the best place to learn Spanish in Costa Rica.
SPANISH LANGUAGE PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
LEARN SPANISH USING MODERN COMMUNICATIVE METHODS
DEVELOP YOUR SPANISH IN ONE OF THE FIRST SPANISH SCHOOLS IN COSTA RICA
VENTURE INTO THE CITY OF CORONADO TO PRACTISE YOUR SPANISH WITH THE LOCALS
ENJOY THE LOCAL CULTURE WITH AFTERNOON VISITS TO VOLCANOES & MUSEUMS
ONE WEEK FOUNDATION OF SPANISH LANGUAGE CLASSES INCLUDED
BACKGROUND TO THE SPANISH PROGRAM
There are thought to be close to 500 million Spanish-speakers throughout the world. This represents close to 20% of the entire world. More specifically, 418 million people speak Spanish as their official language across the Americas. Thus what better place to be other than Latin America to improve your Spanish?
Located in Central America, Costa Rica is one of twenty-one Spanish speaking countries in the world. This small country is home to nearly 5.5 million residents and welcomes more than 2 million tourists each year! Joining a country with the native language you wish to learn will provide you with a better understanding of the dialect, verbiage and grammar.
In addition to this, you will learn on the ground the appropriate times to use specific tenses and gestures. Should you combine your time in Costa Rica into a learn Spanish and volunteer program, then the Spanish immersion program will provide you with words that can’t be taught in a classroom abroad. This is more commonly referred to as picking up the local slang! Understanding the local dialogues will provide great support for volunteering projects.
BENEFITS OF LEARNING SPANISH
Learning any new language will open many doors for you. The benefits of learning Spanish are plentiful. Most noteworthy, being fluent in Spanish increases your chances of being able to work anywhere in the world. Similarly, it will allow for new cultures and experiences to be explored.
Spanish is recognised as one of the best languages to learn for travel; particularly if you are travelling in Latin America. Developing your Spanish will allow you to become a better-equipped traveller/volunteer. Furthermore, learning Spanish will enrich your own personal experiences and allow you to meet even more people.
In addition to this, learning Spanish will make you more employable. After all, it is the second most spoken language in the world. Other benefits of learning Spanish will see a world of art, literature and pop culture open up to you. If you choose to learn Spanish in Costa Rica, you will get to experience first-hand the rich Hispanic culture.
Spanish is also recognised as being one of the easiest languages to learn. Choosing to learn Spanish in Costa Rica, will certainly quicken up the process of developing your fluency in the Spanish language. Should you join us on the Real South America Encounter, you will have the chance to also learn Spanish in Ecuador and Peru. Similar to Costa Rica, both these destinations originate with Spanish Schools where volunteers can complete learn Spanish abroad projects.
PMGY SPANISH SCHOOL
PMGY Costa Rica is proud to be one of the first Spanish schools in Costa Rica. More specifically, the institution is one of the first in Coronado, a suburb of San Jose. This makes us a little biased to recognise the school as the best place to learn Spanish in Costa Rica!
The lessons provided by PMGY Costa Rica are recognized and accredited by the Instituto Cervantes. The school hosts group and independent classes using communicative methods following the Common European Framework standard. Whether in a small group of as many as 6 or learning independently, you will have a teacher that is personalised to your level of Spanish. This will enable you to be in the best place to learn Spanish in Costa Rica.
This teacher will instruct you in a classroom setting. You will also venture out into the city of Coronado to markets, venues and popular areas where locals hang out. Students learn the underlying theory from a functional and grammatical standpoint.
The belief of the school is that students should practise grammar by using it regularly. The teacher will explain and expand on what rules to apply while speaking. This time in Coronado is to help you gain confidence in communicating with native speakers. Furthermore, it will also introduce you to a side of the country you may not see as a tourist.
The time in class will be 3-4 hours each morning. In addition to this, there are also cultural activities to get involved in during the afternoon. Activities include salsa classes, Costa Rican fruit tasting and visits to museums. More adventurous activities extend to hiking in the Coronado cloud forest, trips to volcanoes and coffee tasting!
Such activities usually run a couple of times each week and change on a weekly basis to keep the variety. Some of the activities may have small fees associated with them for logistics and materials. Other excursions can cost anywhere between 20-60 USD, depending on entrance fees and transportation. In addition, the activities usually require a minimum number sign up to ensure they run. The best part of these activities is that you are interacting with your peers and other Spanish speaking locals. Such an experience allows volunteers to learn Spanish and the culture of this beautiful country.
This program is available for those with no experience with the Spanish language. In contrast, the program is also available all the way up to a C2 level. More specifically, for those who are hoping to advance their ability to communicate on a culturally appropriate level. There are open opportunities for all volunteers to join these courses. The hours for any private classes can be tailored to the liking of the volunteer.
Group classes will be 2-6 volunteers for 3-4 hours of the day Monday-Friday. These hours will be appointed at orientation. The level volunteers are placed in will be established by a placement test on your first morning. Don’t worry, the test is relaxed and simple! In cases where a participant is the only one at their level, a participant may partake in 15 private lessons per-week instead. Each lesson lasts 50 minutes.
YOUR ROLE & TYPICAL STUDY DAY
The program has no formal volunteering and is centred around learning Spanish. Thus participants are encouraged to demonstrate lots of enthusiasm and learning ability when completing the learn Spanish in Costa Rica program. The time spent in the classroom will be 3-4 hours per day Monday-Friday studying Spanish.
Cultural activities will be hosted in the afternoons such as cuisine night and salsa dancing. These activities usually take place twice a week. Participants are encouraged to get involved in such activities. For the reason that such activities provide a further mechanism to improve and reinforce Spanish learning. The Spanish school is located adjacent to the volunteer accommodation. As a result, participants only have a short 1 minute walk to the classroom.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN LEARNING SPANISH IN COSTA RICA
Spanish Requirements - For our volunteer programs in Latin America, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. Generally speaking, the programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, the more you learn Spanish in Costa Rica, the more you will take from the program.
We find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.
This program is available to join as an individual program in order to help learn Spanish. All volunteer in Costa Rica participants joining our regular volunteer placements will get involved in this program for their first week. This provides everyone with 20 lessons per-week of group Spanish lessons and some optional afternoon cultural and social activities. In cases where a participant is the only one at their level, a participant may partake in 15 private lessons per-week instead. Each lesson lasts 50 minutes.
Prior to your arrival, you will receive an email request to take a Spanish Proficiency level form. The form is quick and used by the local team to prepare your classes upon arrival.
PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Zoom and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.
Should volunteers wish to continue their language classes around their volunteer work in Costa Rica schedule then this is usually fine to do so. This can be discussed and arranged in-country with the local team. Alternatively, should you not have volunteer work, then you are welcome to use your free time to explore as you wish.
Weekends - Your project work in Costa Rica runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Costa Rica Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend.
CHOOSING A TRIP
Can people from outside of the UK or USA participate with PMGY?
Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of participants from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries participants have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.
Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other organisations?
The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.
Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. Therefore, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time learning Spanish. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our participants really appreciate.
Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.
What are the requirements to learn Spanish in Costa Rica?
PMGY welcomes learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 and there is no upper age limit.
We find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. Therefore, choosing to learn Spanish will provide great foundations to your overall Costa Rica experience.
As a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant, you must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of learning Spanish with us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.
Learning Spanish overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, 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. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.
What date should I arrive and leave the Costa Rica learn Spanish program?
For your trip to Costa Rica, you should book your flights to Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose on the Sunday start date. The airport code is SJO. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team 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 program ends on the Saturday of your final week. Therefore, you must depart the accommodation on this day.
When is the best time of year to learn Spanish in Costa Rica?
Feedback from previous learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants often suggests that it is best to join a PMGY project outside the European summer months. This is since June-August tends to be when we have peak numbers at each of our projects and accommodations. Conversely, outside of these months, there is typically the greatest opportunity to become fully immersed in the project and within the local community.
Are there any age restrictions to learn Spanish in Costa Rica?
In order to join as a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant, you need to be at least 18 on the program start date. Typically in Costa Rica we find 90% of PMGY volunteers are aged between 18-22 years old.
There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome participants of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 18-22 age range.
When should I apply to be a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant?
For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.
Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will not incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 60 days prior to your start date.
What duration would you recommend to learn Spanish for?
Based on feedback from previous learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants, we believe that 4-6 weeks is the ideal amount of time to learn Spanish in Costa Rica. Consequently, this means you have enough time to integrate into the local community and really get involved in a project. For one thing, you will be able to make a positive impact on community development. Additionally, you will have a greater opportunity to explore during your weekends. Learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants who join us for 2 weeks frequently tell us that this was long enough and wish they had stayed for longer!
While our programs are available for a long duration and we’d love for people to join us for longer periods of time, we only allow people to initially sign up for a maximum of 6 weeks. In the past, we have had volunteers commit to longer periods and then prefer to shorten it in order to do independent travel or switch to a different program. Therefore, we recognise that a degree of flexibility is best applied as program fees are nonrefundable once committed. Once you have arrived and find that you are really enjoying the program, you would be more than welcome to extend your placement. This is subject to availability at the time of extension.
Can I learn Spanish abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?
You’re more than welcome to travel and learn Spanish with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and learn Spanish together. However, please note the majority of our accommodation is on a single-sex basis. Consequently, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to be placed in the same room.
Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, volunteer safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our volunteer programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.
The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international volunteers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist volunteers 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.
When you join as a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international participants to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.
When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general learn Spanish program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
Although we cannot guarantee your learn Spanish experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.
When do I pay for my learn Spanish program? Can I pay in instalments?
In order to confirm your place as a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant, you need to pay a deposit of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge. If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Payments made in advance of the 45 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.
Can I use the program as part of a university or college placement?
It is certainly possible to be a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that your time as a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements.
First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant has confirmed their place on the program. Additionally, project staff in Costa Rica can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. PMGY regularly receives medical, nursing, childcare and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.
BEFORE YOU DEPART
Can I fundraise for my learn Spanish trip?
With PMGY, the money paid by Spanish learner participants goes towards the structure you receive on the Costa Rica program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.
We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY learn Spanish participants decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants set up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.
PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for participants to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.
Can I raise money for the projects?
The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an ongoing basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore together, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.
If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. For learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants looking for further information on how to raise money for their trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.
How do I register for your online webinars?
Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.
For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of learning Spanish abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.
For learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants who have already confirmed their learning Spanish role on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.
Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.
Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.
Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.
Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my learn Spanish program?
It is possible that as a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your learn Spanish program in Costa Rica. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights to learn Spanish in Costa Rica?
When you apply to be a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once confirmed as a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.
After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.
We have partnered up with the insurance company battleface to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.
How do I obtain a background check?
To become a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check that must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the participants we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.
If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.
If you don’t have a valid DBS check, then you will need to apply for one. UK participants need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a DBS check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place as a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant.
For learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants from the US, you can apply for a background check through Sentry Link. It costs 19.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.
For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.
When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?
All learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.
This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare as a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Zoom, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!
ON YOUR TRIP
Can I arrange a private room?
All of our accommodation options for Costa Rica learn Spanish program involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for the learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
During your volunteer trip to Costa Rica, meals are not included. However, the shared apartments will be equipped with a kitchen including all the appliances and items needed. As a result, you will be able to prepare your own meals. It is your responsibility to manage your own dietary requirements when doing so.
Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?
We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our participants to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide learn Spanish in Costa Rica participants with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.
What is the dress code at the projects?
Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask learn Spanish participants to adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival in Costa Rica.
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our participants, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.
How much spending money will I need?
The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 100-150 USD per week a suitable amount.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time! Most of our programs have been designed so that you have weekends off. Therefore, this gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the weekend opportunities and travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures. During your time as a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant, you are sure to make some travel buddies along the way!
Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates either side of your learning Spanish placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to learn Spanish in. However, if you plan to travel extensively, please factor this into your flight itinerary. This is since we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re learning Spanish, as you have made a commitment as a learn Spanish in Costa Rica participant.
During your time on the Costa Rica volunteer programs you will live in our Volunteer House. This is 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 and comes with free Wi-Fi. Each room has single 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 shower and western-style toilet.
The house has a communal area for international volunteers to hang out after completing volunteer work in Costa Rica. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks to store any valuables in your own bags. However, there is a safe in each room for shared storage should you wish to use this. In addition, there will be fridge space available for volunteers to store any chilled items. The Volunteer House has a laundry room on-site. Consequently, you can do all your own washing equipped with washers and dryers!
Volunteers are a short walk from the centre of Coronado. As a result, many restaurants, supermarkets and volunteer projects are nearby! The residence accommodation is in a compound that comes with 24 hour security. Moreover, there is a digital keypad to open and close the front gates. This is to ensure that volunteers are safe. There are fully equipped kitchens to prepare all of your food within the house. To sum up, the volunteer accommodation setup offers volunteers a unique experience. That is, you get the opportunity to live with other volunteers as well as an independent living environment.
During your volunteer trip to Costa Rica, meals are not included. Local supermarkets are within walking distance of the volunteer accommodation. On the weekends, there is a local farmers market that volunteers love to visit. This is located just a few blocks from the Volunteer House. If everyone prepares meals together and contributes for ingredients, you can expect to budget around 30 GBP per week for food.
From time to time, the Spanish school will host a cuisine night to teach you how to make Costa Rican dishes. You will just have to contribute to purchasing the ingredients, about 4-5 GBP. Your dinner will be some of the best-prepared food. Who needs to go to a restaurant when you can try your very own Latin American cuisine!
Average meals purchased at local restaurants will be around the 4 GBP mark. Foreign restaurants will be closer to 10 GBP. You can also get food delivered to the school through UberEats.
* These fees apply to each individual application.
In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your Registration Fee will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated for an admin fee of 60 USD. Please note any changes will be subject to availability.
If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.
OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME - 45 USD
PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers in Costa Rica works as follows -
🇰🇪 Kenya - 51 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to Costa Rica and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.
🇮🇳 India - 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don't have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.
🇺🇸 USA - 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.
This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date. The offset platform is provided by our charity, the PMGY Foundation and ensures that 100% of contributions are put towards high impact projects around the world.
Hello! I’m starting my program at Costa Rica on 3rd of March, but was thinking about coming a couple day earlier to adjust to time zone difference. Would you say staying in San Jose for couple of night would be safe enough option for a solo female traveler?
If you could possibly give me an advice on good area as well, I’d be beyond greatfull:)