Details & Itinerary
Spanish Immersion, welcoming homestay families, community-driven service projects, and adrenaline pumping adventure…this trip has it all! Over the course of three weeks, practice Spanish and learn cultural norms and customs through immersive homestays and community service projects. Explore the incredible geographic diversity of Costa Rica while on an overnight rafting trip, helping with reforestation efforts in the cloud forest, and at a surf camp on the Pacific Coast.
Our trip begins in a San Jose Central Valley area Bed and Breakfast, where students get to know one another, establish both personal and group goals, and begin the Global Works Leadership curriculum, specifically designed for this program. Activities include team building exercises, visiting a sustainable coffee farm, and getting out of our comfort zone with an overnight rafting trip on the Pacuare River. We also participate in some informal Spanish games and lessons, so please come with a desire to use your Spanish!
On Day 5, we travel to work with local park rangers in one of Costa Rica’s alluring cloudforests. A challenging, but equally rewarding, hike brings us to a comfortable eco-lodge, our home for the next several days. Time is spent on a combination of environmental projects, such as trail maintenance, bridge repair, and reforestation efforts, day hikes to waterfalls and night hikes to view wildlife. If the weather cooperates, we may have a spectacular view of the active volcano, Arenal, and adjacent Lake Arenal. It is very common to spot monkeys, anteaters, parrots,coatimundis, and dart frogs in the cloud forest! Students are divided into task forces to complete projects, take responsibility of trip discussions and reflection activities, and coordinate the schedule for the upcoming homestays.
After our stay in the cloud forest, we journey to our homestay community in the Central Valley. Global Works Ambassadors are assigned each day to collaborate with the local project leaders, communicate plans with the group, and conduct evening activities with the our host families. Students practice skills such as public speaking, interpersonal communication, problem solving, conflict resolution, and teamwork.
Community service projects are planned in coordination with local leadership and may include: pouring the foundation for a community center, planting organic school gardens, painting and tiling a community kitchen, constructing a plant nursery, teaching English lessons, or completing a sidewalk around the town square. One of our most popular projects is prepping and leading a “Día de Actividades” – an event for the entire community that includes field day competitions, art workshops, music, games, and more! We spend our afternoons and evenings joining in the daily lives of community members playing soccer games, learning to prepare local specialty dishes, and participating in a traditional game and dance night. One afternoon, we take off to explore the rainforest via a Zip-Line canopy tour!
Please see The Homestay Experience for more details on how we select our homestay communities and families and the value of participating in a homestay program!
Time to hit the beach! We travel to the Pacific Coast, famous for its unique combination of rainforest and ocean settings. For two days, we challenge ourselves with surf or stand-up paddle board lessons, taught by professional instructors. The wave conditions on this beach provide the perfect opportunity for all levels to hang ten!
The trip back to San Jose gives us time to share our memories before we fly home. We have a celebratory dinner and awards ceremony at an authentic, local restaurant to reflect upon our last three weeks together. We know we will never forget the beaches, rivers, surf, rainforest, mountains, and- most importantly- the people we have met!
The Global Works chaperoned Group Flight departs from Houston (IAH) for this program. Airfare is not included the tuition. Once enrolled, Global Works can help participants maximize their cost savings on connecting flights to the departure airport. Please visit Flights & Travel Arrangements for more information.
Adventure & Cultural Activities
Global Works Costa Rica participant spends the first and final days of the program in a small and comfortable lodge located in the mountains surrounding the capital of San Jose. The lodge is locally owned and specializes in hosting student groups. It is dorm style with 4 to 6 students sleeping in bunk beds; each room has a private bathroom with hot water showers. Large group spaces located on the property are an ideal spot for group orientation, dance lessons, and ice-breaker activities.
Our two cloudforest lodges are located within the boundary of the largest private reserve in the country, The Children’s Eternal Rainforest. To reach the lodges, students complete an attainable hike through primary cloud forest and are rewarded with rustic yet comfortable eco-lodges built to exist in harmony with the natural surroundings. Both lodges offer large rooms with bunk-beds and private bathrooms. A large balcony affords expansive views of surrounding volcanoes and the hammocks provide an unbeatable spot to sip coffee and relax after a long day of service work.
Global Works has longstanding relationships with the communities where we place students and complete our service projects. Communities and homestay families are carefully selected and have hosted Global Works students in the past. The rural communities are located in the mountainous interior of the country and commonly consist of between 20-25 families, a community center, and a small store. All homes where students are housed are within walking distance of one another and close to the project worksite. Homes are humble in nature, typically constructed of concrete blocks or wood and are very clean and inviting. Students will have a private room within the home and the room is shared between two Global Works students. All homes have bathrooms complete with a flush toilet and a shower. Meals are prepared by the homestay families and families are trained in proper food preparation and food handling.
PACIFIC COAST SURF-CAMP
Surf and Service participants stay at an eco-lodge in southern Costa Rica built at the edge of the jungle and the beach surrounded by a spectacular wildlife refuge. Accommodations are roomy cabins shared by four to five students and the lodge is styled with an onsite swimming pool, hammocks, common areas, and outdoor palapa style eating areas.