Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Costa Rica

Would you like to volunteer abroad in Costa Rica? It’s a fantastic country full of exciting opportunities, and we think you’ll absolutely love it!

Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse and socially-diverse countries in the world. It’s warm and welcoming to everyone and its local wildlife and ecosystems are unlike anything else in the world. While it’s full of diverse cultures and ecosystems, there are communities still struggling with basic living needs.

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Madison Hopkins: Happiness Comes from Knowing You Impacted Another Individual

Madison Hopkins is from a small town in Massachusetts by the name of Plainville. She is currently a junior Biological Sciences major at Clemson University in South Carolina. At Clemson she is involved in a wide array of campus activities anywhere from tutoring local elementary school students to being an undergraduate teaching assistant. She is on the PR (personal relations) Team for her sorority, the Outreach Committee from Camp Kesem Clemson, and is also the secretary of AMSA (American Medical Student Association).

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Justin Chu: Reflections from Costa Rica

Justin Chu is a third year medical student at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. He was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio where he met and married his high school girlfriend. He enjoys outdoor activities as well as playing and watching sports.

y ISL experience in Costa Rica was valuable to me for many reasons. I got to put into practice the clinical skills I learned in my first year of medical school,

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Melissa Francois: The True Meaning of Pura Vida

Melissa Francois currently lives in the “Empire State,” New York. She received both her Bachelors of Science in Human Biology and Masters of Public Health from the University at Albany. In her free time she loves writing, arts & crafts, all things D-I-Y, traveling and learning new languages! She served on a Global Health team with ISL in 2015.

The summer after graduating college, I traveled to Costa Rica as a Global Health Volunteer with International Service Learning.

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Staff Spotlight: Dr. Sonia Hernández

We are featuring Dr. Sonia Hernández for our Staff Spotlight this week! We interviewed some of our team a few months ago so we could share with you a little bit about their lives. All of our staff are hardworking, passionate individuals who enjoy serving their communities and working with ISL volunteers, and they all have their own very unique stories. This is what we learned in our interview with the international director,

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Country Coordinator Spotlight: Gabriela Pérez, Costa Rica

Continuing with our Country Coordinator Spotlight series, this week we are featuring Gabriela Pérez, one of our country coordinators in Costa Rica! [See the Spotlight for our other Costa Rica country coordinator, Pouchi, here!] A couple months ago, we interviewed some of our country coordinators so we could share with you a little bit about their lives! All of our CCs are hardworking, passionate individuals who enjoy serving their communities and working with ISL volunteers,

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Tara Butler: Physical Therapy Internship in Costa Rica

Tara Butler is a student at Oklahoma State University, with her heart set on pediatric physical therapy. This past summer she served for four weeks at a home for orphaned children with disabilities in Costa Rica. Her internship with ISL sharpened her vocational direction, provided her with deep self-learning and was an enjoyable time of cross-cultural learning. We interviewed her to get some more details about her ISL Global Internship experience: 

What was the most meaningful part of your experience?

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Kelsey Kusch: Nicaragua & Costa Rica Reflection

Kelsey Kusch was a member of our Adrian College Global Health team this winter break and served in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Here is an entry from her day-to-day blog of her time with ISL.

Day 8 – Nicaragua

View of the city of Granada and volcano Mambacho

Today was the last day in Nicaragua and it sure was a memorable one. We did a canopy tour through a jungle in Granada,Read more »

9 Lives and Going The Extra Mile

Our recent #CR073115MUEDU-G team had an unexpected visitor during their stay in Costa Rica. An extremely sick kitten was dropped at the convent used for volunteer housing and our empathetic volunteers took him in to care for as their own.

They bathed the kitten, fed him, and took him to the veterinarian only to discover he was suffering from a respiratory problem as well as a severe eye disease that was slowly killing him.

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Sus Ojos: Costa Rica

Sus Ojos is the official ISL Vlog. We have been sending cameras all around the world with our volunteers in order to capture the ISL experience thru their eyes (hence the name Sus Ojos). For our debut, we are sharing a remix of a volunteer’s entire trip to Costa Rica.

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ISL Costa Rica: Making memories

Our day began quite hectic and chaotic filled with flight changes and exhaustion. However, as soon as we landed, the day got exponentially better. We met our group leader, Abdi, and the other three members of our ISL team. After quickly grabbing a bite to eat and exchanging currency, we left the airport to our home for the week – La casa de la Espiritualidad in Alajuela (a city just west of San José).

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Emily Jones: What ISL Volunteers Take Home

Emily Jones, ISL’s Essay Contest Winner, shares how her experience in Costa Rica affected her patient approach at home in Alabama:

My ISL Experience

In my ambition to become a physical therapist, I chose to volunteer with ISL because I felt the unique experience would help me become a stronger candidate for physical therapy school. Although there is no doubt that my trip to Costa Rica has done that, it has also rekindled my passion for helping people in need,

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Purdue University Hike for Humanity Update

Hello again from Team Purdue plus Cristina!

We are all home, safe and sound, and we would like to share our experiences from the second half of the trip, the Hike for Humanity portion. Our group, joined by Andrés Villalobos (ISL Team Leader) and Dr. Jack, Lisa Ann, Cathy, and Mary Beth (the new volunteer members), left for Talamanca bright and early on January 5, and travelled for most of the day to our base camp.

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Purdue University Rings in the New Year in Costa Rica

Hello from Team Purdue (plus Cristina)!! We just brought in the New Year in the best way possible and we thought we should reflect on the amazing trip we’ve had so far.

We arrived at the airport at about 1 in the morning, but that did not put a damper on our enthusiasm and Abdi, our team leader, was still as excited as ever. We immediately went to the hotel to rest for our first day of orientation.

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Hike for Humanity: A Day on the Hike

Hike for Humanity is a very special ISL program which provides health services to communities of indigenous populations. H4H is an exciting and rewarding experience because we bring health services into communities which, due to difficult geographical access, have been denied those services in the past.

Our adventure begins in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, where we pack all of our luggage, medicines, and medical supplies onto a bus and drive to the Caribbean province of Limon on the Telire river.

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Jennifer Wootton: Costa Rica Reflection

During the summer of 2013 I had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and work with a wonderful team of individuals whose mission was and still is to grow and learn through helping those who are less fortunate. Little did I know that I was the one who would be transformed by the whole experience.  As we visited the people of La Carpio and Fraijanes, we were able to provide medical care and treatment for many and in doing so,

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Jennifer Lamb: Physical Therapy in Costa Rica

I cannot believe I have been able to gain so much experience as a physical therapist and I could not ask for better people to experience this with. With only 8 girls, we were able to get to know each other and become close friends. For the first 3 days we assisted the PT team at Santiago Crespo Calvo Nursing Home and learned how to use the equipment and got a crash course in Spanish.

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