Retirement volunteer work in Costa Rica

International volunteer work is rewarding. It’s an opportunity to give back and help others. Plus, you make new friends, learn about a different culture and get out of the house through the process. Older adults who volunteer report higher levels of well-being. Some studies indicate those that volunteer live longer than those who lead more sedentary lives.

Global Volunteers offers retirement volunteer work worldwide: in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, North America, South America and the South Pacific. Our volunteers return home with a sense of purpose. Costa Rica Global Volunteer Craig reflects on his 2 weeks of service:

I retired from teaching last year. I was looking forward to the change and the new adventures retirement might hold. I went on a cruise during the fall, and that was great. I was able to visit a variety of places. However, it wasn’t quite the experience I was looking for. A friend had told me about Global Volunteers so I went to the website and found an opportunity to volunteer in Costa Rica – the primary focus on garden projects and conversational English. I had thought about getting an ESL certificate to teach overseas. But this trip to Costa Rica seemed like a good way to get the classroom experience along with living in a town for two weeks. So I applied.

The volunteer experience in Santa Elena Monteverde was incredible. I had no preconceived expectations but was hoping to enjoy it. Not only did I enjoy it, I loved being of service and being a part of a group of people who felt the same way. But the best part was the welcoming  inclusion of our group into the high school community where we worked every day. The teachers, administration and especially the students were genuinely happy to have us there and helped us to acclimate quickly to the work and the culture of the school.

Retirement volunteer work - Teach English in Costa Rica

Volunteer Craig teaching some students

Our team leader, Maggie, was so well organized and well respected at the school and that made our jobs easier and more productive. The students were friendly and many wanted to practice their English with us so they initiated conversation and participated in discussions – as well as helping us with our Spanish. By the end of the first week, I felt at home at the school and looked forward to the second week.

In the classrooms, I loved being the volunteer. It was an opportunity to sit and watch another teacher teach and observe how the kids learned. We were asked to do a variety tasks from small group discussion, playing games, leading activities and helping with writing/homework. I now have a new perspective on attitudes of teenagers. They were so respectful and willing to share about their lives. Working in the gardens together also allowed the students to show their leadership skills as they would teach us what needed to be done, how to use certain tools and how to participate and work effectively as a group.

I guess I had not so much expected as hoped for a nice experience. What I came away with was a sense of purpose and the realization that we can be part of a process of growth and development. No, we didn’t get to “finish” projects as such, but we helped get them started and could see how the students would complete them after we left. The sense that something we did would last was amazing and the connections made in conversation, when a student’s face would light up with understanding or knowing that what they thought and felt had relevance and meaning, was more than I could have ever hoped for.

I found out what I want to do with my retirement: volunteer work. Global Volunteers offers an incredible range of countries and opportunities. I want to try as many as I can. They make it easy, safe and truly help us to be able to give and serve and learn.

Retirement volunteer work - Volunteer in Costa Rica

Volunteer Craig with two of his students


Retirement Volunteer Work Worldwide

We engage people of all ages and from all walks of life on our volunteer programs. You’ll find boomers, seniors, gen-x’ers and millennials all uniting in a common vision of global possibility. Contact us to learn more about our worldwide volunteer opportunities.

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