Youth in Development Volunteers will work in the following general project goals :
1) Promoting Healthy Foundations (including life skills and leadership; sexual and reproductive health, gender, and arts, sports and recreation)
2) Strengthening Youth Support (including parent and service providers support for youth).
All assignments have a strong focus on preventative activities, empowering youth through education, community based activities and furthering children’s rights.
Most Volunteers will work with individuals (children, youth and parents), service providers (teachers, guidance counselors, community leaders, health providers, and other professionals in the public system), and organizations (elementary schools, high schools, local development associations, and youth groups, etc.).
Volunteers are assigned to work in communities identified by our host country agencies (the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) and other government institutions) prioritizing underdeveloped and under-
served communities and at-risk populations.
All Youth Development Volunteers will perform a participatory community diagnosis to assess community resources and needs during the first months of service.
Based on that analysis and partner’s requests each Volunteer will create his / her work plan in collaboration with professionals and community leaders.
Youth in Development Volunteers typically support ongoing youth-oriented programs in schools and the community, bringing new ideas, approaches and / or techniques to those spaces.
Volunteers also lead the creation of new youth-oriented prevention programs coordinating with and including partners for sustainability.
Volunteers must be prepared to be proactive, self-driven and to motivate others about the importance of working with and towards youth development.
Volunteers will coordinate their work with staff members of local elementary and high schools (teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, psychologists, etc.
and / or leaders who are implementing youth development work in the community. Each Volunteer typically works in two public schools.
Volunteers are responsible for coordinating their work schedule with the institutions with whom they are collaborating and according to the projects identified in the Work Plan.
Volunteers are expected to work full time to address community’s and partners’ needs; weekly schedules will vary and might include working weekends.
Common projects implemented by Youth in Development Volunteers alongside project partners include but are not limited to : life skills workshops during school hours, leadership camps, sports clubs, art clubs, youth groups, community-
wide recreation activities (organizing movie nights, talent shows, sports days), bullying prevention activities, service learning initiatives, supporting the Ministry of Education sexual education program, Restorative Practices and Positive Discipline training for teachers, parents and youth, parent support groups & workshops, etc.
Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working with Youth in Development and one or more of the following criteria :
Youth in Development Volunteers should be self-driven, proactive, resilient professionals, who are capable to manage (plan, execute & evaluate) youth development projects with remote supervision.
Strong interpersonal skills and people skills are critical to be successful in the implementation of the Youth Development Project.
Competitive candidates will have will have an academic background and / or professional experience in Social Work / Psychology / Health Education / Youth Development and, at least two years experience working with youth in the following :
school program management, tutoring program management, AmeriCorps experience, high school or university level service learning programs, volunteer management etc.)
economic environments, and on topics such as school dropout and substance abuse prevention are preferred)
Required Language Skills
Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.
A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native / fluent speaker of Spanish
Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency.
Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).
Peace Corps / Costa Rica encourages applicants to continue actively studying Spanish in order to best prepare them for their service and for the intensive language training they will receive in Costa Rica.
You are expected to reach a level of Intermediate-High language proficiency by the end of the 12-week pre-service training period in order to Swear In as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Reaching this level can be difficult for trainees with lower levels of Spanish. We strongly recommend interested candidates who are not native or advanced Spanish speakers to engage in language learning activities before coming to country.
All Volunteers are required to live with a host family for the first nine months in country (3 months during pre-service training and 6 months in their community of assignment).
Although living with a family can have certain challenges (lack of privacy, limited control and choice over diet, noise, etc.
it also has multiple rewards including better community integration, a sense of security, increased language skills, friendship, cultural exchange, and gaining a unique understanding of the Costa Rican culture.
It is important that applicants think carefully about the commitment to live with a Costa Rican host family in humble / basic and sometimes cramped living conditions.
Costa Rican culture is strongly family-oriented and families often expect Volunteers to integrate into and respect their existing family environments.
After the initial six months in the Volunteer’s community of assignment Volunteers are eligible to live independently if they receive approval by Program Managers and can identify a living situation in the community that meets Peace Corps’ housing criteria.
Some communities do not have a live-alone option and Volunteers must be open to the possibility of living with a host family during their entire service.
Most Costa Ricans take great pride in being neat, clean, and well-groomed even on informal occasions. Volunteers should follow the example of Costa Ricans at their worksites and in their communities (e.
g., clean and ironed clothes, polished shoes, and groomed hair). Frequent coordination with government agencies, schools and other professionals require that Volunteers demonstrate a professional attitude and appearance at all times.
Given the fact that Volunteers are assigned to work in the public school system they have to abide by the dress code and policies set by each institution, which tend to be conservative.
Volunteers should come prepared to use a business casual dress code while working.
Community Location & Physical Hardship
Volunteers are placed in a variety of communities that vary in size and geographical characteristics, from remote, rural indigenous communities to semi-
rural resource-poor and access-limited towns, to small peripheral cities. Most Volunteers will be working in rural communities or small towns with limited resources, where their support is needed the most.
Some communities can be physically challenging with mountainous terrain, rocky unpaved roads, extensive mud in the rainy season, and water shortages in the dry season.
Communities often have high levels of heat / humidity. Some communities might have limited access to electricity. Most Volunteer communities are accessible to the capital within two to eight hours by public transportation.
Some communities will have limited transportation options.
Communications & Telephone
Land line and / or cellphones services cover the majority of the country. Most Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) have access to a landline phone either at an educational institution or in the host family’s house.
Internet service is not available in all communities and cellular phone service may be limited. Trainees and Volunteers are required to have a local phone number.
Peace Corps does not purchase cell phones for Volunteers and encourages them to bring an "unlocked" cell phones from the U.
S., while some Volunteers chose to purchase cell phones in Costa Rica.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in : Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety including in order to make a well-
informed decision about serving.
Costa Rica is happy to accommodate couples. We will identify communities with sufficient work opportunities for both volunteers.
Therefore, your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions :
During the 11.5 weeks of Pre-Serving Training couples that come into the program with different levels of Spanish may be separated during the week for Spanish classes, but will live with the same host family.
After Pre-Serving Training, couples will live together at their permanent site. Couples may work at the same school or work at different schools serving the same community.
As with all Volunteers couples are required to live with a host family for the first nine months in country (3 months during pre-
service training and 6 months in their community of assignment).
After an initial six months in your assigned community, volunteers are eligible to live independently if they receive approval by Program Managers and can identify a living situation in the community that meets Peace Corps’ housing criteria.
Some communities do not have a live-alone option and all Volunteers, including couples, must be open to the possibility to living with a host family during their entire course of service.
Medical Considerations in Costa Rica