Immerse yourself in the Costa Rican wilderness and culture to learn about sustainable conservation work and community adaptation to climate change. Take the opportunity to step away from your screen and do hands-on service supporting environmental conservation.

Limited enrollment - apply now to save your spot!

What to Expect

Explore Costa Rica’s natural beauty while learning about environmental conservation initiatives and community adaptation to climate change in the Perez Zeledon region. Surrounded by lush green plants and the chattering of tropical birds, take part in hands-on volunteering at a nature reserve. You’ll get training in leadership, Spanish, cultural humility, design thinking, and project management as you develop a service project to carry out once you return home. Marvel at the biodiversity and landscapes while you take group excursions around the region!

 

What to Expect

  • Pod of 12–20 students from the U.S. and Costa Rica with three full-time staff
  • 10.5-week session
  • Communal living on a nature reserve
  • Robust health and safety protocols

 

What You’ll GET

  • Hands-on training in environmental conservation work
  • Excursions to areas of interest like hot springs, waterfalls, beach, and volcanoes
  • Spanish classes tailored to your level
  • Cross-cultural connection
  • Mentorship through coaching, supervision, and support
  • Networking with social impact professionals and entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their communities in Costa Rica
  • 140+ service hours

 

What You’ll Need

  • Age: 17–22
  • 2+ years of high school Spanish; English proficiency
  • Interest in the environment and community service
  • Resident or national of the U.S. or Costa Rica
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About the Program

10.5 WEEKS

Session Dates

February 16–April 30, 2021

 

How to Apply

December 15, 2020: Financial assistance deadline. Apply here and indicate you would like to apply for financial assistance. Once you submit your application, you will get instructions about what documentation to submit.

January 11, 2021: Final application deadline. Spots are filled on a first come, first served basis. Apply now to secure your spot.

 

Fees and Financial Assistance

$13,475
Need-based financial assistance is available!

 

What’s Included

All in-country expenses are covered, including:

-Accommodation, including excursions
-Three meals per day
-Private group transportation throughout the entire program
-Spanish language classes
-Medical supplies like hand sanitizer, masks, and cleaning products
-Entrance fees at sites we visit
-24/7 On-Call Safety System

Itinerary (tentative)

This is the tentative itinerary for the gap year program in Costa Rica.

Week 1

Fly to San Jose and spend the night in a small hostel, getting to know the other students in the program. Travel to a more remote site between San Jose and Turrialba. During the first two weeks, the group will isolate together while staff monitor students for symptoms of COVID-19.

 

Week 2

Explore Turrialba for a few days! Begin orientation to Costa Rica and the AMIGOS Gap Program. Turrialba is a charming small town in the lush and beautiful Central Valley with a national park nearby. Hike to the volcano of the same name for some stunning views!

 

Week 3

Travel to the nature reserve, . Spot some of the 175 species of birds that call the reserve home. Practice speaking Spanish through onsite classes.

Weeks 4–6

Learn about conservation by working to support the efforts of the reserve! In the mornings, take part in activities like trail maintenance, tending to the medicinal garden, and other efforts that help preserve the flora and fauna in the region. In the afternoons, focus on initiatives that cultivate leadership, cultural humility, and service.

Each week, you’ll have one free day and one group excursion day. On group excursions, you’ll get to visit regional attractions like volcanoes, hot springs, the beach, and waterfalls!

 

Weeks 7–9

Head back to the nature reserve and continue supporting their conservation work. Spend your afternoons hiking and cool off in one of the reserve’s many waterfalls!

 

Week 10

Travel to Quepos, a small, booming harbor town on the Pacific coast. Join in debriefing activities and relax on the beach! Explore Manuel Antonio National Park.

From Quepos, you’ll travel to San Jose and fly home.

What makes this experience unique?

Local Perspective

We want you to be immersed in Costa Rican culture as much as possible! The nature reserve where you will be staying is Costa Rican-owned and operated and you’ll get to meet members of the cooperative that manage the area. You’ll get to meet staff at local organizations and small businesses. And at least one AMIGOS staff member and two students in your pod will be from Costa Rica.

 

Environmental Focus

You’ll get to explore local initiatives to preserve the environment and help communities adapt to climate change. From parks and protected areas to education, explore the ways local communities are supporting conservation.

 

Continuing Service

Throughout the program, you’ll design a service project that addresses a need in your home community. When you return home, you’ll have a service project ready to implement!

 

Health and Safety

Health and safety has always been our number one priority, but in today’s world, this takes on a deeper meaning. A Health and Safety Coordinator will stay onsite with the group throughout the program. Our 24/7 On-Call Safety System is in place the entire time students are in the field. Our On-Call team includes medical and mental health professionals.

 

Cultural Exchange

At least two spots on this program are reserved for Costa Rican students and at least one staff member will be from Costa Rica. You’ll take Spanish classes upon arrival in order to build your language skills.

Questions?

Join an online info session!

RSVP Here

Program Pillars

Leadership

Explore your sense of purpose and start to establish your personal goals and values through introspection and inquiry.

Cultural Humility

Gain understanding of cultural bias, the role of language in culture, fostering intercultural appropriation, global citizenship, and the role of conservation in culture.

Service

In addition to volunteer work on the nature reserve, you’ll get support developing a service project meant to address an issue in your home community. Develop project management and design thinking skills, get an introduction to risk analysis and budgeting.

Length Training
Dates
In-Country
Dates
Ages Application
Deadline
Price
Costa Rica Gap Program 10.5 weeks

In-country training

February 16–April 30, 2021

17–22 January 11, 2021

$13,475

Need-based financial assistance is available! The deadline to apply for financial assistance is December 15, 2020.

  • Costa Rica Gap Program
  • Length
    10.5 weeks
  • Training Dates

    In-country training

  • In-Country Dates

    February 16–April 30, 2021

  • Ages
    17–22
  • Application Deadline
    January 11, 2021
  • Price

    $13,475

    Need-based financial assistance is available! The deadline to apply for financial assistance is December 15, 2020.

FAQ

Is this program definitely going to run?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international travel and border regulations which are beyond our control, it is difficult to say anything is definite. That said, barring unforeseen circumstances, we plan to run this program!

As of November 1, 2020, all U.S. citizens will be able to enter Costa Rica on flights departing from the United States. Because these regulations are subject to change in short time frames, we are waiting until January 15, 2021 to begin collecting program fee payment and paperwork for the Gap Program in Costa Rica. Running the Gap Program in Costa Rica is dependent on the status of U.S. citizen entry into Costa Rica and other travel and health regulations. On January 15th, our team will email you informing you of the program status.

What are the accommodations like?

Students will be staying on a nature reserve in dorm-style accommodations.

How do I apply for financial assistance?

The financial assistance deadline is December 15, 2020. We encourage you to apply as early as possible, as our ability to offer lower fee packages is limited. Note on your application that you are applying for financial assistance. You will need to submit your most recent 1040 tax form or another form of income verification.

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions about financial assistance. Click here for more information about fees and financial assistance.

What level of Spanish do I need to have?

The Spanish requirement for this program is 2 years of high school Spanish or the equivalent. We want students to have a baseline understanding of the language so they can communicate with the Costa Rican students on the program and have a more meaningful experience. Students will take group Spanish classes based on their level at the start of the program.

What precautions are you taking in light of COVID-19?

Students on this program should self-isolate for two weeks before departure and must show a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure. Upon arrival in Costa Rica, the pod will isolate together and receive another COVID-19 test within the first few days. A Health and Safety Coordinator is onsite. Students will have minimal contact with anyone outside the pod.

See other questions related to COVID-19 here.

 

If these FAQs don’t answer your questions, we’d be happy to chat. Click here to set up a call.

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“The things you will learn and experience and the relationships you will build will remain with you through the rest of your life.”

—Emma, AMIGOS Gap Volunteer

Program Requirements
  • Age: 17–22
  • 2+ years of high school Spanish
  • Interest in Latin America and community service
  • Resident or national of the U.S. or Costa Rica
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"I could say that [the AMIGOS and @tuftsuniversity @tischcollege Civic Action Gap Semester] has given me a purpose again, even in the middle of all these terrible things that are happening right now in the world. Here, we are taught not to think only about what is wrong with the world, but most importantly how we want it to be and what we can do to change it and to make it better, and that has been giving me hope again for a better future for my generation." - Current Civic Action Gap Semester student.⠀

Applications now open for Spring 2021 on our website at amigosinternational.org⠀

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Learn more at the link in our bio!⠀

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Our Fall Community Impact Project started today! Happy launch day to the incredible students around the Americas who are embarking on this awesome initiative.⠀

They'll be spending the next eight weeks connecting with other students, designing positive service projects, and supporting their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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"To be part of [the AMIGOS and @tuftsuniversity @tischcollege Civic Action Gap Semester] experience has been the most insightful thing, I like the way we are put to reflect about our communities but also in ourselves inside of it, our roles, how we affect it, and also how our environment shapes us." - Current Civic Action Gap Semester student.⠀

Learn more about this program on our website at amigosinternational.org
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AMIGOS wants your opinions! We are seeking feedback from young people about new programs and ideas. We'll also be raffling off $50 Visa gift cards for survey participants!⠀

If you're 14-22, take the survey here and share it with your friends at buff.ly/3nr7uvI
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Want to explore Costa Rica in 2021? Students ages 17-22 can join our Spring Gap Program in Costa Rica next spring!⠀

You'll get to experience:⠀
Hands-on training in environmental conservation work,⠀
Excursions to places like hot springs, waterfalls, and volcanoes,⠀
Spanish classes tailored to your level,⠀
Networking with social impact professionals and entrepreneurs,⠀
140+ service hours, and more!⠀

Spots are limited, so apply today at the link in our bio!
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At AMIGOS, we are always working to develop, pilot, and iterate on program ideas, especially as the world shifts. And we want your opinions!⠀

As your day-to-day life of school, work, volunteering, and extracurricular activities continues to change, we need to continue hearing from you and other students, especially those who haven't done AMIGOS programming before.⠀

To make sure we are hitting the mark, we are seeking feedback from young people ages 14-22. We'll also be raffling off $50 Visa gift cards for the participants!⠀

If you're 14-22, take the survey and share it with your friends at buff.ly/3nr7uvI
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AMIGOS wants your opinions! We are seeking feedback from young people about new programs and ideas. We'll also be raffling off $50 Visa gift cards for survey participants!⠀

If you're 14-22, take the survey here and share it with your friends at amigosinternational.org/survey-program-ideas
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