Costa Rica

Population facets: 

Partner Organization: Praxis Center 

Location: Santa Rosa de Santo Domingo, Costa Rica

Number of Students: Up to 6 students

Dates: Flexible

In person opportunities summer 2022: Yes

Virtual opportunities summer 2022: To be determined

Additional information:

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, if we are unable to deploy students in person, students will not be obligated to complete the ISSLP and may withdraw without penalty. For students wishing to continue with the ISSLP in virtual mode, ISSLP staff will work with them to be placed with a virtual international service option.

Participation Requirements: 

  • Language & Proficiency Requirement: Intermediate to advance knowledge of Spanish is preferred
  • Gender Requirement: None
  • Required Experience: None other than a positive outlook on the prospects for assisting local people to solve local problems; be hard-working, open-minded, collaborative; take initiative and demonstrate resourcefulness
  • Major Requirement: None
  • Student Minimum Age: None
  • Special Requirements: None

Special Training Required Prior to Summer Deployment:  

(The following sessions and workshops will be organized and provided by the ISSLP during the spring semester. Additional training sessions may be added as needed) 

  • Self Defense

Site Description:   

See the official Praxis Center webpage.

The word praxis is defined by the great Brazilian educator Paolo Freire as “reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it.” It involves the marriage of theory and practice, in a constant dialog which is always reflecting critically on experience, reading the signs of the times and making adjustments to work towards the goals of greater well-being, peace, and justice. Praxis is an educational institution which seeks to build transformational partnerships between communities in Central America and North America for relationships of trust and mutual sharing of gifts.

Scope of Work & Responsibilities:

Notice: This is a new site for 2022. This scope of work may change based on the needs of the organization at the time of student arrival and/or due to COVID-19 restrictions.

This site will be in person for summer 2022. Virtual opportunities are still being determined. 

The Praxis Center works in a variety of organizations and project areas within San Jose de Costa Rica and outside of the city limits. These are some of the projects available for the summer of 2022:

Fundación Humanitaria: This organization has a variety of programs in the largest low income immigrant community in Costa Rica. The foundation gives attention to Nicaraguan refugees trying to rebuild their lives in Costa Rica, distribution of food donated by a local grocery store, a women´s group, an early childcare center and afterschool tutoring program for children and youth. Students in the past have assisted refugees to tell their stories through written and video resources, and have also tutored children in English, math and reading skills.

Cristo para la Ciudad: This is a church group that has several programs in a low income community, primarily with Nicaraguan immigrant youth and adults. Students in the past  have tutored math and English, helped with the youth sports program and the women´s group. There is also a small fish farm and vegetable garden where a student could lend assistance. The organization may also be open to receiving a student with digital media skills who could update and create videos and promotional materials.  

RET (Refugees): This program helps refugees in a variety of issues, including legal aid, economic development, psychological treatment, and educational support. Previous interns have taught English to refugees as well as helping with general office work.

Fundación Mujer: Fundación Mujer is an organization that started out assisting women in situations of domestic violence to start their own businesses. It has now branched out to serving refugees (without restrictions on their gender) from many countries to gain economic independence through entrepreneurship. Past interns have assisted small family businesses with their marketing and social media presence, have taught basic accounting and business skills and have also taught English and assisted with general office work.

Hogar de Esperanza: This is a group residence for people who have been diagnosed with HIV infection and may not have anywhere else to go because they have been rejected by their families and neighborhoods. It was started by a Roman Catholic priest in the 1990´s, when most people with AIDS died within a short time after being diagnosed. Today, the ultimate goal is to reintegrate residents back into their communities, which is a process which takes 2-3 years. Many of the residents are also dealing with addictions. Past interns have accompanied the nurse in distributing medications, have assisted with transporting residents to their medical appointments and have been invited into the staff team to participate in the entire process of accompanying residents during their recovery. One of the most interesting things for past students has been simply listening to the residents´ stories, and have found residents to be generally very friendly and open about sharing with interns. There are opportunities to participate in educational workshops on self-esteem, addictions, and the role of spirituality in the recovery process. The center may also be open to someone assisting with their website and social media presence. Also, past students interested in ministry have been asked to assist with pastoral care and spirituality.  

Longo Mai: This is a rural community located 4 hours southeast of San José and  populated primarily by Salvadorans who came to Costa Rica as refugees fleeing from the civil war in the 1980s. Past interns have been involved with the work of families involved in organic agriculture, with an environmental organization and with the local school, tutoring in math and English. Students often greatly enjoy the rural setting and the opportunity to learn about sustainability on a very grass roots level. An enterprising student skilled in video editing could perhaps do a special project interviewing some of the older residents in the community about their experiences during the war and their general outlook on life and advice to young people. An added plus is that the community often hosts young adult interns from several European countries, so there is a chance to interact with them as well.  

Finca Didactica Integral Loroco: This is a working organic farm primarily run by women of indigenous BriBri heritage. The intern could be involved in planting, harvesting, processing products, saving seeds, making chocolate and preparing items for sale at the weekly farmer´s market in Puerto Viejo, Limón. The staff of Finca Loroco also give workshops from time to time on organic agriculture and BriBri culture and customs for local universities. One past intern skilled in digital media assisted with marketing of the farm´s products and its social media presence. 

Housing & Lodging Information: 

Students will live with a host family in Santa Rosa de Santo Domingo, Costa Rica. Students are expected to be a respectful guest, to obey house rules, and to conduct themselves appropriately as one would living with any family. Breakfast and dinner, Monday through Friday, are provided by the host family. Students are responsible for lunch during weekdays and their own meals on weekends. 

For More Information:

Visit the official Praxis Center web page


Notice: Certain sites may be canceled and other sites added at any point during the selection or orientation process.

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Upcoming Events

October 2021

Application Close | ISSLP 2022
Monday, October 25, 2021 - 12:00am to 11:45pm
Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 7:00pm
Postgraduate Service Lunch | Alliance for Catholic Education
Friday, October 29, 2021 - 11:30am to 1:30pm

November 2021

Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Getting Something to Eat in Jackson
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Mini Postgraduate Service Fair
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Taste of PATH
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 7:30pm
Information Session | Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor (PSIM)
Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Dignity and Justice Workshop
Friday, November 12, 2021 - 10:00am to 1:00pm
Catholic Social Tradition (CST) Minor Brunch
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 11:30am
Higgins Film CLASSics | Blue Collar (1978)
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 3:00pm
Virtues & Vocations Presents Howard Gardner: What is Good Work?
Monday, November 29, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

December 2021

Signs of the Times Brown Bag Lunch Series | Housing
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 12:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm