Immerse yourself in a Costa Rican conservation project and gain real world experience. This inter-disciplinary course, accredited by universities and colleges around the world, introduces students to international service-learning and sustainable development, both in content and practice, in Jalova, Costa Rica.
Project Aims and Objectives
GVI has been operating in Costa Rica for almost 10 years. As well as our conservation work, GVI also focuses on community development work in Quepos.
Our projects are well established and respected amongst the communities. GVI’s long-term involvement, capacity building and commitment to our projects, ensure that the service elements of your students’ trips are contributing to long-term sustainable projects helping to achieve our partners’ objectives. These local partnerships along with stakeholder discussions drive the service elements of our trips to ensure they are fully focussed on the most prevalent issues and produce the results required locally.
As a group, you have the opportunity of contributing to on-going conservation projects. The exact work will greatly depend on the needs of our partners at the time. This is a great opportunity for students to work as a team in achieving an overall goal that will have long-lasting effects for the environment, community members and local partners.
Contribute to our long-term conservation and community projects. Experience life in an authentic Costa Rican community living, eating and working with the local research teams all while enjoying life in the Costa Rican jungle.
GVI’s base in Jalova is a research station in the Tortuguero National Park. The park is border by the Caribbean sea where you will find a beach that’s home to one of the largest nesting colonies of Green Turtles in the world. The other three sides of the park are home to protected rainforest. All transportation into the park is via canoe or motor boat along the canal and river systems. Students will spend their time surrounded by amazing scenery and wildlife in the canals, tropical rainforest, and Caribbean beaches.
Jalova's short, mid, and long-term objectives
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Jalova:
1. Increase scientific knowledge of Tortuguero National Park
2. Increase awareness of GVI Jalova projects and the ecological value of the Tortuguero National Park.
3. Build local capacity to support long-term conservation of biodiversity and sustainable community development in Costa Rica
4. Continue to minimize our environmental impact on TNP and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst volunteers and visitors
What's Not Included
Additional Teacher Info
GVI runs curriculum, CAS and experience focussed service learning opportunities around the world on multi-award winning trips. With over 25,000 travellers since inception, GVI’s know how to ensure safe, life-changing challenges that make a real difference, fostering global citizenship and intercultural understanding. Staffed and resourced by GVI all year round, our projects offer unique opportunities to engage in long-term, high impact work, whilst experiencing deep cultural immersion and some adventure.
A teacher travels free with groups of ten or more students!
GVI provides 24/7 support from our experienced staff who are based full-time on the ground, as well as support from HQ. An experienced group leader will accompany the group, taking overall responsibility for the safety of the group.
Please note prices are subject to seasonal fluctuation and will vary depending upon the needs of the group.
**Optional extras include travel insurance and flight services
This course can vary in duration, depending on your requirements for project time as well as cultural or adventure based time.
Two weeks prior to departure, students will be assigned readings and assignments in order to make sure that they have a basic cultural understanding of Jalova and it’s local conservation based issues, a foundational understanding of international service learning and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the start of a dialogue surrounding global engagement. Materials will be chosen based on collaboration with the group’s educational leader to ensure the papers and research fits into the groups in-class curriculum.
Day 1- Arrival at San Jose Airport and Transfer to Base
On arrival, the group will be met at San Jose’s International Airport by a GVI representative or staff member. Participants will be transferred to their hostel accommodation and given time to settle in and rest. There will be an initial welcome presentation and introduction to the GVI staff, history and background of the projects, as well as a health and safety breakdown.
Day 2- Arrival in Tortuguero
Accompanied by a GVI staff member or representative, the group will journey by bus 3.5 hours and then 45 minutes by boat to base. The group will meet for an afternoon orientation and welcome session where they will discuss the week’s logistics, duties and responsibilities, and receive an introduction from the local partners. Materials and tools will also be prepped to maximize productivity for the following days.
In the evening a reflection period will take place in which participants will debrief and review their initial reactions and observations surrounding the experience and location.
Days 3-6- Daily Structure: Service, Education, and Reflection
The exact project will be based on the requirements of our local partners at the time. The group can expect to be involved in a variety of environmental awareness activities, discussions and lectures. This may include bird walks, biodiversity surveys, species identification and rainforest ecology.
All service elements will be connected to a greater understanding of the environmental context in which the students are working. Assignments, in the form of lectures, readings, written response papers, journal entries, group presentations, and other creative projects will be conducted daily to enhance the learning taking place during the daily service involvement. Daily reflection sessions will act as the bridge that connects and helps to synthesize the many aspects of the experience.
Particular emphasis will be placed on the ways in which participants are working towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and students will critically examine their part in this process, analyzing their contributions, challenges, and observations.
Day 7- A Fond Farewell
GVI field staff will transfer the team back to the airport and bid them a fond farewell! GVI will endeavor to keep the group informed of any updates there might be in the field and with particular reference to the projects students contributed to during their time in Costa Rica.
Students will continue to engage with active reflection and educational expansion two weeks after leaving Costa Rica, with emphasis placed on incorporating the international experience and insights gained into the students’ home context. Assignments will center around generating ideas to continue global engagement, connecting the experience to personal and career goals, and reflecting on the insights gained that could not be learnt in a classroom.