Community Oriented Projects That Actually Make A Difference For Nature, Animals & People

Dedicated and Personal Service!

We offer personal and great service – We are a small non-profit organization, run mainly by founder and owner of GLV, Janina Schan, interns and volunteers, and dedicated project staff – but we offer the same services as the “big” volunteer organizations. The difference is for us you’re not just a number – Every volunteer is unique and different, and we work hard to make sure you’ll volunteer in a project that is worthwhile and fits your needs!

We are flexible – we don’t offer certain start dates or 2 week minimum periods. You can start volunteering when you like and for how long you like on most projects. You may even volunteer only for a few days on certain projects.

Because we have a mixed team of Costa Ricans and Foreigners, who volunteer and live in Costa Rica themselves, we know exactly what you’re looking for and what questions you may have… and we can thus provide you with a great volunteer adventure abroad!

Janina Schan – Owner and Founder of Green Life Volunteers

We Have Selected Projects and Host Families

We have great projects which we found through many years of research and work in Costa Rica. The projects we collaborate with are in need of help and have experience working with volunteers – which guarantees you to have a great time and an awesome experience. The projects ARE ALWAYS run by local members of the community, non-profit, and with a benefit for people, nature, or animals.

Our home stay families have been handpicked by local staff and all of them have years of experience hosting foreigners and volunteers. They are always happy to welcome you, and they will be your family away from home.

We are affordable and we explain where your fees go!

First of all – we are a registered non-profit organization in Costa Rica. Non-profit does not mean that everything is for free and people work for free. Every non-profit organization has administrative costs, has an office to rent, and has employees to pay! And so does GLV. To cover our services to our volunteers, the first week’s fee is a little higher than the weekly fee- and that’s because also WE work hard for you. With the first week’s higher fee we reimburse our efforts that we spend emailing you, skyping with you, upkeeping the project contacts, planning the logistics of your arrival and travel, maintaining the website, organizing your stay with a host family and the project, making hostel bookings and airport shuttle arrangements, and arranging everything else important around your projects for you.

The weekly fee goes directly to the host families or project itself. Your fee covers your food costs, which is unfortunately quite expensive in Costa Rica. For a host family it means a help economically – and best of all it’s something that usually the host mum’s or grand-mum’s run. Your host mum is home all the time anyway since she keeps up the household and feeds the kids and grand kids – Costa Rica is very traditional in that regard. Women stay home and run the household – and usually don’t have a job or income. With your stay, host mum’s earn a little money too, and it helps the family enormously!

The projects benefits from your know-how and man-power, and you can make an actual difference to a Costa Rican project. Your fee contribution if you’re staying at a project site, for example turtle conservation, goes directly into the project and in it’s cause. Your fee covers your food costs at the project too, which is unfortunately quite expensive in Costa Rica. However, a small amount is usually left over that goes into running the project and helps as a donation.

We offer Volunteer Projects that are community oriented and make an actual difference!

We work with projects which are in need of actual help! Most organizations in Costa Rica make up “fake” projects which are entirely run by foreigners, make no actual difference and have no impact on the surrounding communities. You’ll spend large sums of money that go directly into foreigners pockets – no income and no benefit is made to any local community member.

We make sure and GUARANTEE that our projects are: local, grassroot, non-profit organizations, run by members of the local community, registered and licensed, and most importantly – IN ACTUAL NEED OF HELP! 

GLV makes sure that every project has a positive impact on the local people, on the community, and the local animals and nature.

At GLV you can be sure that you get a REAL project – and somewhere where your help is actually appreciated and very needed!

The People of Green Life Volunteers

Founder and Manager of Green Life Volunteers in Costa Rica Janina Schan was originally born in Germany, and decided to move to Costa Rica to make a difference. She worked in Costa Rica in the tourism and volunteer industry, and then opened up her own volunteer company, Green Life Volunteers, in the beginning of 2011. Her background is in Environmental Studies and Biology  – she has a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, Toronto, and  a Bachelor of Science from Germany.

In her Master research she focused on tropical ecology and conservation and studied for 6 months in Costa Rica. The idea of the volunteer company came much later, but she always had the desire to help out and make a difference.. especially regarding conservation and development projects. She also loves animals, so she supports dog and cat rescue, and is trying to establish a new dog and cat rescue project in Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula.

Janina works also as a website developer and Graphic Designer – Green Life Volunteers is a passion project, and doesn’t generate a lot of income to survive from.

Current and Past Interns of Green Life Volunteers

Jian, June -July 2016

Jian was GLVs intern in May - June - July of 2016. He did an amazing job, and helped mainly with video editing and GLV promotions on University and Volunteer platforms. He was an amazing intern - and he enjoyed his stay very much. Read his full review here.

Carlies, 2015 - 2016

Carlies is here together with Thyrza through their Tourism Degree on the HZ Unviersity of Applied Sciences in Vissingen, the Netherlands. They're staying for a 7 months internship at GLV. She's helping with all aspects of GLV's office and administrative work, and is also writing her major thesis on the topics of volunteering. Her main focus in GLV is writing new website content, making handbooks for each project, and promoting projects at Universities around the world. Thyrza and Carlies have also been fostering dogs and Carlies even adopted a doggie and are taking her back to the Netherlands.

Thyrza, 2015 - 2016

Thyrza is here together with Carlies through their Tourism Degree on the HZ Unviersity of Applied Sciences in Vissingen, the Netherlands. They're staying for a 7 months internship at GLV. Thyrza is helping with all aspects of GLV's office and administrative work, and is also writing her major thesis on the topics of volunteering. For that she's been interviewing various volunteers. She also helped GLV a lot with making beautiful project videos and with general promotions of our projects on different websites.

Guanho, 2014 - 2015

Guanho was an intern in 2014-2015 through the Tourism Degree on the HZ Unviersity of Applied Sciences in Vissingen, the Netherlands. He was doing his 7 months internship also together with Kaho. They've been helping with all aspects of GLV's office and administrative work, and also wrote their major thesis on the topics of volunteering. Guanho's focus was the projects.

Kaho, 2014 - 2015

Kaho was an intern in 2014-2015 through the Tourism Degree on the HZ Unviersity of Applied Sciences in Vissingen, the Netherlands. He was doing his 7 months internship also together with Guanho. They've been helping with all aspects of GLV's office and administrative work, and also wrote their major thesis on the topics of volunteering. Kaho's focus was student volunteering.

Allison, 2015

Allison spent 3 months in Puerto Jimenez and helped mainly with the dog and cat rescue project. She was a real asset to GLV since she took off a lot of work of Janina Schan's shoulders and helped with many aspects of Green Life Volunteers' dog and cat rescue project. She's now back in the USA was an adopted dog that used to be a street dog for years in Puerto Jimenez.

Avery, 2014

Avery was an excellent intern for 2 months with Green Life Volunteers in 2014. She was helping with all administrative aspects and promoting of projects.

Abigail, 2014

Abigail helped for a short time in 2014 with making of videos. This was a new aspect of GLV and she was the first intern to have helped with that aspect of GLV.

Judy, 2013

Judy was with Green Life Volunteers in 2013 and was one of the first long term interns of GLV. She helped with promoting GLVs projects in the world, and did a great job at it.

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