Frequently Asked Questions
How do I sign up?
We will need a filled out online application and a photograph from you in order to enroll you on a project. Some projects may require some additional information (we will ask you what we need from you during your enrollment).
After you have submitted your online application and photograph, it may take us up to one week to process your enrollment. As soon as we confirmed your enrollment with your desired project we will get in touch with you.
After we received your application and we checked for availability of your desired project we will send you our volunteer contract and we ask you to make a payment.
You can pay through paypal with a credit card – you don’t even need a paypal account. Once we receive your initial payment, we will send you a Project Confirmation document – which is the final document confirming that you’re officially reserved for the project.
You will have to read and sign our contract, print the last page, fill it out, sign it, and scan and email it back to us. And that’s it!
What am I paying for?
The Program Fee you pay us is used to provide you with:
- The volunteer Project
- Accommodation with a Host Family
- Food (depending on the project 2 – 3 meals a day)
- A local coordination team to oversee your Program
- Airport pick-up service & transportation to your project location (view Fee Section > http://www.glvolunteers.com/fees/)
- An orientation on arrival in country
- The services of our Local Partner Organization
- 24-hour emergency support while you are on your Program
Most of your fee goes directly into the host family and project, and a small part goes to Green Life Volunteers. Green Life Volunteers, as an organization, receives a ‘commission’ for each volunteer who signs up. This commission is included in the first week’s higher fee.
The commission that we receive for each volunteer is our reward for putting our time and efforts into finding and offering you great projects in Costa Rica. Our work includes making updates to the website, administration, to email and have phone conversations with you, to organize your air-port pick up, to give you an orientation, and to send you on your way to your project, and even supervise and coordinate your project.
Can I volunteer if I am under 18 years of age?
Yes – on certain projects! Some projects have an age limit for their projects, mainly due to safety reasons and lack of adequate supervision. If you are under 18 years of age, we ask your parents to sign a parental authorization form. Also, we’d like you to be at least 16 years of age if you are volunteering without parents, family members, or another custodial adult.
Can I volunteer with friends, with a group, with my family or with my spouse?
You are welcome to volunteer with friends, with a group, with your family, or with your spouse! Just ask us for special discounts for groups and families – we are happy to organize a great volunteer experience for you guys! You may also be able to stay in the same accommodation / home stay, depending on availability and the size of your group. Check our “groups” page for more details
Who does Green Life Volunteers work with and with who am I volunteering?
Green Life Volunteers is locally run and managed in the following ways:
You will volunteer with local “partner” organizations in Costa Rica. Usually these organizations are non-profit and Costa Rican run and managed. These organizations are in need of volunteers but they often do not have the time or resources to find volunteers themselves. Thus, Green Life Volunteers helps these organizations by providing them with you – the volunteers. Green Life Volunteers receives a small commission for the organization of your project, for picking you up from the airport, and for giving you an orientation. The commission is evenly spread between all employees and is a salary for their efforts. Most of your project fees go directly into the project, your host family, your meals, and your transportation costs.
The local partner organizations have their own volunteers, project staff, and coordinators(usually Costa Ricans) who will be your direct contact at the project site. They will work with you or supervise your work. Hence, the local partner organization’s staff are NOT staff of Green Life Volunteers. Therefore we don’t have direct control over the project’s staff. Green Life Volunteers works with them as partners, and provide them with the man-power they need. However, we select our partner organizations very carefully, and we only use organizations that have been established and worked with international volunteers for a long time. The local coordinator and staff will be your first point of contact in case any issues may arise. Should you have any trouble with the local project staff – please contact Green Life Volunteers’ staff immediately! We will work for you to solve any problems you may have.
Green Life Volunteers managers and coordinators live and work in Costa Rica.They help you to find a right project, contact the partner organization, book your project, pick you up from the airport, give you an orientation and are available as an emergency contact. They have worked in the volunteer and tourism industry for many years and know everything you may want to know about Costa Rica and traveling. In country Green Life Volunteers’ staff is there for you in case any issues may arise in-country. They are experienced locally and available to you at all times. They are there as a great source of advice, support and act as a point of contact in the event of an emergency. They are available to you by phone 24 hours a day 7 days a week. So don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you may have!
Can I combine projects and learn Spanish while I volunteer?
You can combine any of our projects and receive a combination-discount, and on most of our projects you can learn Spanish and volunteer at the same time. It is of advantage if you speak some basic Spanish before your arrival, but we know that most likely you’d like to improve and practice your Spanish during your stay in Costa Rica. We work closely with local communities, and you’ll stay with a Costa Rican host family who most likely don’t speak much or any English.
What is the Organizational Fee Deposit and why do I have to pay it?
To reserve your space on your preferred project we ask you to complete a short application form online, send us a recent photograph of yourself, and also ask you to submit the amount for the first week of your project (for example $399 for the teaching English project, and $629 for the turtle conservation project). This Reservation Deposit is not an application fee or an additional fee and it is subtracted from your final project fee. We take this deposit from you as a sign of your commitment to reserve a place on the project, and allow ourselves time to prepare your arrival.
When do I know if I got accepted onto a project and when is my enrollment completed?
Once we receive your completed online application form, a recent photograph, and your deposit payment (amount for the first week of your volunteer project), we will combine this information to produce an internal Volunteer Profile and a Project Confirmation Document. We will then send your Volunteer Profile to our local partner organization, so that they can confirm your accommodation and project placement. It may take up to 14 days for us to finalize and complete your booking. We ask you to read our contract and make the deposit payment (the first week of your project) before your reservation can be finalized. Once we have received your payment, we finalize your booking and we will send you the Project Confirmation Document in an email.You are welcome to contact us and ask us any questions you may have, but our frequently asked questions section may already provide you with some answers you may have!
Is Green Life Volunteers a reputable company?
Yes, Green Life Volunteers is definitely a reputable company. Green Life Volunteers was established in 2011 to provide affordable, high quality and responsible volunteer programs for people wishing to experience real volunteering abroad. It is a relatively new volunteer company but already seen as a volunteer company who offers great volunteer experience by volunteers who have been there. In addition, please see our reviews of past volunteers about their volunteering experience on our website and on third party websites such as Abroad Reviews > http://www.abroadreviews.com/green-life-volunteers. Also check our blog where interns post their intern experience weekly. Feel free to join our Facebook Fan page and post a message to hear about the volunteer experience of past volunteers > https://www.facebook.com/greenlifevolunteers.costarica. If you wish to talk to a Green Life Volunteers staff member, please feel free to contact us and we will answer any queries or concerns you may have > http://www.glvolunteers.com/contact-us/.
Do I need specific skills or qualifications to volunteer?
Our requirements to volunteer are speaking fluently English, having a clean criminal record and being eager to learn from the chosen project field of the volunteer. Furthermore, speaking at least basic Spanish would be an advantage in Costa Rica and for some projects it is actually required therefore please have a look into all projects to see if Spanish is required.
Will I be working with other volunteers?
This really depends on the project and the time of the season. For instance, the turtle conservation project and Teaching English usually have more volunteers working but for example the Dog & Cat rescue project can vary a lot concerning the amount of volunteers participating. Additionally, the high season is somewhere between January and September when most amount of volunteers come to volunteer in Costa Rica.
Can I do more than one project?
Of course! We would be very glad to support the volunteer in arranging a specialized volunteering itinerary including more volunteer projects for an additional value of their volunteering experience. This arrangement would suit students perfectly who are doing a gap year or someone who simply wants to experience different kind of project environments. AND the best thing is you will only have to pay the first week’s higher fee once, for one of your projects!
How does Green Life Volunteers ensure the safety of their volunteers abroad?
We fully understand any concerns of volunteers travelling abroad in a foreign country to participate in a volunteer project. It is our highest priority to assure you that the volunteer programs meets our safety protocol. This entails a 24- hour’s emergency support for any emergency or complaints of the volunteers. In addition, each of our project has a professional project coordinator on the spot where volunteers can communicate if they wish for assistance.
Will I need vaccinations prior to travel?
This depends per country whereas one country has different requirements concerning immunizations for travel then other countries. It would be wise to consult your general practitioner before you are travelling abroad. By doing this you will be advised suggestions regarding immunizations for assuring protection when you are abroad.
Will there be time to travel and sight-see while I am volunteering?
Of course! We highly recommend our volunteers to explore Costa Ricans finest. Additionally, the on-site coordinators will be glad to help you with planning preferred activities or other small trips to enjoy Costa Rica. On some projects you’ll have more free time and able to travel and sightsee more, while other projects may be located in more remote locations where you’re not able to take off many days or go explore. Ask us during your sign up process if you can go explore during your project, or if you should set time aside before or after your volunteer time.
Can I only volunteer for a few days? Is there a minimum amount of time for volunteer projects?
Yes you can volunteer for just a few days. Please inquire which project you’d like to volunteer on for just a few days, and we’ll let you know if it’s possible. Most projects are very flexible. On some projects however, it is more advisable to not to do short-term volunteering, for example on the Teaching English project we require a minimum of 2 weeks commitment. Projects such as turtle conservation and dog rescue are usually more flexible with short-term visitors J ! Just ask us > http://www.glvolunteers.com/contact-us/