Casa Xalteva Education and Cultural Center (the Spanish school and volunteer project) is located outside of the downtown area of Granada. Granada, also referred to as the 'colonial jewel', was founded in 1524 and is believed to be the second oldest city established in mainland Latin America by the Spanish conquest. During colonial times, Granada witnessed much unrest as the city was attacked several times by pirates. Nowadays Granada is characterized by bright-colored Spanish colonial architecture, visible throughout the city center. The ambiance is very pleasant and there is a wide array of nice restaurants and bars, especially along the boulevard from the central park to the shores of the Lake of Nicaragua. Although the city in itself is already an impressive attraction, the immediate surroundings make Granada a place you want to explore further.
Some examples of the activities:
- Giving the children positive and safe attention.
- Support children with their homework (children are often behind at school or have parents who are not capable of helping them at home so volunteers are a great help, especially if you have experience in a specific academic area).
- Make fun with the children and teenagers with sport, art, music etc.
- Teaching / assisting in the teaching of English classes
- Leading / assisting at workshops
- Prepare recreational activities to be carried out when the children finish their homework or during their breaks
- Assist in hygiene education such as hand washing and brushing teeth
Upon arrival in Granada, you will settle in with your host family. You will receive information on how to go to the project (walking distance, or by bike or taxi) on the first working day, on Monday (unless there’s a National Holiday).
On Monday, once you arrive at the project, you will have an orientation meeting to discuss the rules of the project, and be provided with general information about the activities during the following days. It is also discussed what the expectations are and what talents and passions you want to use as a volunteer to contribute to the project with the aim that your time in the project makes an impact for the project and yourself. It is therefore best if prior to arrival, you already think about activities that you can contribute to the kids, such as: arts and crafts, sports, games from your country, health presentations, a presentation about the country you come from or anything else you may be interested or passionate about sharing. **Be aware that if your activity requires specific materials, you would please need to bring them with you.
Now it’s time to work… please take into account that not all days will be the same, so your activities will be defined depending on the daily needs. But mainly consist in being active with the chavalos (as the local children are called) on both academic and social activities around 4 hours a day, in the morning or in the afternoon. It will usually be 3 to 5 volunteers working together and there are usually also plenty of foreign students attending the Spanish classes. We count on your flexibility to help at the project. The coordinator will indicate you where you will be most needed, and of course if you have ideas, these are always welcome!!
Around noon, you will go back to your host family home for lunch and in the afternoon volunteers who do a combination of volunteering with Spanish, will assist to their Spanish classes or, if not, they would have the rest of the day free to enjoy the city or to participate in optional excursions that the school offers as well. Working the entire day as a volunteer is also an option (depending on your level of Spanish).
For the following days, the schedule is similar, working from 08:00 to 12:00 (or 13:00 to 17:00) from Monday to Friday. Weekends are free so you can explore the charming city of Granada and its surroundings, or simply relax at your homestay accommodation.
Organization and the pace at which things run may be very different to what you are used to, but please take into account that these are cultural differences that you should respect. Don’t get frustrated, be patience, and see this as an opportunity, and please be an example of appropriate behavior at all times. Each and every volunteer is a role model to the children, and your behavior will be mirrored by them. Your volunteer work is extremely valuable and can make extraordinary impacts, engaging the children in new cultures, learning them different values, languages, games, educacional insights and many others.
Show initiative that you are willing to work hard, be happy and motivated and you will feel the warmth and positive energy of the chavalos. It awakens the inner child in you and this way you will getget the most out of your time as a volunteer.
Volunteering can be perfectly combined with Spanish classes. Casa Xalteva offers short and long-term intensive Spanish courses for students at all levels. Each class is specifically catered to the students' wishes. At the beginning of each week your professor will find out the things that interest the group and plan the curriculum accordingly. Classes have an average of 2 and a maximum of 4 students. The Spanish classes normally take place in the mornings, so when combining language tuition with volunteering, you would study in the morning and work at the project in the afternoons. As such, your volunteer activities would mainly include sports, games etc. which you can help run while working on improving your Spanish.
- Monday-Friday for 4 hours
- Normally in the morning between 8:00-12:00 with a 10-15-minute break for each session (there might be an opportunity to study Spanish in the afternoon between 13:00-17:00)
- Textbooks and materials designed for non-native speakers
- The teachers use an innovative "Spanish only" technique that has students speaking, writing and reading the language from the first day in class.
The volunteer program does not run during school holidays, Easter, Christmas and New Year's holidays. In January there are special workshops and activities, but in the beginning of February the normal program resumes. Please note that the dates for the school holidays in July (2 weeks) and December-February may change according to the school year calendar.
The project is also closed on the following public holidays.
08 December 2023 - 13 January 2024
The first two weeks of July (TBA)
12 December 2024 - 13 January 2025
The project is closed during summer holidays, as well as between 08DEC23-13JAN24 and 12DEC24-13JAN25.
- Pre-departure online meeting
- Arrival airport transfer
- Project donation
- Orientation meeting
- Local support volunteer coordinator
- Accommodation at homestay (private room with shared bathroom)
- Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- Transportation between homestay and school by taxi or bicycle
- Day tour to the Laguna de Apoyo crater lake (hike and swim tour)
- Cooking Class
- Follow up online meetings
- For the Volunteer and Spanish Program only: HD Spanish lessons (so volunteer work half of the day and Spanish class on the other half (otherwise halfday at leisure)
Minimum age 18 years
Volunteer application form
Police clearance certificate/Criminal background check
Language skills: There’s a minimum level of Spanish required to volunteer at the project. The more Spanish you speak, the easier it is to get involved with the children. Homework assistance for the younger group is less difficult in the subjects the children need help with, but the high school students need help that requires Spanish at a more advanced level. However, volunteers with less fluent Spanish can contribute by running activities such sports and games outdoors, or indoor activities such as cooking, baking or yoga classes. If you don't speak Spanish, taking classes is a requirement.
This project is for creative, open-minded and patient people, who love working with children and are full of energy. Experience from working with children and/or adolescents is a bonus. Volunteers need to be pro-active, independent but also team players to be able to work with others in order to help the organisation.
IMPORTANT: To enter Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the local authorities demand that all travellers coming from a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission like: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela as well as African countries, have a yellow fever International Vaccination Certificate 12 days prior to entering the country. Please check before you travel about the specific requirements and possible changes.
Volunteers need to be flexible and keep an open mind concerning their placements as situations can arise beyond our control which could require you to be placed at a different project than the one you have initially chosen. We will of course always do our utmost to fulfill your initial wishes but do remember that where you are going is quite different from where you are coming and as such one should be prepared for things not always going according to plan.
Volunteering and intercultural travel share a common trait: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. This program is designed for proactive individuals and groups that are prepared to adapt to the local environment and its current needs. Naturally, the scheduling and activities of our program are subject to change. Alterations in activities are mainly due to changes in local conditions, which we believe is part of what makes overseas programs the interesting adventure and incredible learning experience that they are.
Our projects range from 1 week up to approx. 30 weeks. Projects have a specified minimum stay, then it’s up to you how long you can commit. In our experience the longer you stay the more you will gain, as your understanding of the project broadens and you take on more responsibilities.