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.
You can choose to work either in the morning or in the afternoon for 4 hours a day from Monday to Friday, or the entire day if you wish. There are usually 5 volunteers working together; 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon.
The morning shift starts at 08:00 with volunteers helping the children ('chavalos' as they are locally called) with their homework. Between 10:00 and 11:00 there’s a break and time for sports, and volunteers organise activities and play with the children. From 11:00 to 12:00 volunteers prepare other activities for the children, so here you can showcase your creativity, skills and experience. Also helping other volunteers with their activities is part of the job.
Participating in the Casa Xalteva program also includes two activities: one cooking class - preparing a local meal with a neighbouring family and one hike to the Laguna de Apoyo through the farmlands of the community with a swim there at a rural beach away from the more developed area around Laguna Apoyo.
Each last Friday of the month, special activities are organised by Casa Xalteva since the children don’t have school classes on these days. Therefore there is volunteer work only in the morning, since the afternoons are free for the children.
Weekends are free so you can explore the charming city of Granada and its surroundings, or simply relax at your homestay accommodation.
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.
The first two weeks of July (TBA)
08 December 2023 - 09 January 2024
The project is closed during summer holidays, as well as between 08DEC23-09JAN24.
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.