Abriendo Mentes relies on our dedicated team of volunteers, interns, and staff members to achieve our mission and vision in the communities where we work. We believe that committed, hard working individuals who are truly passionate about education and community development can make an enormous impact in the lives of our students. Find out how you can join the AM team...


COMING SOON! A brand new Volunteer & Cultural Immersion Program. 2021 & 2022 dates to be announced shortly.  Email volunteer@abriendomentes.org for more information.



Local Volunteers



Here at Abriendo Mentes, we welcome local residents (including Costa Ricans and members of the ex-pat community) to join us as volunteers in either our Potrero or Brasilito location. Local volunteers have a flexible schedule, and can coordinate how many hours they prefer to volunteer with the Site Directors. There are many ways to support our work as local volunteer including:

  • Assisting in our Youth ESL classes.
  • Teaching Adult English Classes (experience preferred)
  • Teaching/assisting in our computer classes.
  • Assisting youth art classes.
  • Helping with youth sports teams (baseball, soccer, volleyball).
  • Drivers for events and field trips.
  • Event helpers.
  • Fundraising.
  • Fun Friday volunteers (weekly extra-curricular activity).
  • Criminal Background Check.



General Volunteer



Short term general volunteers will work in both Abriendo Mentes’ programming sites in Potrero or Brasilito, Costa Rica in a variety of capacities. All volunteers will be live and primarily serve in the Potrero location, with some travel to the Brasilito location. A short term volunteer placement lasts for a duration of 2-8 weeks and acceptance is based on the needs of Abriendo Mentes at the time applicant is able to come. Short term volunteers can expect to volunteer 4-5 hours per day (including some evenings and weekends). You will be assigned tasks each week by the Site Directors and Executive Director. Energetic individuals who are willing to step in wherever needed are ideal for this position. Below is a list of tasks and activities you may be asked to assist with:

  • Youth Classroom Assistant: Attend English classes Monday-Thursday afternoons and assist the lead teacher with classroom activities.
  • Help plan and lead extra-curricular activities for youth or Fun Friday activities.
  • Volunteer at local food bank.
  • Attend and help with community engagement activities: Beach/town clean ups, movie nights, garage sales, etc.
  • Office assistant: Inputting data, creating flyers, etc.
  • Other tasks as assigned by the Executive Director.
  • Commitment of 2-8 weeks.
  • Energetic and personable.
  • Positive attitude.
  • Independent.
  • Dependable.
  • Some Spanish skills preferred.
  • Living and working in a rural, isolated town.
  • Working with another culture in a bilingual setting.

Executive Director.


Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.


We are currently seeking volunteers to join our team in 2019. Short term volunteer positions are only available for periods of 2-8 weeks. Please indicate your ideal arrival and departure dates in your application.


To cover administrative and program costs, Abriendo Mentes asks all short term volunteers to make a monetary contribution of $200 USD. This is a tax deductible donation allowed to the fullest extent of US law. We encourage all short term volunteers to fundraise themselves to cover this contribution.


Short term volunteers can choose to stay in a homestay organized by Abriendo Mentes with a local family. This costs $18 per day and includes breakfast and dinner. We can also share a list of options for local villas, hotels and B&B’s.


Volunteering for Professionals



Do you have professional expertise in a specific field that you believe could benefit our work here at Abriendo Mentes? We are always open to discussing special projects where volunteers can utilize their knowledge and professional skills, allowing them to make a measurable impact in their field of work. Special Projects Volunteers must make a minimum commitment of one month.

Examples of the type of work you could do
  • Monitoring and Evaluation.
  • Photography and Videography.
  • Fundraising.
  • Curriculum Development.
  • Finances and Accounting.
  • Graphic Design.
  • Marketing.
  • Business Development.
  • Organizational Management.

Executive Director.


Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.


We are currently seeking volunteers to join our team in 2019. Please indicate your ideal arrival and departure dates in your application.


To cover administrative and program costs, Abriendo Mentes asks all short term volunteers to make a monetary contribution of $200 USD. This is a tax deductible donation allowed to the fullest extent of US law. We encourage all short term volunteers to fundraise themselves to cover this contribution.


Short term volunteers can choose to stay in a homestay organized by Abriendo Mentes with a local family. This costs $18 per day and includes breakfast and dinner. We can also share a list of options for local villas, hotels and B&B’s.



Community Development Intern

Please submit your resume and cover letter to Abriendo Mentes Executive Director, Rachael Sine, at Rachael@abriendomentes.org.


The Community Development intern is an important team member at Abriendo Mentes. The Community Development intern's primary responsibilities include special project management, Monitoring and Evaluation, Community relations, assistance with special events and fundraisers, and general administrative and programmatic support to the Executive Director and Site Directors. This position reports directly to the Executive Director and assists the Site Directors with the management of AM operations as needed.


Special Project Management

  • Help to manage programming for local women, especially related to health and fitness, including our zumba program and monthly women's meetings
  • Other special projects depending on the skill set of intern

Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Assist Site Directors with the collection of data from other team leaders each month and update and maintain excel spreadsheet with organizational metrics
  • Perform program analysis and evaluation as directed by the Executive Director.

Program Coordination

  • Assist with the planning and coordination of AM programs, community events, etc.
  • Attend all AM committee meetings; maintain close communications with other AM interns and volunteer
  • Continue to develop existing programs and create the structure for new programs as directed by the Site Directors or Executive Director
  • Assist with other projects related to development and/or communications as well as other programming needs as necessary

Volunteer Coordination 

  • Assist the Site Directors with any needs related to the recruitment, training or supervision of volunteers or interns

Special Events and Fundraisers

  • Assist the Executive Director with the planning, marketing, and execution of fundraisers and special events

General Program assistance

    The ideal candidate will be a very flexible individual who is able to serve the organization in a variety of capacities and is comfortable volunteering in all programs of AM, including but not limited to: English classes, computer classes, special events, field trips, fundraisers, ad hoc administrative projects, etc.
  • Bachelor’s Degree required.  Preferred degrees include: International Studies, Communications, Human Resources, Non-Profit Management, Social Work, or related fields.
  • Experience living and working in a cross-cultural setting, preferably in Latin America or in a rural area.
  • Experience working with a non-profit preferred.
  • 4-6 month commitment; preference will be given to candidates who are available to make a commitment for 6 months+.
  • Fluent English: required.
  • Intermediate Spanish: required; preference will be given to applicants with an advanced or fluent level of Spanish
  • Personable and approachable
  • Dependable
  • Strong work ethic
  • Positive attitude
  • Strong motivator
  • Excellent communications (both oral and written)
  • Good judge of character
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality
  • Detail oriented
  • Highly organized
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Living and working in a rural, isolated town
  • Working with another culture and language
  • Interacting with a wide range of people both in person and through social media: AM staff and volunteers, community members, donors, etc.

Executive Director and Site Directors


Playa Potrero or Brasilito, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.


We are recruiting interns to join us in 2021 & 2022. Start date is flexible. Candidates must be able to commit to at least 3 months. Preference will be given to those who can commit to 6 months or longer. Please note your available start date when submitting resume and cover letter.


Please submit your resume and cover letter to Abriendo Mentes Executive Director, Rachael Sine, at Rachael@abriendomentes.org.

*Please note, this is a volunteer position. Abriendo Mentes is not able to provide a stipend at this time.


Working with the kids in Brasilito is the greatest reward of living in Costa Rica—getting to know each of them closely, seeing their growth, and learning from them, myself.

Mallory Turner
Lead Youth English Teacher, June '15 - June '16

I loved the opportunity to pass on my professional skills and experience to help AM run their operation more effectively. In return, I was able to do lots of activities which are completely different to my day job in England; playing basketball with the kids, doing a beach clear up, sorting groceries at the food bank, promoting a comedy show etc. It is a valuable reminder that in a small organization, everyone has to be versatile and get the job done.

David Smeath
Accounting Volunteer, January - February '15

This experience has been one of the best I've had in my life. I work closely with a group of women and other members of the community to provide various resources for people who call Brasilito home. I've provided weekly health workshops for women in the community. I'm also available for whatever Brasilito needs to develop into a more sustainable community. It's been a challenging yet rewarding experience, and I'm so grateful to be a part of this project in such a special place.

Morgan Behrens
Community Development Intern, September '15 - Present

Throughout my time at Abriendo Mentes I experienced a great balance between independence to problem solve on my own, and support from the amazing staff when I needed it. This position continually presented new challenges which allowed me to grow both professionally and personally... plus the Costa Rican weather and beaches didn't hurt!

Erin Fessler
Social Enterprise Coordinator, June '15 - April '16


How does the AM volunteer application process work?

AM has a thorough application process. It begins with an online questionnaire that must be filled out by all interested applicants. We are unable to offer all applicants an interview, but those who are selected to continue the application process will be interviewed via Skype. Applicants will be interviewed by the Country Director or the Site Director. After the interview, we will contact your references, and we will be in touch within at least two weeks regarding the status of your application. Please note, all candidates who are offered a position with Abriendo Mentes must also submit a Criminal Background Check before officially being accepted into the program. If you are accepted to join us, we ask that you either accept or decline within one week of receiving your acceptance email.

We aim to fill all positions 3-6 months in advance, so keep that in mind when applying. Occasionally we have last-minute openings; feel free to inquire.

Who is the average AM volunter?

Abriendo Mentes has enjoyed welcoming a large variety of volunteers over the last few years; whether you are a student or young professional and looking to gain experience, or an experienced professional or retiree seeking to apply your skills in a new environment, we strive to make your volunteer experience as meaningful and impactful as possible.

All ages and backgrounds are welcome to apply. Although the majority of volunteers are from the United States and Canada, we have also had a number of volunteers from all over the globe including England, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Austria and Chile.

All international volunteers and interns must be 18 years old or older, or otherwise accompanied by an adult. Local high school students living in Costa Rica are welcome to apply.

When can I come?

AM accepts long term volunteers for sessions that last 3-4 months – you must commit to at least one full session and we ask that you arrive early to attend our two-day orientation before the session begins. The 2016 program calendar is as follows:

Session 1: February 1st – May 20th, 2016 (Semana Santa Break: March 20th – March 28th)

Session 2: May 23rd – August 12th, 2016 (July Break: July 4th – July 17th)

Session 3: August 15th – December 16th, 2016 (October Break: October 8th – October 16th)

We also offer internships that last a minimum of 3 months. Ideally interns will stay for 6 months or more; start and end dates can be flexible. We also have opportunities for short term volunteers to join us for periods of 2 up to 6 weeks. Please check out our Current Opportunities page for detailed information about all of these positions.

If I am accepted for a position with Abriendo Mentes, what are your expectations of me?

Our team members are independent, take initiative and are willing to adapt to the changing needs of our organization. We want you to get as much as possible out of your time with us and if that means changing your role slightly during your time here, we can be flexible and hope that you can too. We will help you settle in and give you support but it is up to you to get involved, put your best foot forward and actively engage with us and the local community.

How much does it cost?

We greatly value the personal and financial sacrifices that volunteers and interns make to join our work here in Costa Rica. For this reason, we do not charge any program fees to long term volunteers or interns. We do not offer financial aid, and long term team members are responsible for paying their living costs while here, including housing, food, travel, and all other personal expenses. Some internship positions do include free accommodation. While we greatly value the contributions of short term volunteers, in order to help defray the administrative and program expenses of arranging opportunities for volunteers who commit to a 2 to 6 week stay, all short term volunteers are required to pay a$200USD contribution to Abriendo Mentes. This contribution is 100% tax deductible and short term volunteers are encouraged to fundraise to cover this cost.

For everyone considering joining our team, were are some guidelines for budgeting options:

Low Budget ($300-400/month) This will cover basic living expenses. Going to a restaurant or bar or any weekend travel would be a rare treat. Groceries would consist of the more basic staples found here (rice and beans for meals and bananas for snacks).

Midsize budget ($500-$600/month) This will cover the basic living expenses with some leisure activities and weekend travel. You will be able to afford more expensive groceries and a wider variety of foods. This is a comfortable budget that we recommend volunteers to plan for.

High Budget (Over $600/month) All expenses will be paid for, eating out and travel is easily affordable, and you may purchase more expensive brands of food including brands from the U.S.

Will Abriendo Mentes help arrange my housing?

Abriendo Mentes offers the following accommodation options for long term volunteers and interns: homestays with local families or a private room in a rented house that is shared with other volunteers. Homestays include breakfast and dinner each day and laundry service, and cost $15/day. A private room will be in a house owned by a local Costa Rican landlord and shared with 1-2 other volunteers/interns. Private rooms and utilities vary in cost from $170-$300/month. All housing arrangements will be secured prior to your arrival in Costa Rica.

For short term volunteers, we are happy to set up a homestay with a local family or recommend a list of local villas, hotels and B&B’s that you can contact to set up your own lodging. AM is not able to set up private apartments for short term volunteers.

We do our best to accommodate housing preferences, but we always ask that volunteers and interns remain flexible – depending on time constraints and other housing arrangements, volunteers and interns may not always live in their first choice of housing for the entirety of their stay.

Are there any health issues in Costa Rica I should be concerned about?

Water is potable and safe to drink throughout the country. There is no malaria in the northwestern coast of Costa Rica where we are located. Dengue fever and Chikungunya virus are present throughout the country, which are contractible though infected mosquitos. There is currently no vaccine available for either virus. Taking precautions such as using bug spray with DEET especially in the morning and late afternoon hours, wearing light-colored clothing, ensuring window and door screens are secure, etc. will greatly reduce the chances of contracting the viruses. Cases of dengue and chikungunya are not uncommon in the areas where we operate and you should consult with your doctor to determine if contracting either virus would cause you any serious health complications.

We are located in a rural, tropical area. During the dry season (November-August) there is a lot of dust in the air. If you have allergies, make sure to bring your medication(s).

Please visit your doctor or a travel doctor before arriving, and be sure to visit the CDC website to educate yourself on the most recent health updates and vaccination recommendations and/or requirements.

Is living and working in Potrero and Brasilito safe?

Yes. Potrero and Brasilito are both very safe, tranquil towns. We do encourage all volunteers and interns to use common sense in regards to their personal safety, but it is safe to travel alone and walk around at night. Most crimes that do occur in this area are crimes of opportunity, so always remember to lock your doors and keep your valuables in a safe, secure place.

Natural disasters do occur in Costa Rica, most of which are earthquakes. AM has emergency plans in place for natural disasters that all volunteers and interns will be trained on upon arrival.

What additional information and support is provided to help me prepare for my time with AM?

AM has a full-time, dedicated staff member available to help you prepare for your time in Costa Rica. This includes providing support and information related to flights, visas, shuttles, and how to get to Potrero and Brasilito as well as access to the AM Portal (which is an online resource for all volunteers and interns and includes information on what to pack, currency, local food, costs, etc.).