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Teaching Internships and TEFL/TESOL Certification in Costa Rica:
Mason Study Abroad partners with TravelBud
to place students in a 2-month summer internship program in San Ramon, Costa Rica. Students spend one month completing a TEFL/TESOL certification course alongside non-Mason students and teach in several different English camps/schools for the second month. During the course, students will study and work five days per week while living in shared housing. Once at their teaching placements, students will typically live in their own private room. Students will gain valuable global work experience and professional skills while learning teaching strategies and having the opportunity to teach English or the STEM subject they are studying. There are also invaluable opportunities for intercultural learning and self-discovery which students will gain throughout this experience. They do all of this while also earning resident Mason credit, and enjoying the culturally rich, beautiful sites in Costa Rica. During the two-month program, TravelBud and its partner staff offer student support services in-country, such as an in-depth culture and language orientation, many group activities, 24/7 staff support, cultural excursions, and more.
This program partners with a company run by a Mason alumnus and students receive strong support, feedback, and guidance from staff throughout the two months. Prior teaching experience is not required and students from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply: Education, English, Global Affairs, any Social Sciences, Communications, Business, Sciences, Computer Science, Engineering, and Math (any STEM degrees). Based on individual degrees and strengths, students would teach either English or subjects related to a STEM major.
Why TEFL/TESOL Certification
Students who choose this teaching internship have the opportunity to develop specific skills to compete in the global market, including gaining an internationally accredited TEFL/TESOL certificate, teaching an area of study related to their career interests, and learning to creatively problem solve in the classroom, and in any future career field.
Why Costa Rica
San Ramon is a small town, northeast of Puntarenas and a short trip from the Pacific Coast of the island. One route runs north out of town towards Volcan Arenal, a famed tourist destination. For those seeking adventure, nearby Parque Nacional Isla del Coco is home to a huge variety of wildlife, and one of the top destinations in the world for scuba diving. Visit San Jose to see a show at Teatro Nacional, or shop for souvenirs at Mercado Central. Whatever your interests, Costa Rica is sure to be an exciting destination for you.
This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students who:
- Are 20 years old or older by the start date of the program
- Meet the GPA requirement
- Are able to complete an intensive teaching program which includes standing in front of a classroom for the duration of an hour-long period and facilitating physical classroom activities
- Are able to adapt to new and challenging circumstances
- Can pass a background check
Graduate students should contact the GoIntern@gmu.edu
to inquire about graduate GPA and credit requirements before enrolling in the program.
- Default Credit:
- Integrative Studies (INTS) 390 - International Internship (6 credits)- The INTS 390 course fulfills the Global Understanding Mason Core requirement.
- Or Conflict Analysis & Resolution (CONF) 370 - Internship Field Experience (6 credits)
Graduate: Graduate credit may be available for this internship study abroad program, contact GoIntern@gmu.edu
for more information.
Students can request alternate credits in their course of study through our Course Equivalency and Registration System but approval is based on each department’s requirements.
Check out our Course Evaluation and Registration
to learn more about requesting course equivalency and to create a Plan of Study.
Note for School of Business Applicants:
The School of Business has a specific credit policy for internships for their majors which excludes internships that are not offered in the School of Business from a student’s degree. Students with a major in the School of Business have the following options:
- Enroll in a School of Business internship course (this requires you to meet their qualifications). You will be responsible for the tuition for that course and the GEO Internship program fee.
- Earn INTS 390 or CONF 370 credit but the credits will not apply to your Business degree. You will fulfill your Global Understanding Mason Core requirement. You will be responsible only for the GEO Internship program fee.
- Earn internship course credits towards your minor. The GEO internship credits will apply to electives in the minor. Consult with your minor department to discuss if they will count prior to participation.
Either way, you are encouraged to talk to your academic advisor about this now to make the most informed decision for you.
The TEFL/TESOL course consists of 120 hours of instruction through an internationally accredited certification program. When students arrive in Costa Rica, they take part in a week-long orientation during which they are immersed in local culture and receive a program introduction. Students learn both the theory and practice of effective teaching strategies, which they can apply to their own classroom. While taking these classes, students meet with staff for feedback and discuss their future teaching placements, which are guaranteed as part of the program. Students may teach English as a foreign language or a specific STEM subject that they are studying, which are also needed in local schools in English.
Students will teach at multiple English camps and schools, all of which have longstanding partnerships with TravelBud and have been vetted thoroughly to ensure a quality teaching placement. During the 1 month of teaching, students will be checked in on by staff and receive support throughout. There are also additional travel opportunities that TravelBud can assist with on weekends and ways to connect online as a group.
Students should contact the Program Administrator about the type of teaching opportunities in their area of study and about the complete support services offered during the program before enrolling in a Global Education Office internship program. When contacting the Administrator and when creating your Personal Statement, include your major, career goals, and what knowledge you wish to gain from this experience.
Interns stay in shared housing in San Ramon with other teachers during the TEFL/TESOL course. This is also helpful for sharing teaching ideas and growing a support network as students develop lesson plans. TravelBud staff will assist students in securing housing near their respective teaching placements and help them settle in to their new home. Housing details vary by location.
Summer 2021: $3300
Summer 2022: Coming soon!
The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges are put on your student account for this course, a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge, which together equal the published Program Cost for this course.
- Tuition (6 credits)
- Shared housing during orientation and teaching
- 120 hours of TEFL/TESOL instruction and a certification
- In-depth Costa Rican culture and Spanish language orientation
- Cultural excursions
- Internship placement teaching at a school
- Airport pickup upon arrival
- Transfer to San Ramon for TESOL course and to internship placement thereafter
- Fluent English on-site support
- Pre-Departure Orientation including cultural activities
- Pre-departure guidance and support
- 24/7 in-country support
- International Emergency Medical Insurance
- Visa fees if needed
- International airfare
- Personal expenses
- Meals during teaching
- Return shuttle to San Jose airport (but TravelBud staff can provide suggestions)
- Passport fees
- Covid-19 testing
*Note: This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email. The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to meet the group. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights. When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will be recommending the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance.
The full program fee is charged to your Mason Student Account. Students pay the Global Education Office (GEO) Program Fee as advertised in two payments (Application Deposit + Final Payment).
Application Deposit: A $200 non-refundable Application Deposit must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.
Final Payment: The final balance payment is made through the Mason Bill + Payment system. Payment is due according to the Mason Payment Schedule. The amount due is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $200 Application Deposit you will have already paid.
• You can make your final payment in the Mason Bill + Payment system even if you do not see the GEO program charge on your Student Account.
• George Mason University applies payments to outstanding charges first. If you have an outstanding balance from a previous semester, your payments will first go to paying that charge. You will still be responsible for the GEO charge.
In most cases, financial aid (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans) can be used to finance study abroad. It is the student’s responsibility to check with the Office of Financial Aid to review their financial aid package. The Office of Financial Aid is the only office that can determine your aid eligibility.
Meeting with your financial aid officer prior to applying to study abroad will help you understand if, how much, and when your aid can be used to study abroad.
Confirmation of your financial aid award may not be available until registration and billing for the term in question is final. If aid eligibility changes, or the amount of aid disbursed is lower than anticipated, students are responsible for all remaining account balances or risk late fees, holds on their accounts, and program dismissal.
To assist students in the processing of their financial aid, GEO will communicate with the Office of Financial Aid those students who plan to utilize financial aid for their specific study abroad program through their application with GEO. Please note there is no guarantee to students that their aid can be utilized for their specific study abroad program.
If you plan to use federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans to finance your study abroad, you must:
• Mark “Yes” to “Do you plan to use Financial Aid to finance your program (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans)?” in your profile in MasonAbroad.gmu.edu.
•Complete the Financial Aid questionnaire item in your application.
• Schedule an appointment with your financial aid officer.
* Students must be enrolled at least half-time for federal loans and the majority of grant funds. Please refer to the Financial Aid website for a definition of half-time for undergraduate and graduate students.
VA Benefits: This program is ineligible for VA Benefits.
Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.
For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:
GEO offers a number of need-based and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:
Application Deadline: February 10, 2022
Note: There are limited spots for this program. Please apply early.
Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.
Mandatory Meeting: With Experiential Programs Administrator
Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.
Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.
Personal Statement: Your personal statement is a letter given to a potential internship host along with your resume. A personal statement is your chance to describe and give examples of the skills you possess and to give a potential internship host a better idea your goals and interests. As you are writing your statement, think of your audience - your potential employer abroad.
Resume/CV: Your resume (Curriculum Vitae or CV) is given to a potential internship host along with your personal statement.
Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.
Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:
Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.
Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.
* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.