Costa Rica – ahh, Pura Vida!


I’ve been contemplating various possible opportunities to keep me busy after I graduate… in other words, I’m not only looking for a job, but I’m also looking into opportunities abroad. Peace Corps or Global Deaf Connection, anyone?

Of course, the one problem with Peace Corps or Global Deaf Connection (and with the many job posting announcements out there) is that there seems to be openings mainly for teachers, teachers, teachers. I think teachers are incredibly important and I’m happy there are so many openings available – but I’m not qualified to be a teacher. I’ve received no training, and if I went ahead and applied for one of those positions abroad, I’d do a lousy job because I’m not qualified. Yet I’d still love to go abroad.

Peace Corps… They have that Kenyan Sign Language project ongoing, and it’d be worth looking into to see if there’s any openings that fit what I can contribute. There’s the question of whether there is anything available for my qualifications and the other question of whether Kenya is still safe – there was some major turmoil going on over there, and would I be safe as a blonde, blue-eyed American woman?

Global Deaf Connection… Jamaica, mon! Why not?! They are currently seeking volunteers to go teach English this summer. Again, i’ve no training in teaching, and it’s only for a month… I want to find something that would last me maybe a year. Hmm.

This is making me want to contact the Deaf community in Costa Rica and see whether there is anything for me down there, just so I can go back. After my four-month stint there in 2004, I’ve craved to return, and stay for a good length of time. Costa Rica was a place of personal growth for me and the Deaf community there is just amazing – they are strong people, they are smart people, they are determined people, they are proud people (proud of country, proud of heritage, proud of Deaf community) and they are FUN people 🙂 I really enjoyed my internship at the school in Cartago and it makes me wonder if there is anything available for me should I return.

I went to Costa Rica for my undergraduate internship, through the Foreign Languages and Culture department. My major was Psychology and I was also minoring in Spanish, and the Costa Rica Internship program is open to all majors. I wanted to go abroad and meet my internship requirement at the same time… so to make a long story short, I ended up in Costa Rica with three other Gallaudet undergraduae students and did my internship at the Cartago day school for the Deaf. I also took Spanish classes with Deaf teachers and learned LESCO, Costa Rica’s sign language (Lenguaje de Senas Costarricanese). I also got to interact plenty with the Deaf community through various events and trips around the country. I got to travel throughout the country during my stay in Costa Rica and see what the country is all about.

One of the many examples of Costa Rica’s amazing biodiversity!

Mi mama y tia, Liliana y Maria Julia

Deaf students celebrating Independence Day with other San Jose students

Polly wanna cracker? San Carlos…

Puerto Viejo… Easily one of my favorite spots in the country.

One of the MANY iguanas – in Manuel Antonio

Some of the amazing students I worked with at Cartago’s school for the Deaf 🙂

Traditional coffee-maker – and I happily give Costa Rica all credit for my current coffee addiction!

This is definitely a spiritual country.

I’m not crazy about cities, but it helps that Costa Rica’s cites are incredibly green 🙂

I could go on an on with all the pictures and stories I have from Costa Rica… They wouldn’t do any justice.

Pura vida, indeed! I think I’ll email some people over there now.


6 Responses to “Costa Rica – ahh, Pura Vida!”

  1. ecointeractive Says:

    We enjoyed the photographs, thank you for sharing them.

  2. Melissa Says:

    Hey, I just stubled upon this post when I googled deaf in Costa Rica. I am hearing but have been studying ASL for about 3 years now. I absolutely love the language. I just got back from a trip to Costa Rica and fell in love with the country. I really hope to go back there some day and possibly do full time missions work there. On my plane ride back to the states I met a deaf family from CR and CR sign didnt seem too too different from ASL, seeing as they understood everything I said and even gave me a name sign. :-). I was just wondering what you knew about the deaf community there. I would love to hear all about it. You can email me at Thanks!

  3. Julie Says:

    Can you get me in touch with some over there? I am a sign language interpreter, but I would love to learn Spanish and LESCO!!! I went to Costa Rica a couple years ago and loved the country and the people. Please contact me to let me know of ANY information to get in touch with someone that can accommodate this type of experience. Thank you!!!

    • gallaudetblog Says:

      Hi Julie,
      Check out our First Year Study Tour website at These students went to Costa Rica for an 8-day study tour. There are sample LESCO lessons on the site. Under the FAQs there is a response for whom to contact. This would be a good start.

      Best wishes on your journey to learn Spanish and LESCO.
      Debra Lawson
      Enrollment Marketing
      Gallaudet University

  4. Kevin Says:

    Hello! I googled costa rica deaf community because I am going down to CR in February and I wanted to hang out with the deaf community there. I know they speak LESCO but I just wanted to go because I need the challenge again. I’m a student of ASL and nearing the end of my students. Why am I tell you this? I’m wondering if there is someone who might be an “ambassador” person who might be willing to introduce a hearing ASL person studying Espanol. Got any ideas?


  5. Chuck Says:

    Im moving to Costa Rica soon, and if anyone knows where the deaf hang out at or how to contact deaf or hard of hearing in Costa Rica Please, Please let me know ok. Email me Thanks

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