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Intern Program

The Program
As our business has grown, so have the needs and complexity of our services. We began to realize that our students needed more attention and time than we could provide. After all, somebody has to man the phones, send the information, and wheel and deal for the greater good. Some of our students also needed a chance to sharpen their skills as linguists and discover the depths of their human resources. So, we decided to create an intern program that would allow our past students to sharpen their skills while revisiting Costa Rica.

The ISLS internship program started in the summer of 1995 with Tony Byrd, a teacher from Los Angeles. Tony was a former ISLS student who wanted the experience of working in Costa Rica before starting his Masters program at Stanford University. Lea Tan, an International Business major from San Diego State University, was our first intern to receive college credit meeting an academic requirement. In the summer of 1996 fully two years after we opened our office and student guesthouse in San Jose, we had three different interns with us. Kurt Castellano, Renee Gold and Katherine Gill. Katherine also received credit for her time working with us.

Over the subsequent years we have had over 15 former students take part in the internship program. Most interns have been with us during our busy summer season, but a few, such as Lauri Raho stayed with us as long as a year. We plan to continue this program for as long as we are in business. It is a win-win-win situation where we as a company win, our interns win, and most of all our students win!

The internship program was established to give our past students an opportunity to live and work in Costa Rica, giving them an opportunity to apply their knowledge of Spanish to an actual working environment.

Intern Supervisor
Walt Garrison, is the coordinator of the internship program in Costa Rica. He will assign each intern their job responsibilities and will meet with them once a week to evaluate their work. Also, our office manager Francini works closely with all of the interns. At the end of the program each intern will receive a letter grade, a certificate of completion, and a letter of recommendation to attach to their resume.

Job Description
An intern will work between 45-50 hours a week with one day off. An intern will have a variety of duties covering three main areas of responsibility:

  1. Clerical Work: Answer phones, organize and update student files, attend staff meeting, assist students who come by the office or call, translate documents, and schedule events.
  2. Field Work: Attend welcome dinners, supervise tours, visit and prepare an evaluation of one school a week, and talk with students, teachers, and administrators.
  3. Hospitality: Meet with students, coordinate after school activities, share the household duties with other interns, and prepare rooms for students.

Who is eligible for the Intern Program?
All former ISLS students are eligible to participate in our Intern Program. Any student that would like to apply for the position needs to send us a resume as well as a letter detailing why they want to become an intern. Each year we choose one or two former students for the summer high season.

What an Intern receives for his or her time in the Program.
All interns are given room and board during the time that they are interns in our San Jose office. They also get to attend many different tours and activities such as river rafting, zip lining and horseback riding trips. This is not a paid position and we do not supply the flight to and from Costa Rica.

If you are a former ISLS student and thinking about going back to Costa Rica for an extended period of time, we would like to invite you to join our team as an intern. Please send all necessary information to Dana Garrison at He will forward all inquires to our office in San Jose. You will be notified within 30 days if you have been accepted. If you do get accepted we will then work out all the details of your trip and internship experience.

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