Administrative Assistant Volunteer

Carlos Maria Ulloa Home for Elderly - San Jose, Costa Rica
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-378 Location: San Jose, Costa Rica Sector: Community Development Category: Organizational Support Min Duration: 2 weeks Lodging: BaseCamp or Host Family Language: Intermediate
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Volunteer Job Description

Carlos Maria Ulloa Elderly Care Home arose from the need to protect the “Golden Citizens” and provide a service that encourages the development of skills and abilities that enhance the quality of life of its residents; in a family atmosphere of tolerance and respect for the individuality of each person.

The Home is the residence for many low-income elderly people of Costa Rica. The organization is responsible for ensuring that the residents have the attention and medical, psychological and therapeutic care needed for people of this age group. Likewise, everyday there are activities that provide entertainment for the residents so their days can be occupied with enjoyable activities.

The Home has a population of over 100 residents and the staff are pressed to cover all the daily needs and care that these elderly people require and deserve. This is one of the reasons why the work of volunteers is essential to the daily operation of the Home.

An administrative assistant volunteer would communicate with the staff regarding the current filing system and unless otherwise directed, would continue to file relevant documents in the appropriate manner. Volunteers would also assist in entering documents in their database and would help with other administrative duties in all departments at Carlos Maria Ulloa Home for the Elderly.

An administrative assistant volunteer at this placement must know how to use a computer and be very organized. They do not require any special academic education or experience but should be people interested in the field of administration and accounting.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Updating Database

An administrative assistant volunteer would support the personnel in the main administration department by: updating resident´s documents, updating official documents related to donations, as well as recording all pertinent information into their database. Also, volunteers would help to update any medical information if it is required by the medical administration staff.

File Documents

An administrative assistant volunteer may be asked to help organize a new filing system for all the existing documents at this placement. They have very old, actual documents that relate back to their over 100 years of operation!

Accounting Department Support

An administrative assistant volunteer may be asked to help the accounting department by: calling suppliers, paying bills or making appointments with actual or future donors. The storage department is managed by the accounting department so volunteers may be asked to help with organizing the stock or doing an inventory of the supplies.

Staff Time Off

An administrative assistant volunteer would be asked to cover the time off of the receptionist and the administration secretary. Volunteers duties may include answering the central phone or the director's secretary's phone and/or may include calling re appointments.

Host Organization Details

Carlos Maria Ulloa Home for Elderly

El Hogar Carlos Maria Ulloa is a nonprofit institution founded over hundred and thirty years ago in order to make room for the elderly who for one reason or another need of a place with love, commitment and care.

This organization strives to provide comprehensive care that meets the needs of the elderly population from all over the country and it serves; in a family environment, with tolerance and respect for the individuality of each person and to encourage the development of abilities and skills that enhance quality of life.

Their mission is to provide a comprehensive care of the elderly, whose pillars are the welcoming and respect the individuality of each person, thereby enhancing their quality of life.

And their vision is to provide a family atmosphere of acceptance and respect, which fully addresses on the needs of the elderly and boost their skills for a better quality of life.

They have their on residence staff who take care of the "Golden Adults"; name given to the people older than sixty five years old in Costa Rica, on medical and nursing areas, dentistry and health dental education, barber and haircuts services, physical therapy, psicology, social work, nutrition, recreational and occupational therapy. They also provide transportation to the main hospital when elders need to be check on a specific medical area or surgery requested.

Does this organization have any religious affiliations?

Yes, the organization is based on the Catholism since it is administrated by nuns.

When They Were Founded

This home for the elderly is named after Carlos María Ulloa, who with the help of Bishop Thiel, provided assistance to the needy, elderly, chronically ill and disabled in San Jose - most of whom were abandoned by their families. He passed away on March 2, 1903 at the age of 70, after initiating a number of establishment for the protection of the disabled and infirm, He founded the society of St.Vincent de Paul, which encouraged the ladies of the society on 1877 to build a home for the elder population.

Who They Work With

This organization serves the community members of San Jose. Their energy is focused on providing support and assistance for the elderly, when they can no longer care for themselves. Most of the residents are above the age of sixty-five who can no longer care for themselves. However, there are also some younger residents with various developmental or physical disabilities residing at the the home as well.

These communities of people need the support of this home as many of them would be homeless without the loving care offered by this foundation. These people are abandoned for many reasons, the main one being poverty. More than a quarter of the residents of the greater San Jose area live at or below the international poverty line. These families simply cannot afford to feed and to provide sufficient care for their elderly relatives. There are some residents whose families are able to pay for some or all of their care. These residents are contributing to the ability of the organization to care for those who cannot pay.

How Are They Funded

They received funds from the goverment and private institutions annually but they also organize activities like bingos in order to collect more resources to manage the needs of the institution.

Donation Requests

This organizations would appreciate donations of paint for the home for the elderly, craft supplies, gently used or new clothing, canned and/or dried goods.

Placement Location Information

San Jose, Costa Rica

Elderly Home Carlos Maria Ulloa was built between 1893 and 1896 but it has been repaired and remodeled through the years with funds from the government and donations from local and international companies.

The home is located at a 6 hectares property, which has several buildings that are distributed into the different departments: seven dinning areas with their kitchen equipped with industrial appliances to cover the total population of the home, one laundry area with six industrial washing machines, one big TV room, one library, one building for the resident staff, one catholic church, one office for the main doctor and nurses and two buildings exclusive for the home residence and a lot of green area with ornamental flower so the people can be in contact with nature.

The home is very close to downtown San José; five minutes away but the closer area offers several services for the local population of Guadalupe that they do not need to go to downtown. There are several stores of all type, restaurants, banks, several supermarket and parks.

Transfer From BaseCamp

There are two ways to get to the placement; walking or by bus.

If you decide to walk, you will need to walk from the center to Los Yoses central avenue, turn left one block and turn right, walk 4 blocks and then you need to turn ledt again and keep walking 6 blocks. At Santa Teresita Church turn right and walk 500 meters south.

By bus, you will need to take a bus to San José downtown and get off the the last bus stop. Once in San Jose walk one block to central avenue, turn left, walk 2 blocks west and 2 blocks north. Take any bus to Guadalupe and get of at Centro Comercial de Guadalupe, Carlos Maria Ulloa is located right next to it.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 4 km
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 0:30

Weather in the Area

San José City lies in the Torrid Zone and is in a tropical rainforest. However its elevation gives it a mild climate. Under the Köppen climate classification it features a tropical wet climate that borders on a subtropical highland climate.

The temperature ranges between 17 and 30 °C (63 and 86 °F). Relative humidity averages 68.2% (with extremes of 55% in March and 78% in October) and the daily range tends to be between 60% and 90%, with the humidity typically dropping to the lower end of this range near mid-day and rising again during the night.

It rains on an average of 170 days per year but half the rainfall pours down on only 15 of these days. The rainy season is from May to mid-November, but cloudiness and rainfall can occur during the dry season. There are approximately 2040 hours of sunshine per year. The weather is also very windy.

City/Village Description

San Jose is situated in the central valley and is home to one third of the population of Costa Rica. It is the political, transportation, and entertainment centre.

San Jose is a hub of art, culture, and international events. There is a large system of inter-city parks, full of rare breeds of trees and plants, as well as statues of important figures in Costa Rican history. Festivals happen regularly, providing a unique look into contemporary Costa Rican culture. There are many opportunities in San Jose to learn to salsa, meringue or samba. San Jose has some incredible restaurants serving local and international fare, and has several cinemas showing Latin American films. The night life in San Jose is happening, and there are many great clubs in which to dance the night away.

San Jose, is a fascinating city from a political perspective: as the only democratic nation to decline a national army (instead choosing to allocate funds to public health care), the capital has long been a centre for Central American peace talks and forums. A politically active city, San José, serves as the headquarters for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Hospital Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia
Streets 7 - 9
Avenues 17 - 19
San Jose
TEL 1: 22577922

Placement Address

Carlos Maria Ulloa Home for Elderly
From Incurables Bridge 50 Meters North
San Jose
Costa Rica

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Costa Rica at our BaseCamp Center in San Jose. Given that this placement is less than a 1 hour and 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers working here will have the option of living with us at BaseCamp or living with a host family.

The following information outlines a brief description of life at BaseCamp and also what someone can expect living with a host family in Costa Rica. Once you have completed our application, you can let our staff know if you would prefer to live with a host family. Otherwise, your application will default to having you live with us at BaseCamp.

If you have any questions about the difference between life at BaseCamp or life with a host family in Costa Rica you can always give us a call or send us an email. Our contact details are listed in the footer of every page of the site.

BaseCamp Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica
BaseCamp Costa Rica Address

Ave 16 St. 39&41
Los Yoses Sur
San Jose, Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica Contact Details

Tel: 506-8763-9595
Tel: 506-4030-1891
Mobile: 506-8763-9595

Take a Tour of BaseCamp
Accommodation in Costa Rica

All volunteers on our program in Costa Rica start out at our BaseCamp Center. The center is located in the capital city San Jose, and is a fantastic place from which to start your adventure.

Once volunteers have finished their orientation, where they live depends largely on the location of their placement. If their placement is more than a 1 hour 15 minutecommute from BaseCamp, then the only accommodation option may be host families or volunteer lodges in the national parks. However, if the placement is within a 1 hour 15 minute commute, then volunteers can choose whether or not to stay with us at BaseCamp or live with a host family.

BaseCamp Costa Rica is located in the province of San Jose at Los Yoses area. This is a fantastic area closed to the University of Costa Rica, San Pedro Mall, banks, supermarkets, restaurants, embassies and stores. Walking distance to down town and only 30 minutes away from the Juan Santamaria Airport.

BaseCamp has four bedrooms and three wash-rooms. The beds are mainly bunk beds in dormitory style rooms. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. There is a large common area where movies, books and games are available to our guests and there is a patio with a nice set up. This is an ideal setting for reading, studying Spanish or just some quiet relaxation.

BaseCamp is where volunteers first come when they arrive in Costa Rica and where they live for at least the duration of their orientation and training. The meal plan at the centre is based on a 14 day rotating schedule of a variety of traditional dishes from around the country. This meal plan allows volunteers to gain comfort and familiarity with both Costa Rican food and meal etiquette before making the transition to living with a host family.

Orientation and language training sessions take place in the BaseCamp Center. Each day of orientation blends some workshops and lessons with a mixture of outings to explore and become familiar with transportation and knowledge regarding the city.

Living With a Host Family in Costa Rica

Living with a host family in Costa Rica is a fantastic way to gain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the people and customs of the country. Each home-stay will provide a bed and three meals per day for our volunteers. The majority of host families offer private rooms with only one or two volunteers living with the family.

In the case of a volunteer lodge or ranger station (which is often the only option for placements within a National Park), volunteers will be living in dormitory type accommodation and meals will be provided in a mess hall or dining area.

Living with a host family can greatly enhance your performance at your placement. For one, it will have a huge influence on the speed with which you gain familiarity with the local language. This, along with your deeper understanding of cultural practices and beliefs that you are likely to gain in this environment, can go a long way to improving or strengthening your relationships with your team mates at work. Furthermore, a significant percentage of our host families are closely affiliated with the organizations with which our volunteers work. As such, even the evening meal or hanging out around the house can become valuable time during which volunteers can share their ideas and continue their support of their host organization.

All of this being said, living with a host family is not for everyone. It is very important for volunteers to honor the house rules in their host family and to be punctual. Also, depending on how remote your placement location, host families can be very rustic. Our staff in country can give you a better idea of what exactly you can expect from a host family in any particular community. However, in general, if these things sound like they might pose a challenge for you, we strongly suggest that you look at a placement within commuting distance from BaseCamp Costa Rica.

How the Program Works

Our program structure and costing is completely flexible which lets our volunteers ensure that they only pay for exactly the degree of support that they want.

Option 1 - Free Services

Some volunteers prefer to coordinate their own accommodation, meals and other support while overseas.

Anyone is welcome to use our volunteer placement search tool to help in finding a placement that is well suited to their interests. Once someone finds a placement that they wish to work with, they are welcome to make all the rest of their arrangmeents on their own.

As well, our team of staff overseas are often able to offer a few helpful pointers for volunteers 'doing it on their own'. Just send us an email with your questions and we will put you in touch with our team abroad. We only ask that you keep your requests fairly general, as this type of advice is exactly how our team earn their living. :)

Option 2 - Placement Support - 250 USD

Other volunteers would like assistance in selecting and confirming their placement, but they plan to manage their own accommodation and other expenses on their own.

These volunteers have the option of choosing to only have our assistance with selecting and confirming their placement. This option also includes ongoing placement support while abroad, so a volunteer would be able to ask our team for help if things at their placement were not working out.

In providing Placement Support, our team works with each volunteer through email, telephone and either Skype or Google Hangouts, to ensure that each volunteer has a clear understanding of their placement options. Our in-country staff will put together a custom list of placement options for each volunteer that they believe are the most appropriate matches with the volunteer's background, skills and interests. Then each volunteer can work with our team both in Canada and abroad to go through each of the options and narrow-down their selection.

Option 3 - Full Program Support

For most volunteers who are volunteering for less than a year, they are looking for an option that includes their accommodation, meals, airport reception, country and program orientation and placement support. This is what our Program Fees are designed for.

We are proud of how over the years we have ensured that our program fees are amoungst the most reasonable of any program in the world while we continue to provide exceptional volunteer support both at home and abroad.

Our Program Fees and listings of what these do and do not include are listed below:

Program Fees

Program Fees - Costa Rica

  Registration Fee
  1 Week
  2 Weeks
  3 Weeks
  4 Weeks
  5 Weeks
  6 Weeks
  7 Weeks
  8 Weeks
  Additional Weeks

Costa Rica wildlife and conservation placements require an additional $7 USD per day fee to cover park fees and accommodation. All program fees are listed in US Dollars.

What is Included
  • Pre-Departure support
  • Placement consulation
  • Airport reception & transfer
  • 2 Day orientation
  • Accommodation (BaseCamp or host family)
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Emergency & placement support

What is Not Included
    Before Departure
  • International flight
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Visa costs where required
  • Work permits where required
    While Overseas
  • Daily transportation to and from placement
  • Transport to airport on departure
  • Placement fees if requried

Program Dates

Our regularly scheduled program start dates are the first Friday of each month, every month of the year. We strongly recommend beginning your program on one of these dates as this will allow you to go through our orientation alongside other international volunteers.

If you would prefer, our application will also allow you to select a custom start date for your program. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee for a custom start date which ranges from 50 to 75 USD.

Dec 03, 2021 Jan 07, 2022 Feb 04, 2022
Mar 04, 2022 Apr 01, 2022 May 06, 2022
Jun 03, 2022 Jul 01, 2022 Aug 05, 2022
Sep 02, 2022 Oct 07, 2022 Nov 04, 2022
Dec 02, 2022 Jan 06, 2023 Feb 03, 2023
Mar 03, 2023 Apr 07, 2023 May 05, 2023
Jun 02, 2023 Jul 07, 2023 Aug 04, 2023
Sep 01, 2023 Oct 06, 2023 Nov 03, 2023


These dates are the day that volunteers should plan to arrive on the ground in country. We can accommodate arrivals in-country at any time day or night on these dates.

Give us a Call
Canada / USA 866-646-4693 (toll free)
UK 866-646-4693 (toll free)
Australia 866-646-4693 (toll free)
International 613-353-3000
Send us a Message