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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 12/23/2022

7 Myths that Keep Retirees from Considering Teaching ESL

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

Teaching English is an amazing way to travel and experience new cultures in a way that goes way past the traditional travel packages and hotel stays. People become immersed in the community, truly getting to know the people, food, traditions and culture in a way that just passing through cannot compete with. It's financially cheaper allowing retirees to keep more or ALL of their retirement savings in the bank, and allows them to stay active in the community, working as much or as little as they want. So many chances to explore and live in exotic tropical places!  

However, unfortunately, many retirees don't even consider the idea because of myths and misinformation or unwarranted fear. Here are 5 myths that keep many retirees from having this amazing experience.

1 - I don't speak Spanish.
You do not need to speak Spanish to teach English. In fact, you are not allowed to speak Spanish in your classes. You will learn in our course how to teach students that don't speak English. Granted, learning Spanish will help you in your day-to-day life, and you will improve just by living here. However, you can learn at your own pace. It feels good to learn and improve and the locals are very appreciative of your efforts. You should at least try, however, if it's not your forte, don't fret. There a LOT of retirees here that speak very little Spanish and live just fine. 

Why Should Retirees Consider teaching English?

2 - I can't picture myself in front of 30 kids.
Me neither. Ha ha! I prefer teaching adults. Luckily for me, most jobs in Costa Rica are teaching English to working adults. Classes of 6-10 students that are all motivated, paying for the classes, wanting to learn. Really the ideal classroom scenario which is why fell in love with ESL 20 years ago. A lot of them will become your friends, and you will hang out with them outside of the classroom. Grabbing beers, going to games, and being invited to their social/family parties. All these situations are more than common for an English teacher. Most of my Costa Rican friends are former students. Teaching six adults in a friendly chilled environment, laughing, getting to know each other, having fun, and then on top of that you feel great because you are teaching them something they want and need to know..... It's not really work. There are absolutely jobs available for those who prefer to teach kids, so if that is your preference, you will be in high demand.

Who Takes the TEFL Course in Costa Rica?

3 - I am too old to find work or take the course.
Some countries are biased based on age, however, Costa Rica does not have this mentality. It is very common for people in their 50's and 60's to take our course and work in Costa Rica. In each course we usually have 4 or 5 people in their 50's or 60's. All of them fear expect that they will be the only one and then are shocked to see that it is actually quite common. Some of the schools we deal with specifically ask to see if we have older teachers graduating, They prefer to deal with more mature teachers and feel they bring more prestige to the school.

4 - I won't make friends.
Nothing further from the truth. First, you will meet amazing people in your class. People your own age plus the young ones are fun to hang out with. So many of our older grads are shocked at how much fun the millennials are and how easy it is to become their friends. You are all in the same boat, doing the same thing, experiencing the same emotions so it's natural to bond with your fellow classmates. Plus, you will meet fellow expats living in Costa Rica, including a ton of retirees who like you wanted to try something new and live in a tropical paradise. And if that wasn't enough, you will meet a bunch great locals both students and "ticos" you get to know in your daily life.

How to Make Friends with Locals when Living Abroad

5 - I won't have health care.
Costa Rica has great health care and very affordable. In fact many Americans fly down to Costa Rica to have procedures and fly back, because even with flights and hotels, it is STILL cheaper than getting it done in the States. Also, for as little as $50 a month, you can have travel health insurance which will get you into the private hospitals and get premier service.  Here is more info about health care concerns for teachers.

6 - It's too expensive.
Living in Costa Rica doesn't mean flying through your savings, in fact, it can actually stretch out those savings/ pensions, allowing them to last much longer than they would in the States. A $2000 pension check in the States will last you till next Tuesday. That same check in Costa Rica will last you 2 MONTHS! The average Costa Rican salary is around $900/month. By teaching only 10-15 hours per week, you can be in a situation where you don't need to touch much of your savings/pensions. Teaching 18-25 hours, and you don't have to touch them at all!

Normal rent per person is around $300/month. For those thinking of buying, you can get a nice house for as little as $70,000 and with $100,000 you have a really nice place.

Budgeting in Costa Rica

7 - 
I don't have a degree so I won't get hired.
In many schools a degree is not necessary. They are more interested in your charisma and life experience than a degree. 

Don't let these myths prevent you from living your best life! Contact us today to sign up for the 4-week TEFL course!

Costa Rica Teaching Q&A With Judy

Costa Rica Q&A With Joy

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