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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 10/26/2022

Creating a Nice Social Circle while Living Abroad

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

A big concern that many TEFL students have is "I don’t know anyone, and I'm worried about not making any friends while I'm abroad."

This concern is understandable, however, it is also easily dealt with if you have the right mind frame and attitude.

Making friends and building a social circle is actually much EASIER as an ESL teacher than it is living in your own country. Yes, everyone speaks English back home, so it is easier to communicate, HOWEVER, everyone is also relatively the same back home. You don’t stand out like you do here, therefore you have more to offer here in Costa Rica, just by being you. Just by being different and exotic. And yes! This also translates to finding a romantic partner.

Here are some reasons why it is easy to build a social circle and make friends as well as some reasons why it is easier than back home.

You ARE unique and even EXOTIC down here.  "Ticos" already have plenty of "tico" friends. The idea of adding a "gringo" friend to their social circle is very appealing to most ticos. Crazy as it might sound to us, there is also a certain amount of prestige of having "gringo" friends.

They can practice their English for free. Learning and practicing English is a HUGE deal to "ticos." That’s why there are so many jobs down here for teachers. English classes are expensive, so if "ticos" can get free practice in the bar with their "gringo" friend, it's so much the better for them. Yes, they are using us a little to get free practice, but whatever, most relationships in life are symbiotic.

"Ticos" truly and honestly like "gringos."  This is not always the case for ESL teachers in certain countries.

As a guy who has taught in many countries around the world, I can state the obvious that Americans, and guilt by association, Canadians are not always welcome in certain countries. I can honestly say that this is 100% not the case in Costa Rica. "Ticos" are extremely welcoming to every country, but it seems to me more so about "gringos." They are ridiculously warm towards us, and I have never met anyone in my 15 years here who had a negative view about American citizens. Maybe they don’t love our governments.  Maybe they think we are loud and goofy, but they never have negative feelings towards the citizens.

Being a teacher automatically brings you into the social circle of other teachers. There are tons of teachers down here doing the exact same thing you are doing. These teachers are always ready to bring a new friend into their social circle. These people have the same outlook on life, the same goals for being down here and the same mind frame that you have. I agree that you shouldn’t isolate yourself and ONLY hang out with other foreigners and other teachers, HOWEVER, it is great and necessary to have this support of like-minded friends that you can hang out with and share experiences with. Just try to get some local friends too.

Hanging out with your students. Most of the jobs in Costa Rica are teaching young and working adults. Therefore you will be hanging out, joking around and having a great time with fun, friendly locals every day in your classes. It is just natural that your students will want to extend this and want to hang out with you outside of class. You can easily, if you choose, have a great time hanging out with your students outside of your class. Many, many of my great friends during my travels were, at some point, my students.

So what are you waiting for?  Contact us to save your spot in one of our 4-week, onsite TEFL trainings in Costa Rica!  

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