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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 02/26/2023

Where are they now? - Ben

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

Have you wondered how teaching English abroad will affect your life and your career?  Our grad Ben took our 4-week, onsite TEFL course in June 2016 and is now back in the United States.  See how the course and his time abroad has changed his life!

Where are you living and working (studying) now?

I live in Columbus, Ohio where I work as a Spanish Bilingual Assistant in a public school system. I am lucky to continue working with language learners and their families from all over the world. I am also currently working on my Masters in TESOL through a local university and should be finished Summer 2020.

When did you take your TEFL course in Costa Rica?

June 2016

What is your favorite memory of your time in Costa Rica?
It's hard to declare one memory as my favorite...there were so many. I think the best part of the experience overall was getting out of my comfort zone, and overcoming the challenges along the way. Many people were skeptical of my decision to go abroad and teach - sometimes myself included - so it was a great feeling to eventually know I made the right choice. That country welcomed me with open arms and I will forever be grateful for it. It was the perfect place to start my TEFL journey. 

When and where did you teach abroad?
I taught in Barva, Costa Rica from July 2016 - July 2017 and Pichilemu, Chile from July 2017 - December 2017.

What is your favorite memory of teaching abroad?
Once again, it's really hard to pick just one memory but overall, the immersion in a new culture/environment is what stands out. The highs include befriending locals, learning about the culture(s), and the process of becoming comfortable teaching different levels of language learners. It's funny because my favorite memories are actually from the low moments...the times when I asked myself, "What the hell am I doing here?" Those are the experiences that I look back on and am grateful for because they were so rewarding to overcome. My first day on the job in Costa Rica I walked 2km to class with a backpack full of textbooks in the pouring rain because of a collapsed road. In Chile, I got stranded in the Andes for 28 hours because of snow and a water system issue that closed the border. The highs were great, but the lows are what really make it all worth doing.

What did you learn during your time abroad?
Patience, respect, and how to keep an open mind. The locals I met across Latin America are incredible people and they welcomed me with open arms. I think a lot of people could learn from that.

How have your TEFL course and your time teaching abroad affected your current job, life, etc.? 

I can honestly say the TEFL course completely shaped what my life is today, and what it will be in the foreseeable future. When I finished college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and was struggling to pick a career path to follow. Once I made the decision to go to Latin America to teach, everything started coming together and making sense. The course in Barva was incredible and I learned so much from Luke and Melanie. I owe them for everything they taught me about what it means to teach English. 

I still use many of the activities and insight I gained during their course in my classroom today. Like many people who go abroad to teach, I initially planned on spending six months to a year there, then head back home to figure out what to do next. From early on it was obvious that I would stray far away from that initial goal and I eventually decided that I wanted to work with English learners for years to come. As of now, I realistically don't see myself doing anything else.

What would you recommend for others considering taking the TEFL course and teaching ESL abroad?

Do it. Keep an open mind and enjoy the ride. 

Now is the time for you to join our alumni family by taking one of our 4-week, onsite TEFL courses in Costa Rica?  Contact us today!

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