Posted 07/15/2019

Costa Rica Teaching Q&A with Jayne

Costa Rica Teaching Q&A with Jayne

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF

What is your citizenship?

American

What city and state are you from?

Alexandria, Virginia

How old are you?

22 (I celebrated my birthday during the course!)

What is your education level and background?

Bachelors Degree from Miami University in International Studies and Latin American Studies with minors in Political Science and Spanish.

Have you traveled abroad in the past?

Yes! I have studied abroad in Spain, Cuba, Peru, Oman, and the UAE, and have visited lots of places along the way, including London, Portugal, Mexico, and Nicaragua. 

What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?

I was considering joining the Peace Corps because I wanted to travel and help others in some capacity, but several people very close to me told me that I would make a great teacher. Teaching English abroad was the perfect way to travel, help people, and learn whether or not teaching is for me (spoiler: it is). 

What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?

I was really nervous about the job-search process after completing my course. I had no idea what to expect or how finding a job works in another country. Thankfully, I had a LOT of help figuring it out and learning that English teachers are a hot commodity down here.

What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?

All of them were so excited for me! Living abroad has been a goal of mine for years and they have been so supportive and encouraging through every step in this process. 

 

TEFL CLASS INFORMATION

Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?

I knew that if I wanted to teach abroad, I wanted to do it right. For me, this meant being certified to teach by a professional and well-established institution that could help me attain the goals I had set for myself. After a lot of research, I felt like International TEFL Academy offered everything I was looking for.

Which TEFL certification course did you take?

ITA Costa Rica in Barva in March 2019

How did you like the course?

This course was truly one of the best four weeks of my life. I learned so much about the English language and running a classroom, and have made friends for life. It was definitely rigorous—there’s no sugar-coating that. But if you’re willing to work hard and put your best foot forward, it’s a really incredible experience.

How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?

ABSOLUTELY. I would be so lost right now if I hadn’t done the course. Because of the course I am confident in my English grammar skills, I am comfortable at the front of a classroom, and I met my current director because she visited the school to speak to us.  

 

TEACHING ABROAD IN COSTA RICA

Which city did you decide to teach English in and why?

Heredia, Costa Rica. After deciding to live in Costa Rica, I always imagined myself at the beach or in the jungle; however, the reality is that most of the jobs here are in the Central Valley. No complaints, though! There’s a great community of English teachers here, I’ve gotten to know the area really well since taking the course, and there are lots of English teaching opportunities!

How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?

I’ve been here for four months and I have a contract teaching here until December.

What school, company, or program are you working for?

Intercultura in Heredia

Do you have a work visa?  If not, please elaborate on working without a work visa.

Nope! As someone who plans on being here less than a year, it’s almost a waste to even try—it takes a long time and I would likely be home before it was even issued to me. It’s not difficult to work without a visa, but I (and almost everyone else) am required to do a “border run” every 90 days and must be out of the country for at least 72 hours. Just remember, to get back into Costa Rica you need proof that you’ll be leaving within the next 90 days or they won’t let you in!

Tell us about your English teaching job.

I teach at a language school that offers English primarily, but also Spanish and Portuguese. We have a large team of teachers (about 50), and are located in downtown Heredia. I’m currently working 20 hours a week, which is considered full time, and have five classes and one private student. I really love the community that has been built at Intercultura, not only between teachers, but with the students as well. I’m really excited to work for them for the next 5 months and can’t wait to see what happens!

How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?

I lived with a host family during the course, and after the course was over, they let me live with them for another month to house-sit and watch their dog. I ended up finding my apartment on a Facebook group for teachers in Costa Rica, and really love it. I moved in with the English teacher who had been living in that apartment for two and a half years (crazy!) and it’s been great. I’m really close to my school, a grocery store, and just about everything else I could need. 

 

COSTA RICA

Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, and travel opportunities in your country:

Costa Rica is probably going to be very different than where you come from, so you need to keep an open mind. “Tico time” is a term used jokingly a lot, but it rings true for many aspects of life here. You have to be prepared to spend double (or maybe triple) the time you would at home in places like the bank, the grocery store, some restaurants, and other places. This can get frustrating, but the best way to battle it is to stay optimistic and set aside extra time to run your errands! 

There are so many beautiful places to travel here, and it’s important to take advantage of that! It can be hard to motivate yourself to travel sometimes, but when you start getting busy with your new English teaching job, you’re going to wish you had visited Manuel Antonio or Puerto Viejo when you had more time! Definitely ask your students their favorite places to travel (they give great advice), and reach out to teachers to see if anyone wants to take a trip—odds are you’ll find a travel buddy/make a new friend!

  ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS IN COSTA RICA

What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? 

Do it! It’s hard work, but the people you meet and the things you learn about yourself and the world are more than worth it. 

Would you recommend teaching in your country?

Absolutely. The ITA program in Costa Rica is fantastic and there’s a great community of English teachers down here. Plus, Costa Rica isn’t a half-bad place to live!


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