www.costaricatesol.com - ITA Costa Rica
Posted 11/02/2017

Costa Rica Teaching Q&A With Daja

Costa Rica Teaching Q&A With Daja


What is your citizenship? United States Citizen

What city and state are you from? Georgia

How old are you? 21

What is your education level and background? Bachelor's Degree

Have you traveled abroad in the past? Yes

If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been? Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Mexico

If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study? 

I studied abroad in Spain and in Mexico.

What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad? 

I was mainly interested in improving my Spanish by living in another country. When I found out I could become a teacher and travel all over the world, it seemed perfect for me! I also was an ESL tutor in college and I always loved working with my students.

What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad? 

I was mostly concerned about making enough money to support myself which I have managed to do. Mostly I was excited for the move.

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

All my friends think it’s super cool and so does my family.  My mom worries and calls me way too much but she is also happy for me, and I’ve inspired a lot of family members to start traveling as well.


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

I majored in Linguistics and in one of my classes we learned about the TEFL field.  I thought it was interesting and was researching how I could get certified. I found the TEFL Costa Rica program through the Greenheart Travel website and applied through them. The International TEFL academy came up many time in my research.  I read reviews and it seemed credible.

Which TEFL certification course did you take?  

I completed the 4-week, onsite course in Costa Rica in June 2017.

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

It is the only reason I can teach at all. It’s how I learned about the classroom, planning lessons, creating assessments, and most importantly an intense review of all the important grammar topics that I am currently teaching.



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

I am teaching in Barva de Heredia. I really love Heredia in general it’s very beautiful and safe, and the people are really kind. I prefer this atmosphere to a big city like San Jose.

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

I have been here about 6 months and I plan to stay another 9 months.

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

I work for Idiomas Mundiales in Barva.


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

I do not have a work visa so every 90 days I do a border run. I really like border runs because it is an opportunity to travel! I have no problems getting off work and I travel with my roommate, never alone, which makes it easier and less intimidating.


Tell us about your English teaching job.

I absolutely love my job and my students. I work Monday-Thursday and again Saturday about 22-24 hours a week. I have the common split schedule, classes in the morning and classes at night with most afternoons free to plan and do other things.


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

My roommate and I met in the course here in Costa Rica and we have been living together ever since. We found our apartment on Mercado Libre online. It is a beautiful two bedroom that came furnished, upstairs and downstairs, laundry, and internet. We pay $650 a month ($325) each and it is well worth it. We love where we live and we both travel to work using the bus which is also easy to learn and cheap.


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


Culture: The Tico culture is very laid back and people are kind, when you pass people in the street it’s common to greet them with a smile and “buenas”. In my experience the people here have always been interested in meeting people from other countries and I feel accepted for the most part!

Night Life: San Jose has some amazing clubs and bars and even in Heredia Centro you can find some great places to dance and go out with friends! I am not a huge party animal but when I do go out, I always have an amazing time and feel safe.

Public TransportationI use the bus everyday and it is super easy and cheap! I did get lost a couple of times in the beginning but those were adventures none the less. Most buses pass every 15-20 minutes and I can get to most places within 30minutes. Going to San Jose for me does take a super long time on the bus but I only go into the city on occasion so it's no problem really. Within Heredia nothing is too far away and Uber is also super cheap.

Food: The food is delicious and you can find this little restaurants called sodas that serve a variety of traditional foods for a very low price. I enjoy trying out random food places and stands because you’d be surprised how good food is that’s been made by an old Tica woman working out of her home!

Dating: The men here are extremely romantic and they love to meet girls from other countries so myself and my friends here have had no problem meeting men. A lot of people here use Tinder but even just going out to a bar, you are likely to have a man buy you a drink or ask you to dance.

Travel: There are many beautiful places in Costa Rica and in San Jose, you’ll find buses to pretty much anywhere. These buses are cheap, even though the rides range from 4 hours to 9 hours depending on where you are going. I personally try to keep my travel to a minimum until my border runs just for financial reasons.

What are your monthly expenses? 

 I spend $325 in rent, $115 on food, $50 transportation, and then the rest is miscellaneous and varies month to month. Overall, I am able to handle my expenses every month but I am not saving much money.

How would you describe your standard of living?

I would consider it very comfortable. People here don’t do a lot of extravagant spending, which has turned me into less of a consumer for sure! Most products are imported so they tend to cost more than in the US or other parts of Latin America, which helps me minimize what I buy.

In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?

At the very least $600 a month. I started out on less than that and was struggling a lot, but $600 or higher is completely possible for most teachers.



What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?

This experience has been outstanding, and I would recommend it to any and everybody! It’s a chance to grow as a person and as an educator. I have never been as happy as I am now and this experience has opened the doors for future travel, future life lessons, and future happiness because I am really doing something I love.

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