www.costaricatesol.com - ITA Costa Rica
Posted 02/08/2017

Costa Rica Teaching Q&A With Judith

Costa Rica Teaching Q&A With Judith


What is your citizenship? I am a United States citizen.  

What city and state are you from? I am from Austin, Texas. 

How old are you? I am 23 years old.

What is your education level and background? I graduated from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. 

Have you traveled abroad in the past? If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been? I traveled to Italy for a week in middle school. I really haven’t had much travel experience!

What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad? My mom taught English in Israel for two years when she graduated college. She really recommended it. I looked into it. It sounded scary enough to be something worth doing. 

What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad? I was concerned about my physical safety, my lack of Spanish knowledge, and the distance between my homestay and the nearest Starbucks. All reasonable concerns for a twenty-something year old.

What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad? My friends and family were mostly supportive. Many of my mentors encouraged me to teach abroad. Their biggest piece of advice: Do something that really scares you.


Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy? I decided to get TEFL certified because, from the research I have done, it is the most efficient, effective way to live in another country for an extended period of time. I chose International TEFL Academy because I was impressed by the staff. My advisor, Paige Lee, was helpful, knowledgeable, and professional. 

Which TEFL certification course did you take? I took the TEFL course in Barva, Costa Rica.

How did you like the course? I really enjoyed the course. Luke and Melanie are excellent role models and teachers. 

How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position? How has my TEFL training not helped me in my current teaching position? I think that’s probably the better question! The TEFL training excelled at giving teachers real practicum experience teaching native Spanish-speakers.


Which city did you decide to teach English in and why? I decided to teach English in Heredia, Costa Rica. I chose this location because Costa Rica...

  1. … has been recognized as being one of the most sustainability-oriented countries in the world

  2. … is relatively close to the United States

  3. … ‘s primary language is Spanish

How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay? I arrived in Costa Rica in July 2016. I plan to stay until May 2017. 

Do you have a work visa?  If not, please elaborate on working without a work visa. I do not have a work visa. I have a tourist visa. It hasn’t been a problem so far.

Tell us about your English teaching job. I teach at a university, so most of my students are ages 19-24. My classes are relatively large for the area. I have about 17-20 students per class. My students are awesome people. I feel really lucky to work with them!

How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates? My friend referred me to a boarding house/apartment with five other women. Two are from Costa Rica, one is from England, and two are from the United States. It’s a lot of fun!


Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, and travel opportunities in your country: I take the public bus system everyday to work. There is a huge expat community here. We get together about once a month and it feels like the good ol’ college days. There are a ton of English teachers who all live on the same road here in Heredia. Living at “Breakeven” makes the dating scene a little interesting for most people here (you know, because dating sometimes requires money). As for travel, there are ample opportunities to travel. Most people travel to the beach, the mountains, a volcano or the rain forest on the weekends. 

What are your monthly expenses?

How would you describe your standard of living? My standard of living: no Patagucci jackets, no Starbucks frappuccinos, and no miscellaneous shopping budget. I’m still breathing though, miraculously. Living at “Breakeven” essentially just means focusing more on necessity as opposed to desires. 

In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably? $700-800 per month is reasonable.


What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? If you are considering teaching abroad, I recommend pondering the following questions:

  1. What interests you most about teaching English abroad?

  2. What is the absolute worst thing that could happen if you teach English abroad? 

  3. What is the best thing that could happen if you teach English abroad?

Would you recommend teaching in your country?  I would recommend teaching English is Costa Rica. This is a really special place. It is both incredible and challenging in ways that I never imagined. 

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