www.costaricatesol.com - ITA Costa Rica
Posted 08/31/2017

Q&A with Ashley

Q&A with Ashley


What is your citizenship?  USA

What city and state are you from? Bladensburg, Maryland

How old are you? 28

What is your education level and background? Bachelor degree, with a background in Family Science

Have you traveled abroad in the past? Yes

If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been? I have been to Uganda in Africa, Dominican Republic, Canada, and Costa Rica

If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study? no

What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?

I have been wanting to teach and live abroad since I was about 8 years old. I have had this feeling of wanting to experience different cultures and how others live. I found no better way to do that than teaching English abroad. It is such a rewarding experience traveling abroad. 

What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad? I really didn’t have any concerns teaching abroad. I did extensive research on health insurance, cost of living, and anything else you may need abroad in Costa Rica.

What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad? My fiancé, grandmother, and mom were excited for me to make this move. They knew this has been a dream of mine. My dad was a bit worried, yet because of my extensive research, he was okay. I had been to Costa Rica once before so I knew what to expect. 


Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy? I did a lot of research on various courses and sites. This was the one that appealed the most to me because of the alumni network and job guidance.

Which TEFL certification course did you take?

ITA Costa Rica in Barva, Heredia in April 2017

How did you like the course? I loved the course. It was tough and intense. It was amazing because of the amount of knowledge and activities they gave us. I felt prepared. 

How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position? I believe it helped me because of the knowledge about the grammar and other aspects. I loved the amount of activities and ideas they gave us to use in the future. 



Which city did you decide to teach English in and why? I chose to work near Tamarindo because I don’t like the city. Being in a town about 20 minutes from Tamarindo allows me to have a small town with the most gorgeous beach to relax and decompress. 

How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay? I have been in the country 5 months. I plan on staying for a year, if not longer. How long I will stay is depends on what happens this year.

What school, company, or program are you working for? I work for Educarte. Do you have a work visa?  If not, please elaborate on working without a work visa.I will have a work visa as soon as my FBI background check comes in from the USA. 

Tell us about your English teaching job.

I love my teaching job. It is very similar to teaching in a public school in the US. I teach 2nd grade English, Math, and Science. It is wonderful to have a curriculum that you can follow. I still have to do tons of lesson planning because I have to add my own personal touches to the lesson. I am able to have the room however I want. I can even paint pictures on the walls. Since it is an art based school they recommend we use lots of art projects to teach. 

How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates? I found my place on Craigslist. It is a studio apartment that has a parking spot, washing machine, gated, and right on the bus route. I can walk to Playa Conchal in about 30 minutes. It has an amazing chocolate place across the street. It is just perfect. I do not have roommates. I have neighbors in an apartment like mine next door that I love. 


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

Public transport is good. The bus will stop for you right out front of my apartment. It will take you where ever you want to go, you made need to switch buses depending on where you are going. They do not have many taxis, yet they have colectivos which are people who will pick you up along with others who are going in the same direction for a small price. I am not sure about the nightlife because I am not a partier. I have made many friends from being in town and going to the English church near by. There are plenty of expats in near by towns such as Flamingo and Tamarindo. I do not date since I have a fiancé back home. There are plenty of travel opportunities because of the amount of buses that will take you where ever you want to go. 

What are your monthly expenses? My monthly expenses add up to about $1200. I have a few things back home in the US that I need to pay for while I am here. If I didn’t have those expenses I would say my expenses would be $800.

How would you describe your standard of living? Pretty great. I can live comfortably and do some exploring as well. 

In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably? It all depends on the person and their version of comfortable. I would say $700-$1000 US dollar. 


What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? I would say just do it! This is an amazing experience for anyone. It is not for everyone, yet you don’t know unless you try. It makes a load of difference when you do your research and prepare to come. I have known some people who didn’t plan and had some issues that could have been avoided along the way. The planning doesn’t take long. I decided to come a month and half before my course started. I had all the planning done in a week.

Would you recommend teaching in your country? I would suggest Costa Rica because the people are so friendly. It is safe and easy to get around. It has many different opportunities for teaching and traveling. Many different types of schools to fit your likes and needs. The cost is cheaper than the US yet more expensive than most of Central America. All the places I have been have had safe drinking water, and a good medical clinic. 

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