What kind of TEFL course did you take?
I actually just took a weekend TEFL course, in the classroom. It was pretty basic, but enough to get a foot in the door!
How did you find your first teaching job in Costa Rica?
I traveled to Costa Rica first and found out about a school through a local friend. They just happened to need a teacher last minute, so I was very lucky in that aspect! Being in the country is probably the best way to get a job, since a lot of schools don’t hire from abroad.
What was your first job like–who did you teach and what hours?
My first job was at a language institute in a town near San Jose called Heredia. This school taught mainly adults, from university students to professionals, and even retirees. There were about 15 foreign English teachers total, and maybe half were new like me. The school provided a nice orientation and we did some training and got to know everyone. The teaching schedule was from 4pm to 9pm, since a lot of the students were coming after school or work. It was a really fun atmosphere. We could have classes outside on the patio, have cooking classes in the kitchen, or even go on mini-field trips with our students. The salary was decent, too–definitely enough to support myself while there, and the school offered perks like free dance classes and Spanish lessons.
Looking back, what did you wish you had known before going to Costa Rica?
Honestly, nothing! Except I wish I had made the move earlier, like right when I graduated from college.
What are you doing now?
I’m still teaching ESL, but at a different language institute and only part time because I have another full-time (non-TEFL) job on the side. I’m also married now– my husband is Costa Rican. We just bought our first house here, so it looks like we’ll be staying a while!
Want to experience Costa Rica for yourself? Download our country guide to learn about teaching requirements, typical salary, peak hiring season, and more.