Costa Rica TEFL

Teaching English abroad is one of the most enriching experiences you can have. English teachers are required in Costa Rica year round and you can expect a teaching English in Costa Rica salary to be approximately $800 USD a month. A degree is preferred but it isn’t necessarily required as long as you are fluent in English.

Whether you are looking for teaching jobs in private language schools or just want experience teaching abroad for the first time, Costa Rica is a good option and you can travel the rest of Latin America after your placement too. Below is Shelly's story of her personal account of teaching English in Costa Rica. I hope that this inspires you.

Teaching English in Costa Rica

“You Weren’t Born to Just Pay Bills and Die”

I saw this quote on a meme as I scrolled through my social media pages during work and I thought, “tell me about it”. My limited travel experience left me yearning to see more of the world. The first time I took a vacation with a group of friends, I knew it wasn’t for me. Travelling with others was chaotic, disorganised, and no one could readily agree on what to do. So when I decided I would travel for an extended period, I knew I would go about it on my own.

I wasn’t gullible enough to think that leaving my entire life behind for a world of unknown was going to be like an extended vacation. I was prepared for the challenges that could come with extended travel such as culture shock, homesickness, inability to adapt, language barriers, and of course the dreaded loss of important documents. However, none of that would stop me. I was ready to branch out and discover my independence and resilience, all while building new skills along the way.

Teaching English in Costa Rica

The sunset in Manuel Antonio

Where Shall I Teach English Abroad?

Before I left, I made a list of what I wanted from this trip. It would be different from anything I could ever get on a one-week vacation in the most “instagrammable” destination. Here’s what I came up with: 1.) a sense of freedom and independence, 2.) culture & understanding, 3.) develop new skills including language, 4.) give back to the local community 5.) outdoor adventure & exploration.

Having travelled solo to Mexico on a two-week vacation before deciding on the big move, I knew I wanted to further explore Latin America. I searched for volunteer projects and Spanish language schools in the region, and came across Maximo Nivel. I even decided on taking a TEFL course to teach English as a plan B in case I ran out of money and wanted to continue my gap year abroad.

Teaching English in Costa Rica

My visit to Volcan Arenal

English Teaching Program Costa Rica

Since I would be studying (read: going to class), I decided on Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica–A piece of paradise that would calm my academic anxieties. I completed a 4-week TEFL course on-site, and then traveled to San Jose to study Spanish since I knew the capital city would allow me a more authentic, cultural experience. After Spanish classes, I volunteered teaching English in a local community as I felt well-equipped with my newly acquired TEFL certification. Weekends allowed me “vacation time” to visit top-destination sites throughout the country.

Teaching English in Costa Rica

Me teaching English

My Costa Rica Experience

Learning, growing, volunteering, and travelling through Costa Rica has kept me too busy to miss home. I haven’t felt lonely with all the new people I’ve been meeting, culture shock has been quite minimal with Costa Rica’s growing expat population, and my Spanish courses have helped me to avoid too many language barriers. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, the people I’ve met, and all of my experiences. But I know this isn’t the last of my travel stories, and I look forward to sharing more in the near future.

About The Author

Shelly is currently taking a gap year with Maximo Nivel. The first step in her journey was completing her TEFL certification in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. She has since studied Spanish and volunteered in the country. She will continue to travel to Guatemala and Peru to continue studying Spanish, volunteering, and teaching English. Follow her journey on Instagram or her blog.

Teaching English in Costa Rica

If Shelly has inspired you when her story and the truth about teaching English in Costa Rica. If you want to follow in her footsteps and teach English in Costa Rica, itoi is an online TEFL course allowing native English speakers to learn how to teach abroad with a range of TEFL courses. You can also use your qualification to volunteer teaching English in Costa Rica. I have personally used itoi for my TEFL certificate before teaching in Nepal. Read my review here

* Check all itoi TEFL courses and prices here 

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