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arriving in June !

 
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doreenp



Joined: 13 Oct 2003
Posts: 147

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 4:50 pm    Post subject: arriving in June ! Reply with quote

I will be arriving in San Jose , hopefully, in mid June and i would love to travel around first visiting the country and meeting the people of Costa Rica.

Could anyone fill me in on the details of living/working/travelling there? I know it's a very general question and i'm assuming that most of the rules for Mexico will apply in CR too. Don't drink the water, how to prepare the food etc.

How relaxed or how formal are the teachers expected to dress? Common sense tells me that mu mu's and beach sandals are not acceptable , but what is?

Any information or comments are appreciated

thanks
dee
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Munchen



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 3:50 am    Post subject: Old vet Reply with quote

I was there in the '60s as an Episcopal Church mission priest when the railroads were still in existence, so some basics haven't changed for eons.
I plan to go back there for retirement in the not too distant future. Now, the railroads are gone and understand modern trans, i.e., busses are much more efficient for getting around.
You mentioned you want to travel around a bit upon arrival. Be aware if you travel from San Jose in the direction of the Province of Limon, you go into almost a totally different climatic zone, like, from the pleasant springlike and seasonal clime of San Jose to a tropical rain forest climent in the area of Limon. The view is spectacular making that trip.
The changes in altitude, etc. may take some getting used to and you may feel sick in moving from one area like the capital to the coastal areas.
Although I don't think shots are required, I recommend getting typhoid, Hepatitis A at least and B, which is three shots over a six-month period.
You can only get suppressant pills for malaria. No vaccine is available for that or Dengue either to my knowledge. I also had one for Yellow Fever when I went there back then, but this may not be necessary. Ck CDC recommendations.
You will certainly be fine in San Jose and surrounding areas.

I have never been to the Pacific coastal areas and hope to venture into this when I go back.
I was very fortunate to have been supplied housing in Siquirres, where I was, but you well know, don't expect to make a lot of money and backup resources in US dollars/Euros would be highly recommended. Yes, I did some TEFL in my house there.
I can't speak for dress as such, but you certainly don't have to look like you came from Bloomingdale's. Definitely would recommend looking more on the conservative side.
Enjoy.
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ls650



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 3484
Location: British Columbia

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 1:34 am    Post subject: Re: arriving in June ! Reply with quote

doreenp wrote:
Could anyone fill me in on the details of living/working/travelling there?


www.lonelyplanet.com
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doreenp



Joined: 13 Oct 2003
Posts: 147

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, thank you, i have the Lonely Planet, amongst other books , but what i'm asking is for the stuff that isn't in the books.

For instance in the Mexico forum Melee added a very interesting (to me) piece of information about shoes. How they are the most taxable thing in Mexico and not to have them shipped to you or you'd never get them.

I am completely up to date on all shots, but it has been recommended for me to get rabies, in case i venture into the rain forests. Any comment on that?

Is there any different dress codes in CR for teachers? I presently live in Canada and would like to buy more light summer clothing for work but I don't know whether to buy up here before i go or shop when i get there....

Thanks for all your comments

dee
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8815
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2004 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take guide books with a grain of salt, because things change.
For example, Lonely Planet had about half a page about my city and basically said that it's a hole-in-the-wall place with no conviences and you would be lucky to find bread that's not stale.
It couldn't be the opposite, there are 6 million poeple here, and all the modern convenicences even lots of McDonald's and KFC.
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Munchen



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2004 2:23 am    Post subject: Another response for Doreen Reply with quote

In reference to what to bring, be sure to take essentials with you when you travel to CR. Unless things have changed from "my time" so to speak, one could almost bring anything through the airport without paying duty. But if you have anything sent in from outside, you could pay heavy duty on them, especially clothes, shoes, etc.

I recall the head banker and his wife in Siquirres asked me to bring back little sweaters for their kids from Sears, nothing expensive. Maybe the local prices aren't as steep now on imported goods and more is manufactured there today. I even bought a shirt here in DC recently that was manufactured in Costa Rica!
Be sure to check that out. You can find out such information if you happen to be near a Costa Rican embassy or consulate.

Also we all brought back stuff for our colleagues whenever one of us went to the States.
One of my friends even had his family smuggle in little clothing articles for his children hidden among the pages of the Sunday Washington Post. Such US papers were prized as at the time impossible to get in CR. Hopefully some things have changed since the '60s but just may point these out.

Surely CR must be more mod today as far as female dress is concerned, but when I was there, my maid's daugther came to visit from NYC and was wearing shorts around the town. Several mentioned you would never see a Latin girl dressed like that. This scenario must be different now, but most female teachers I encountered, the mode was on the conservative side for work.
Have a feeling that still may be true. Anyone can enlighten me if otherwise.
Hope this helps.
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TeresaF



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Posts: 12
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2004 4:15 pm    Post subject: Dress Code Reply with quote

At least in San Jose, things have definitely changed since Munchenīs time in C.R. You see a lot of short skirts and midriffs these days. It really makes me feel like I dress super-conservatively. I think the general guideline for English teachers in a language institute is business casual (i.e. skirts/slacks and blouses for women and button-down shirts and slacks for men.) Of course, if you end up teaching business English in the multinational corporations, you probably want to bring some fancier business clothes, if you have them. It seems like a lot of people end up going that route, so be prepared.

Also, be prepared to pay U.S. prices (or higher) for merchandise. Electronics, CDs, DVDs, etc seem to be particularly expensive. So, it really is a good idea to bring anything you might need. Iīve heard that there is an import tax of 87% on anything that is also produced in Costa Rica, and I would believe it from the prices. Food, beer, medicine, and entertainment are considerably cheaper here. From what I hear, the postal service is pretty iffy, but you can use a company called Interlink instead, which is extremely reliable. Its a bit more expensive, and I think both the sender and receiver has to pay.

FYI, you can drink the water in San Jose, but its not recommended in the northern areas of the country.
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John Hall



Joined: 16 Mar 2004
Posts: 452
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2004 9:56 pm    Post subject: Mexico and Costa Rica are very different Reply with quote

There is a world of difference between Mexico and Costa Rica. For one thing, Costa Rica is much more expensive than Mexico. I really see no value in comparing the two countries at all.

No, you don't need a rabies shot here, unless you like to pet stray dogs in the street. Dengue, however, is on the rise, especially in San Jose. The good news about that though is that the mosquito season is only usually in March and April in San Jose.
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Munchen



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 8:33 pm    Post subject: Ditto to that, John. Reply with quote

In addition to what I've already written, I also did two months of intensive Spanish instruction in Cuernavaca, Mexico before assuming my post in CR in '67.

First off, my church authority, i.e., my bishop, insisted that I see Siquirres, CR, where I was to be posted, FIRST, before spending several months in the beautiful city of Cuernavaca, so I would have a firm picture in my mind before assuming work in the Province of Limon. When I returned from language school, one of my colleagues said, "it'll be embarrassing, you'll sound 'Mexican.'" Of course, I was in what some call the "Wild East" of CR. Not where teachers of English or retirees tend to go in Costa Rica.
Anyone who has been in both countries know there is a world of difference between them. And just as ridiculous to try to compare any other two countries in Latin America.

To many North Americans, of course, it is easy to sterotype all of Latin America. It was a shock to me to find that there were blacks in Costa Rica, not knowing their heritage and history from the West Indies, especially Jamaica. They were the ones I was going to be working with when I got there!. When I interviewed for my appointment and was asked if I had experience working with blacks, I thought, "what" there are blacks in Costa Rica?

Once again, this may be a bit off topic, but interest in this forum stems from having been an EFL instructor in Spain. Think my advice to all is become as informed as possible about all aspects, culture and history, of a country to which you will be going, whether it be Costa Rica or anywhere else.
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Munchen



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 8:51 pm    Post subject: Follow-up to John Hall Reply with quote

I was just scanning the other posts and was shocked to hear of your assault in San Jose. I am vague about neighborhoods there since it's been so many years. There has always been petty crime like theft and breakins but such assaults were unheard of at one time.
I plan to take one of those tours later this year for people who plan to retire in CR. I will certainly be interested in the crime topic when I do.
Sorry to hear about that and appreciate your sharing this information.
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doreenp



Joined: 13 Oct 2003
Posts: 147

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I apologize if I insulted anyone by asking if CR was similar to Mexico. What i was referring to was more towards the rules of eating and drinking in foreign lands. I'm very happy to hear that the water is fit for drinking in San Jose and I always look forward to any new dining experiences.

When you say that CR is much more expensive, are you referring to the purchase of items , homes, vehicles, electronics etc. or just living in general, food, clothing and shelter? From what i've read on some web sites about CR the cost of food seems reasonable to me.

I hope to come down with the proper clothing and do not plan on making any purchases other than what i need to survive monthly, food, shelter and some travelling.

Perhaps, if any one knows, you could tell me what the cost of monthly homestay with a family would be. This would include a place to live with maybe two meals a day?

I hope to be teaching enough to at least cover this expense. Is this possible?

Thanks
Dee Very Happy
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Munchen



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 76

PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2004 1:01 am    Post subject: To doreenp Reply with quote

Just curious as you anticipated arrival in CR June 1.
Did you ever arrive there? If so, would enjoy hearing your impressions!
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