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Best TESOL Cert for teaching in Costa Rica

 
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donuscr



Joined: 24 Sep 2010
Posts: 1
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:44 pm    Post subject: Best TESOL Cert for teaching in Costa Rica Reply with quote

Hi all…Newbie to the forum, and I am looking for some advice. My father and “step family” are in Costa Rica. I am in CR every two months or so to see my family. I have thought about teaching English in Costa Rica for some time, but I am curious as to where to begin. I have a four year degree in Business, and would like to teach English to business people. I am a certified project manager, and I have done corporate training / presenting before and it is one of my strong areas.

I would like to be certified and work for a reputable school. What are the best/most prominent certifications for teaching in Costa Rica? Naturally, like most people, I want to invest in the certification that could potentially provide the best opportunity, but I also want the best learning experience as well so I can do my job effectively. I’m looking on making a “permanent” i.e. long term move to Costa Rica

I have researched the CELTA, however, there are not any schools near my current location (Austin, Texas, USA) that offer the CELTA (there are 9 CELTA locations total in the USA). To this point, I’ve been really wrapping myself up in researching the CELTA because of what I’ve heard, but is it the best option to teach in Costa Rica?

Are there any other certifications out there that are widely respected in Costa Rica? Which ones would provide the best opportunities? I work full-time in Austin, but I am a consultant and have a flexible, but regular schedule. Any advice on certification or how to create the best opportunity is welcome. Thanks!
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tuanis mae



Joined: 20 Dec 2009
Posts: 33
Location: costa rica

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive heard nothing but good things about the school in Samara, Im not sure of the name. Learning on the beach is never a bad time, and Barbara the owner has several connections to find you a job after.
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sirenii



Joined: 20 Oct 2009
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:24 pm    Post subject: Get certified in CR Reply with quote

Don, any certification you get will be more useful to you if you take it in the country in which you want to teach. The trainers will be able to address teaching challenges relevant to CR students' experience of language learning and your teaching practice will be with CR students. Most certifications come with job placement help, so their contacts with allow you to apply and interview at the end of the course. Almost every ad for ESL teachers in Costa Rican newspapers/craigslist state that they'll only interview candidates already living in CR. Check out the CELTA offered in CR (just google it). I've also heard (but have no first-hand experience) that Maximo Nivel is good, as is the program earlier mentioned in Samara, which I think is just called Costa Rica TEFL or something like that. However, the CELTA travels well to any country; don't know how the others are regarded outside Central and South America if later in life you decided to travel the world. Probably with your credentials, some experience in another country and any TEFL certification, it wouldn't matter. Good luck. I'm in the Central Valley but leaving for Asia!
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jprimm



Joined: 03 Aug 2007
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:06 pm    Post subject: Teaching cert. for Costa Rica Reply with quote

I too have heard good things about the school in Samara and also Maximo Novelle (sp) in San Pedro....I think you are better served getting to cert. in the country you are going to be teaching in...you can get celta, also very good, at Instituto Britianica in Los Yos....Just my dos colones...
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dhsampso



Joined: 17 Jun 2009
Posts: 44
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know much about the certification course in Samara, but I did Maximo Nivel's course about a year ago and worked for them afterwards, and it was an excellent experience. They have a TEFL/TESOL cert. which is internationally recognized, and you have 6 hours of practical teaching with real students.

I'd recommend taking the course in-country. Online courses or state-side courses are not as well respected since you're not in the atmosphere and are often given less of an interactive atmosphere (i.e. not actual teaching or students and no observation classes of the TEFL trainer or other TEFL teachers teaching classes). Plus, being in-country you can start your job search immediately, get to know your surroundings and get a leg up on any potential jobs. Often people get jobs by dropping by a school or meeting other teachers who are leaving or know of openings at schools.

Personally, I'd take a course in or around San Jose/Heredia. That is where most of the jobs are. There are a few jobs at resorts or beaches, but those are fewer than in the cities where 2/3 of the people live. I don't know where you plan on living since your family is there, taking a course in the city offers you a better chance of landing a job.

Good luck with your search and I'd be glad to answer any more questions you have. I was in CR for a year and just returned to the states 2 months ago. Pura Vida!
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Susmihara



Joined: 24 Oct 2010
Posts: 4
Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi! I'm also a Newbie; Don, I hope you don't mind my posting here looking for information too. I've read a lot on this forum; have emailed a couple of the TESOL-TEFL schools to get a feel for which might be the best suited for me. Just making a decision on which school to attend is going to be a feat, but I thank you all for sharing your information and experiences to help guide those of us just starting to look at the courses now.

I'm currently employed as a legal assistant and have worked for attorneys for 17 years now. I'm seeking a more simple, rewarding lifestyle and hope my experiences help me to become a great teacher and give to the community the best I can.

I'm looking at attending a May/June program because of current commitments and, of course, to save a little more money to cover costs while I'm looking for employment after the program. Any advice on how difficult it will be to find employment in June/July and how much money I should reasonably expect to have available to get me through? I've read enough to know that the best time to look for employment is Dec/Jan when the school year starts but unfortunately, that timeframe will not work for me this year.

Also, any suggestions on what and how many personal items you should definitely take with you initially if you are planning to make this a long-term move? Thanks in advance for any advice!
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dhsampso



Joined: 17 Jun 2009
Posts: 44
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Susmihara,

I took the TEFL/TESOL certification course in September and got a job within 2 weeks of finishing (with the same school). If you start contacting schools while you're in the course you might get lucky, as did a few classmates of mine. There's a big demand in Costa Rica for English teachers and the turnover is pretty high since a lot of teachers only want to stay for 6 months at most and some just don't cut. They come thinking it will be a cake walk. Just work hard and remember it gets easier the more you do it. Lesson planning can take 45 minutes per class in the beginning, but after awhile you can cut it down to 10 minutes even.

I went down with about $1,500, excluding the cost of the course and housing during the course, to be safe. Rent will run you between $150/month (with roommate) to even $500-$600 for a private apartment. You can always stay with a host family longer or the whole time, but that gets expensive eventhough it's convenient having someone wash your clothes and cook and clean for you. I spent probably 20,000-25,000 colones every week and a half on food (includes eating out for lunch 2-3 times a week). That's around $50 a week at most. Most of the time I stretched it to two weeks and loaded up at the farmers market on Saturday mornings, which I highly recommend. I could get produce for two weeks for $8. So, overall you want to be able to weather 2-3 months of job searching and be able to get away a bit. Trip to the beach are cheap if you take the cheap buses, collectivos and stay in a hostel for $10-$12 night. Also depends on the location.

I'd be careful about taking too much down initially. I know a lot of people who came and didn't like it. San Jose is not picturesque as say Antigua, Guatemala or Granada, Nicaragua, though it is pretty awesome to see the mountains all around you and be able to travel around pretty easily. I have family there, so I was a little more prepared. So, don't bring your whole life with you. You can always ship it down and go back and bring more. Or even have family bring stuff down for you when they visit. That's what I did. I initially brought down a duffel bag and medium-sized back of stuff. The climate is the central valley is temperate and rarely gets above 90 degrees. It gets surprisingly cool at night. Lower 60s sometimes. Bring a good umbrella or buy one there. The rainy season will soak you even if you have a big umbrella. It's incredible how much rain comes down. Bring a raincoat as well. A jacket and some sweatshirts too. Out on the coasts it gets hot and humid, so bring summer clothes as well. I had a few long sleeve shirts, button downs, t-shirts, pants and shorts. You also want semi-formal clothes for teaching and job searching. You don't want to look like you just got back from the beach when teaching or looking for jobs.

Toiletries and other items you get in the states are not hard to come by at all, but more expensive. What costs $5 in the U.S. can be $10 in CR. There are lots of malls there and they're easy to get to by bus. Clothes are expensive.

I brought my lap top down and ipod. Just be careful with your things. A blackberry can fetch $600 on the street and they know how to unlock them. I never had anyone rob me or try to, but it happens and happened to a lot of people I know, Costa Rican and American alike. Just be careful with what you wear when out and don't flash your nice ipod or camera all over the place. I wouldn't be frightened by this, but it happens. My one friend said don't go around like you're in a fashion show, showing off nice jewelry and electronics. Keep an eye of your stuff on buses, especially when traveling to the beach. Don't put your items in the overhead compartment in a bus. If it's a big bag, keep any electronics in a small bag on you, and put the bigger one under the bus. They give you a ticket and the bus driver has to open the compartment for people to get stuff out.

Hope this helps.
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Susmihara



Joined: 24 Oct 2010
Posts: 4
Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you dhsampso! The information was extremely helpful and much appreciated. Now it's just making a decision on which course to attend as I'm corresponding with two schools right now, and of course completing a volunteer obligation and lease in the US to time the course just right -- hopefully May/June.

I also definitely appreciate the advice that teaching is more work than anticipated by many -- I certainly want to work as much as I need, but also live simply, enjoy life more and have new experiences. I did visit Guanacaste in July and agree about the rain! For one of the few times in my life, I was happy to play in the rain... If you have any advice on the course/school, I'd be happy to hear it! I'm specifically trying to gather more information on Center for Teacher Development as I'm trying to make the most of my money, of course, and it's difficult since I'm not in CR right now to visit the schools personally. Thanks again!
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dhsampso



Joined: 17 Jun 2009
Posts: 44
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took Maximo Nivel's TEFL/TESOL course in Sept. '09, and it was great. The school is in San Pedro, east of San Jose. It's a good location to live too since bus go directly to San Jose from San Pedro and pass through San Pedro on the way to Cartago. There are a few schools in the area to teach at. The TEFL trainer I had is leaving and they have been training a replacement. I honestly don't know how good she is. My trainer was great and so I am sure she is training her replacement very well. The price of the course is standard for an onsite, one-month intensive course. I'd check them out for sure.

Living simply is what you'll be doing on a teacher's earnings, especially if you work hourly and don't have a salary or supplementary income. It's a great experience though, and if you are set on making this a legit career change, then there are always more permanent positions with better pay. Teaching can be a little schizophrenic at times, with classes canceled at the last minute, schedule changes, traffic, power outages, and of course holidays. If you're working hourly, these factors can make it even harder since your weekly income will vary.
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