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Help Please!!

 
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MarcyG69



Joined: 21 Dec 2010
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:51 pm    Post subject: Help Please!! Reply with quote

Hello! I am very interested in teaching in Costa Rica this spring/summer. I am 24 yrs old and I have my Masters Degree in Elementary Education. I have read most of the post but still need some advice. A lot of people are saying that it is best to get CELTA or a Trinty cert and I can't seem to find any in CR. I heard good things about the Samara and the Maximo course but was wondering how reputable they are if i want to use them in another country. Also I was curious to how safe Costa Rica is and where the best place to teach and live. I am very nervous coming alone and being so young. Any advice on how life is would be great! Generally I am looking for surf, beach, and new friends and experience!
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timmy69



Joined: 09 Jan 2011
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know much about the Maximo course, but its been covered in previous threads here. The Samara programs is not accredited, i.e. the TEFL Cert will not be worth much in other places in the world with stringent reguations regarding certification (Europe, Mideast). That said, the program does have a good reputation for securing job interviews for graduates in Costa Rica due to having some good connections in Heredia and parts of San Jose (from what I've been told). It really depends what you are looking for: a one/two year gap in your life to come to Latin America and absorb the culture and the lifestyle? It may be a good choice. If you're looking to maybe make this a career, at least for awhile and have asiprations of teaching in other countries, then perhaps you should choose a program with an accredited certification.

I have never taught in Costa Rica but I have lived there. Jobs by the beach are very hard to come by; you are more likely to get one in San Jose and the greater San Jose area. I would not recommend San Jose, especially for a 24 year old single girl (assuming your a girl by your username). It's much more enjoyable for a single 24 year old guy such as myself due to the bar-girl scene but even with that said, the nightlife was not entertaining and the city itself is a third world dump. I would not go out by myself after dark, and this is coming from someone who grew up in Brooklyn, NY. If you're looking for a true Latin American cultural experience, I would recommend Brazil or Argentina, although jobs are hard tough to come by now from what I've been told.
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MarcyG69



Joined: 21 Dec 2010
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice...ya I got a sense that the nightlife and the city was not very good...is it worth it to live there for the travel aspects?
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timmy69



Joined: 09 Jan 2011
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Outside of the capital, Costa Rica is a beautiful country -- there's a reason why its the #1 choice for Peace Corps volunteers. The countryside and the jungle treks you can do are awesome and very scenic, and the beaches are some of the best in the world. The drawback is that if you go there to teach as a way to travel and explore, like I said you are likely to be based around San Jose. You can travel on weekends but those bus rides can get old very quick -- you'll spend as much time commuting as you do relaxing on the beach of whatever.
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MarcyG69



Joined: 21 Dec 2010
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was wondering how hard is it to travel without a car?? Also did you live with a family from CR?
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timmy69



Joined: 09 Jan 2011
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have any family in CR, I lived there by myself. I worked for Oscar Arias when he was part of an organization in New York and then I accompanied him to San Jose for about two years as his speechwriter. During this time I traveled almost all the ins and outs of CR and got to know the country very well.

There's like two reputable taxi companies which service San Jose, they are primarily used by Gringo's however, so the price can be very hefty depending on how far you are going. Most taxis will not travel further than Heredia from San Jose. There is also a railroad from Heredia to San Jose, although it rarely if ever operates on schedule. There is no railway connecting to border points though. If you want to leave the country (do a visa run) its either bus or plane.

The best bet to get around is the bus. Different buses can take you from the capital to points all over the country including the coasts. Buses are very cheap and pretty safe.
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MarcyG69



Joined: 21 Dec 2010
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info!! I am still considering making the move in May.
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travellust



Joined: 25 Nov 2010
Posts: 4
Location: Missouri

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, MarcyG69! I am moving to CR in August to do the Aug 8 - Sep 2 TEFL course in Samara. I am also a 24 yr old girl who will be solo! I'd love to chat it you're interested. Please e-mail me at hrminturn@gmail.com! From what I have read, most jobs are located in the San Jose area. I too am very nervous to live there given the crime rates, especially as a single female living alone. I would love to be able to connect with someone else who is like me. I look forward to hopefully hearing from you soon!

Hannah
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Jen.Johnson



Joined: 01 Mar 2011
Posts: 6
Location: Costa Rica

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi MarcyG69, (I emailed this reply to Hannah as well but thought I'd post it here just in case you were unable to get a hold of her)

I'm a 26 year old single female. I'm currently living in Costa Rica and working as an English teacher here so I thought I could maybe help with some questions you had.

I obtained my CELTA in Canada (which is the most widely recognized TEFL certificate in the world but quite expensive). In Costa Rica most places only require any TEFL certificate - such as the one in Samara. Samara was one of my favorite places - beautiful beach, laid-back atmosphere and really nice people. Plus lots of surfers! (Unfortunately they don't need any English teachers).

I traveled down here from Mexico City, sometimes with other people and sometimes alone. I mostly felt pretty safe although I was mugged in Nicaragua with a group of 3 friends. So be aware at all times and yes, it happens.

That being said, Costa Rica is one of the safest places in Central America and you really just need to use common sense as a single girl traveling here (don't go out alone at night, don't flash around money or jewelry or iPods).

As for work, it IS difficult to find a job but definitely possible. I would be sure to have enough cash to last you a month or two at least while you are looking and an emergency stash if you end up having to book a flight home. There are schools all over the place - including the province of Heredia, which is where I'm working right now (in the Sarapiqui region).

I work at a conservation learning center and am a volunteer here (meaning I don't get paid) however, I stay with a local family for free, get 3 meals a day, free laundry, access to wifi and a bike to get around on. I teach 8 classes a week and work a total of about 35 hours per week. I have the weekends off to explore or hang out with the other volunteers or my home-stay family.

In San Jose I would recommend staying at Hostel Pangea as it's clean, fairly inexpensive and a great place to meet other travelers. They also have many computers and free internet so it's a good place to look for a job. I stayed there for a week while I emailed tons of potential employers. If you do the course in Samara they help you with job placement as far as I know so that might be an easier option.

Don't limit yourself to just one area, there are good schools and opportunities all over the country, you just have to know where to look. I had an interview at a great place in Liberia, unfortunately they didn't have enough classes to warrant hiring another full-time teacher when I applied.

Anyway, if either of you want any information or have any questions, I can do my best to try and help. I would have liked to have someone helping me with first hand experience!
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