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Teaching ESL in Central America or South America
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AGoodStory wrote:
Hey, guys, this is all going a bit off-track. OP is asking specific questions about Costa Rica, and further questions about "teaching in Central America and South America." He didn't ask whether he should teach in Korea, or anywhere else in Asia.
:


Well last time I checked Costa Rica was in Central America. My own point was simply that it is more expensive to live and work here than people suggest and that there are better salaries to be had elsewhere in the world. So I feel that I am on point. It is fair to compare salaries here with what International Teachers are paid around the world.

I don't find it cheap to live here at all. I suppose if I ate nothing but fruit and vegetables bought at the open air market then the cost would be lower. But eat meat or buy groceries at the grocery store... well the price is only a little lower than the US for most items, and higher for quite a few items. Beer is more expensive here than in Florida. Rum is cheaper. Electricity seems to be totally random. Some months it is cheaper than the US, some it is more expensive. Which is odd because I don't have air conditioning or heating.... (I live in the mountains where you don't need it). I can not imagine why the bill fluctuates so wildly, but assume it is a problem in the meter (which will never be fixed).

As for the mysterious fruit market..... To be honest, getting to and from such market is no easy task... and is more of an adventure in itself, requiring me to drive into a poor neighborhood where I might be carjacked or robbed and of course I have to drive to get there... using gasoline which is over 4 dollars a gallon (higher than in Florida). Oh yeah and you have to buy a car or use taxis because public transportation is not safe, at least not in this city. If I took a taxi, it would add about 10 dollars to the cost.....

So I go to the grocery store where the selection is much better, but overall prices are not so different from a grocery store in the states on most items. Vegetables, pasta and rum are cheaper here. Beer, anything frozen, anything with a US brand name, etc... is about the same price or slightly higher (beer is quite a bit higher here and its made here so that makes no sense). The cheap cola here, is about the same price as Check Cola back in the states. Canned cola is always more expensive than in the states. The big plastic bottles of cola are about the same price.

Sure you can live on your salary. And you can have a good time and experience some adventure. But the bottom line is that you can have a good time, experience some adventure (less risky adventure) AND save money in other parts of the world. Oh and I am certainly not talking about Korea, as I have no desire to work there. But even the International Schools in China or the ME pay 2-3 times what you will earn here. That's just a fact.

Now as for this guy wanting to go to Costa Rica, its fine. He should have a good time and will break out into International Teaching. But he needs to know that its not as cheap as advertised.
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reddevil79



Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Posts: 201
Location: Up in them Mixteca Mountains

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely fladude; I think all the points made on this thread have been relevant and you have provided some very useful insights, in my opinion at least. I guess the OP is the only one who can really say if these posts have been useful or not. Wink


Certainly living in big Latin American cities can be pricey, and many imported goods can cost way more than what you’d pay in North America or Europe. Electronic goods in Mexico, for example, tend to be more expensive than in the UK and North America, much more in some cases. I have never bought laptops, MP3 players, etc. in Mexico. Books are expensive too compared to other countries.

On the other hand, I still think that one can cut costs without compromising on quality of life, especially after having lived in a place for while and sussing things out. I used to live in Guadalajara, one of the biggest cities in Latin America. I would hardly ever do my shopping in supermarkets; after a few weeks of living there, I found a great neighbourhood market that I went to once a week (by foot) for most of my stuff. Not only was it considerably cheaper, but the produce was better, fresher and tasted great, much better than the stuff in the supermarket. Sure, I would go there now and again for certain things, but I cut my expenditure on food and other essentials by going to the markets. I could list many other examples like this.

Latin America is such a vast region that it is impossible to provide one coherent answer; there are many responses to the OP’s original post, some of which have been discussed here…
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9402
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Certainly living in big Latin American cities can be pricey, and many imported goods can cost way more than what you’d pay in North America or Europe. Electronic goods in Mexico, for example, tend to be more expensive than in the UK and North America, much more in some cases. I have never bought laptops, MP3 players, etc. in Mexico. Books are expensive too compared to other countries.

On the other hand, I still think that one can cut costs without compromising on quality of life, especially after having lived in a place for while and sussing things out. I used to live in Guadalajara, one of the biggest cities in Latin America. I would hardly ever do my shopping in supermarkets; after a few weeks of living there, I found a great neighbourhood market that I went to once a week (by foot) for most of my stuff. Not only was it considerably cheaper, but the produce was better, fresher and tasted great, much better than the stuff in the supermarket. Sure, I would go there now and again for certain things, but I cut my expenditure on food and other essentials by going to the markets. I could list many other examples like this.

Latin America is such a vast region that it is impossible to provide one coherent answer; there are many responses to the OP’s original post, some of which have been discussed here…


Ditto for Mexico City. I'm one to argue that getting better quality produce, fruit year round, and dealing with small local butchers through local markets is upping the quality of life, not compromising. Megahypersupermarts are good for many things but nothing you want to ingest.

I'm surprised to hear prices have gone up so much in Costa Rica though.
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AGoodStory



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 464

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you fladude and reddevil for your interesting and very useful posts. I, too, have Latin America in my sights (although very distant sights, to be sure,) and specific information such as you've both provided helps a lot when deciding whether to include or exclude a country from the shortlist. Fladude, and several others on this board, have helped me narrow down the possibilities, and I've pretty much crossed off Costa Rica as an eventual destination, given my own somewhat idiosyncratic criteria. I've also been able to cross off Peru thanks to information provided by naturegirl321 and others.

BY the way, I think we can all rest assured that the OP knows that Costa Rica is located in Central America. Laughing (And I know it now, thanks to this very thread!) Laughing
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 584
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elite K-12 school salaries in Colombia are at least $500 USD/month more than what's been put up for Mexico.
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JeffW24



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:17 pm    Post subject: Hi Reply with quote

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all the responses they've been very informative. I got my ticket to C.R. booked. I arrive in January. Maybe in a couple years I'll try an Asian country that pays more. Right now I have enough money saved for a couple years in case my salary doesn't cut it. It's been hard enough to learn Spanish. I'd like to get that down before I try Japanese, Mandarin, or Thai.

Thanks again!

Jeff
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