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Is Costa Rica a good choice for me?

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Joined: 25 Jul 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:23 pm    Post subject: Is Costa Rica a good choice for me? Reply with quote

Hello. I’m American and taught in South Korea for one year followed by approximately 8 years of teaching EFL in various Middle Eastern countries. I would like a change in scenery and am strongly considering Costa Rica. I have a Master of Science (not an MA) in Education and a CELTA (6 years experience post CELTA). I have a few questions and would greatly appreciate any feedback that can be provided.

1. What types of institutions could I work for? (I am debt free so I would consider all types of learning institutions as long as I could save some money.)

2. What is a good time of year to arrive looking for work?

3. What pay should be expected at each type of institution? (college, high school, grade school, after-school and after-work language schools, etc, etc)

4. How much should I be able to save, if any, even if working at a low-scale institution? (don’t really need to go out a lot as I am past that age)?

5. With my credentials, could I work at a Costa Rican K-12 school, or MUST I be licensed?

6. Do most jobs in Costa Rica include medical coverage? If not, which EFL jobs do, if any?

7. Is there a preference for Caucasian instructors? Do you know of any native English teachers that aren’t Caucasian?

8. Would an international school consider me or is a license required?

9. Is it possible to change employers after starting a position? Or is it difficult without leaving the country and returning?

10. Is there a certain time of year that is better to apply?

11. Am I correct in assuming flights are not paid for nor reimbursed? If only some institutions, may I ask the names of institutions that you know of which do pay upfront or reimburse?

I sincerely thank you for any feedback you can provide. Please feel free to PM me. And if anyone has considered the Middle East, I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have as I have worked in the U.A.E., Saudi, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar. Thank you again.
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Joined: 03 Aug 2007
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i suggest you look at other countries. Here the pay is low and the cost of living not cheap. You not save any money.
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Joined: 06 May 2006
Posts: 14
Location: San Jos, Costa Rica

PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based on your detailed list of questions and with my 13 years plus living in Costa Rica, I would have to tell you to also look elsewhere.

NO SAVING MONEY, No medical coverage, No flights reimbursed etc...
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Joined: 20 Jun 2014
Posts: 105
Location: Tucson, Arizona

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:55 pm    Post subject: You might consider it short term.. Reply with quote

As for money, surely after 13 years in the Middle East you have some savings? Yes--don't kid yourself!!--you'll probably lose money working in Costa Rica and saving is highly unlikely.

But on the other hand, dipping into savings to work in a pleasant country for 6 months might be worth it to you..only you can decide that--and I am not saying GO or NO BLEEPING WAY-- but there ARE some real positives to Costa Rica. I don't know your gender, but surely teaching in the Middle East meant a lack of personal freedom. I couldn't live in the Middle East!! In Costa Rica you can very easily meet/interact with locals (and learn some Spanish that way), people are religious but the country isn't repressive-- and you can practice your religion openly or just be secular like I am and not be pressured to go to church. You can dress comfortably and go where you want when you want, take Spanish classes, have a beer openly, etc. The country is also least it was as of 2012, when I was last there. It might be more dangerous now since it is close to Honduras, but the government is stable and the poverty is less extreme than in other places. It's a good place to learn Spanish, it's easy to do touristy stuff on the weekends, and the students are very friendly and want to learn English. It's also a laid back culture so you won't have to work 60 hours a week in a high stress environment--and you know how to create lesson plans already. People will try to help you in English, the fresh fruits are amazing and you will likely become friends with your students if you teach adults at a language school.

Low pay, even relative to the low cost of living. You won't get airfare covered and the visa fees are probably your responsibility, too. Health insurance will be your responsibility and you will likely also be buying materials you want/need for classes.

It's not like the Middle East in that people don't go to Costa Rica with the goal of making real money and also having a professional job..your co workers will probably be 22-26 and they likely don't see themselves as career ESL teachers..they just want to travel before finding their true career path. The fact that language schools hire 21-30 year olds means the field isn't professional. I am generalizing, of course.

The downside of a laid back culture: Students don't come to class consistently. BUT compared to other Latin American countries Costa Rica does value education in general and learning English in particular.

It sounds like you wouldn't want to commit to a 2 plus year job, but if you go into it understanding you'll lose money it might be a good short term option for you..especially given the state of the global economy now means there aren't a ton of great paying jobs out there.
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Joined: 18 Jan 2017
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can I get a work visa/work permit there? The language center I work for said they will help me get it but all i have to do is pay for it.
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