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Teach in Costa Rica
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txlumberjack



Joined: 24 Jun 2011
Posts: 9
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:18 pm    Post subject: Teach in Costa Rica Reply with quote

Hello. I was wanting to get some opinions on teaching in Costa Rica. I visited Costa Rica 2 years ago, and fell in LOVE with the country. Beautiful, good food, nice people and it was a pleasure to travel around. One of my main goals while teaching English, is to learn Spanish. Is Costa Rica a good place to learn Spanish, or would you recommend somewhere else?

Are there any schools that you would recommend? Any advice would help!

Thanks!
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tuanismae19



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, despite the fact that you made this post some time ago, I feel compelled to share a little bit of my experience. Hopefully you haven't moved on!

I say this with all the love in the world for Costa Rica: do not come here to make money. You won't - not as an ESL teacher anyway. If you don't have anything at home haunting you (student loans, credit card bills, etc.) you can make a very modest living here off $800 a month and still afford the occasional beach trip. However, most ESL teachers really aim to hit the $900-$1000 range, as it gives you a heck of a lot more wiggle room.

Like the rest of Latin America, it's much easier to get a job if you're already in the country. Very few schools will recruit outside of Costa Rica. There are a ton of private institutes here, and being a native English speaker who is in possession of a TEFL/TESOL certificate and/or a pulse usually lands you a job pretty easily. Just watch out - some of these places can be total scams. If what the school is offering sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A very popular scam here in Costa Rica is an employer will offer a work visa or a pretty cushy salary and then never deliver on it.

On the positive side, teaching here IS fun! I've taught a number of different age groups and have always found my students to be delightful, intelligent and motivated. As you already know how warm the culture is, I'm sure you can imagine how students regard their teachers. Not a day goes by when I don't get hugs from excited students squealing, "Teaaaaaacher!" Very Happy

If you live with a host family rather than in an apartment by yourself, you're far more likely to learn Spanish. The problem with teaching English here is that soooo many of us gringo teachers know each other and develop friendships and thus spend lots and lots of time speaking English. I live with locals and that has helped my Spanish immensely.

Look into Idiomas Mundiales, English2Go, or the Panamerican School. I know people who work/have worked with all three and always had nice things to say.
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 580
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tuanismae - what is the reputation of International House amongst teachers? Good employer, bad employer, great employer or mediocre employer...?
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txlumberjack



Joined: 24 Jun 2011
Posts: 9
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tsuanismae19- Thanks for the advice!! Unfortunately, I do have that little thing called student loans haunting me! Ugh!!!

But, I'm definitely not interested in the money, although it is nice. I haven't given up on Costa Rica or Latin America for that matter. I'm actually in South Korea right now teaching English. I do have a TEFL, university teaching experience and a Master's degree.

So how did you end up living with locals? I'm mainly interested in learning Spanish. I love the language and the Latin American culture. Is there another country you'd recommend for learning Spanish? I've been hearing people talk about Spain, but isn't it different?

Hope you're having a great week!
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tuanismae19



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spanglish - Is that a British institute? If so, it sounds familiar. If it's the same one I'm thinking of, I've heard their employees are happy, but that they're selective about hiring people who sound 'British enough'. A friend of mine is half English (as in, a parent from there) and his accent is pretty heavily English, but they told him it wasn't enough. Laughing Pretty silly if you ask me.

Jack - If it makes you feel better, I too have student loans. The nice part about the low wage here is it qualifies you to have your monthly payments capped at 10% of your income. That's obviously not something you'd want to do for a decade, but it certainly won't hurt you to do it for a year or two.

I ended up living with locals because I've been in and out of CR for over two years now. I'm friends with the family I live with, and they equipped one of the rooms in their house to rent... so here I am! It's been a truly lovely experience living with them!

You could go to Spain, but yes, it is different. The Spanish you'll learn there is very, very different from what you would learn in Latin America. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be useful - lots of Spaniards come here on vacation and everyone understands each other just fine. Think of the differences between the different forms of English and French spoken all over the world. I think Costa Rica is a great place to learn Spanish, as long as you're fully committed to it, because it's very easy to get off track and find others who speak English. I was in Nicaragua a few months ago and met some guys who were studying Spanish at an institute in Granada (lovely city!!), and I'd never heard of people doing that before, but they seemed to be really enjoying their time there.

Also be prepared for the fact that Latin American Spanish comes in a number of different varieties. For an amusing (although slightly exaggerated) look at differences in spoken Spanish throughout the world, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyp7xt-ygy0
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DebMer



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 210
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tuanismae19 wrote:


Also be prepared for the fact that Latin American Spanish comes in a number of different varieties. For an amusing (although slightly exaggerated) look at differences in spoken Spanish throughout the world, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyp7xt-ygy0


iJa ja ja ja! i'ta bueno el video!
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Ben Glickman



Joined: 10 Mar 2004
Posts: 5
Location: Vancouver, B.C. Canada

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:50 pm    Post subject: Non profit in Costa Rica Reply with quote

There is a non profit organization looking for volunteer English teachers. More information about the organization, English for Change, and a recent job opening, can be found here: https://www.esl101.com/recruiters/englishforchange
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:29 am    Post subject: Here's a question then.... Reply with quote

I lived in CR very briefly and then left for other parts. I was interested in working there but the costs vs earnings never looked better than just-about break-even.

Is there still a general consensus that 1) a job making $800/months is fairly easy to obtain and 2) that rent will end up being about $400/month?

Tell me if this is self-sustaining then.

1st year with an $800/mo salary is doable if not great. Maybe one could subsidize themselves at $100/mo from savings for the first year. No credit card/student debt to worry about.

After one year, a better job can be found, slightly more affordable living arrangement etc.. Life get's a little more breathing room. One no long needs to dip into savings.

Is this a reasonable expectation? What's wrong if anything with the above scenario?
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Cruiser



Joined: 26 Nov 2010
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Here's a question then.... Reply with quote

tideout wrote:


Is this a reasonable expectation? What's wrong if anything with the above scenario?


well I worked for about $3 per hour in 2004...made about $600 per month and managed to live on it. Quite happily too.
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Here's a question then.... Reply with quote

Cruiser wrote:
tideout wrote:


Is this a reasonable expectation? What's wrong if anything with the above scenario?


well I worked for about $3 per hour in 2004...made about $600 per month and managed to live on it. Quite happily too.


Hi Cruiser,
Thanks for responding.$3/hr is cutting it pretty close I'd imagine. What was your living arrangement like? Split an apartment? Find a cheap room?

Either that or a heck of a lot of hours?
Very Happy
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tatsuo1



Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:35 pm    Post subject: re: jobs in CR Reply with quote

You can also try the Pacific coast schools. many of them pay for rent/electricity which stretches that paycheck a whole lot more. You would have to pay your own airfare but some of the schools are great to work for. What's your certification? International schools pay a little better, cover the rent but usually require a bachelor's or master's degree
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:26 am    Post subject: Re: re: jobs in CR Reply with quote

tatsuo1 wrote:
You can also try the Pacific coast schools. many of them pay for rent/electricity which stretches that paycheck a whole lot more. You would have to pay your own airfare but some of the schools are great to work for. What's your certification? International schools pay a little better, cover the rent but usually require a bachelor's or master's degree


I've got about 3 1/2 years of experience, B. A. and TESOL cert from School of International Training (SIT).
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Cruiser



Joined: 26 Nov 2010
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:13 am    Post subject: Re: Here's a question then.... Reply with quote

Hi Cruiser,
Thanks for responding.$3/hr is cutting it pretty close I'd imagine. What was your living arrangement like? Split an apartment? Find a cheap room?

Either that or a heck of a lot of hours?
Very Happy[/quote]

i arrived with a lot of money, spent it, ended up with $20. I moved into a funky apartment above a shoe store with my gf and answered an ad in the paper about a teaching job. Told the guy I'd take it if he'd give me 30 hours a week. Didn't have much choice about it. Oddly enough I found I could live without money. I was v. happy actually...
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Here's a question then.... Reply with quote

Cruiser wrote:
Hi Cruiser,
Thanks for responding.$3/hr is cutting it pretty close I'd imagine. What was your living arrangement like? Split an apartment? Find a cheap room?

Either that or a heck of a lot of hours?
Very Happy


i arrived with a lot of money, spent it, ended up with $20. I moved into a funky apartment above a shoe store with my gf and answered an ad in the paper about a teaching job. Told the guy I'd take it if he'd give me 30 hours a week. Didn't have much choice about it. Oddly enough I found I could live without money. I was v. happy actually...[/quote]

Ah, sometimes the novia can make it all happen. Very Happy
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tatsuo1



Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:57 am    Post subject: re:pacific coast Reply with quote

tideout, what grade level(s) is your experience?
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