By: Taylor Sands
Living abroad is one of the most exciting things that I have ever done.
I had certain expectations about how my life would be once I made the move. I thought that I would make enough money to live comfortably and travel to different cities near mine on the weekends. However, this is not the case for me. The school that I work at does not pay very much and it has become necessary for me to supplement my income with other teaching jobs.
I teach a mixed class of kindergarten and preschool aged students from 7:30 am until 2:30 pm, Monday through Friday. This can be exhausting work and most days I feel as if all I want to do is go home and take a very long nap. It has become necessary for me to seek out other teaching jobs, in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in Guadalajara, Mexico. For the past five months or so, I have been teaching two children in their home on Mondays and Wednesdays for two hours. I also teach business English to a group of people on Tuesday evenings for two hours. On Thursdays, I have a private student that I teach conversational English, as well.
Teaching all of these classes makes for one very tired teacher. By the time, Friday rolls around I sometimes feel like a zombie. I rely on heavily caffeinated beverages to get me through the week. On the weekends, I constantly have to plan all of my lessons and work on different ways to reach my students. Even though, my teaching schedule is a bit crazy, I would not change it for anything. Every group of students that I teach has taught me something new about teaching English. I have learned so much from being in front of students whose ages range from two to fifty. It is very common in Guadalajara for English teachers to teach many classes. Most teachers are not able to live on only the income from one job.
As such, there is not a lot of time for visiting and exploring new cities, which was one of my goals in teaching abroad. However, over the spring vacation a few weeks ago, I had the chance to visit beautiful Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta is a famous ocean side city that is popular with tourists and natives alike. I was fortunate that I was able to save up money from all of my teaching jobs and really take advantage of all the Puerto Vallarta had to offer.
I went to Puerto Vallarta with two friends who came to visit me from Chicago. We were only there for three nights and four days, but it felt like much longer. The hotel that we stayed in was beautiful and right on the ocean. You could see the ocean from our hotel room. This was amazing for me, because Guadalajara is nowhere near the ocean. It is about four hours from Puerto Vallarta. When we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, we immediately set out for our hotel’s pool, which was conveniently located right near the beach. I love looking at the ocean, but I am not a huge fan of sand and saltwater, so it was wonderful that we were able to enjoy the ocean view while swimming in the pool.
Our first night in Puerto Vallarta, my friends and I went on a sunset cruise around the ocean. We discovered a company called Vallarta Adventures and booked three separate excursions with them. The sunset cruise lasted for three hours and took place on a small cozy boat. We were able to sail around the ocean while sipping on tequila sunrises, cerveza and red wine. The view was breathtakingly beautiful. I had never seen anything like it before. My favorite part is that I was able to practice my Spanish with the captain of the boat and even made a new friend.
Our next adventure was by far the most exciting. We set out early Friday morning to go on an extreme zip line adventure. Now, I am not the most athletic of girls, in fact I do not even own a pair of tennis shoes, but this was amazing. The first part of the trip consisted of riding a mule up a mountain. The mules had a mind of their own and were constantly knocking into one another and trying to race to the top. After we finished the mule ride, we began to zip line. The adventure consisted of nine different zip lines. The first one was fairly straightforward, we were instructed on how to use the equipment and away we went, sailing over treetops in a forest high above Puerto Vallarta. The rest of the day consisted of repelling down cavern walls into a pool of water, standing on a board and holding on for dear life, and going upside down while zip lining! That was by far the most terrifying thing I have done in my life. For the grand finale, we were sent down a giant water slide into a waiting pool.
On my final day in Puerto Vallarta, my friends and I were able to enjoy a beautiful private beach called Las Calletas. We were once again up at the crack of dawn, boarding a giant yacht. The yacht carried us all the way to the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. For the entire day, we were able to enjoy kayaking, tubing, swimming and relaxing in the ocean breeze. It was truly heaven. The trip concluded with an amazing traditional Mexican buffet.
Puerto Vallarta was one of the most beautiful cities I have ever had the pleasure to visit. It was worth it to teach so many classes, if it meant that I could enjoy such a wonderful and luxurious vacation. Living and teaching abroad is not always everything that you thought it would be, it is often times very different from the picture you have drawn in your head. My experience has been much different from anything I could have possibly imagined, but I love it just the same. I would not trade this past year of my life for anything. It has been rich in new experiences and crazy adventures. Mexico, te amo.
Taylor Sands is a 25 year old from Chicago, Illinois. She holds a BA in Urban Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She graduated with a BA and a type 03 certification in 2012, and followed that by earning her TEFL certification with International TEFL Academy in Chicago. She was working as a waitress at a popular Chicago restaurant when she decided to make the move to Mexico.
Find her in our Alumni Photo Contest Winners 2014 and read her other articles:
The Wheels On The Bus - Teaching English In Guadalajara Mexico - Taylor Sands
Chicago Girl in Guadalajara...Teaching English in Mexico - Taylor Sands
- Top Destinations to Explore while Teaching English in Mexico
- How Can I Get a Work Visa to Teach English in Mexico?
- Fiesta Cinco de Mayo! Celebrate as an English Teacher in Mexico