A Journey from TEFL to Ticos to Travelling

By: Samuel Herrington

TEFL, the ticket to adventure, learning, and culture-rich experiences. The journey for me started by finding the passion for teaching as an outdoor activity instructor in the north of England. With this inspiration to help teach others, I decided it was time to do my TEFL certification.

So, I took the big old metal bird over the Atlantic ocean to the ‘Pura Vida’ vibes of Costa Rica to go back to school. I had been wanting to visit Costa Rica for some time ever since I met a ‘Tico’ when I was studying a little closer to home in Germany. Costa Ricans take pride in calling themselves Ticos and rightly so; wouldn’t you like to be associated with the ‘Pura Vida’ (Pure life) lifestyle?

Living a Memorable Life: My Teaching Journey from Latin America to Spain

By: Laura Hoppe

La vida no es la que uno vivió, sino la que uno recuerda y cómo la recuerda para contarla. Gabriel García Márquez (known as “Gabo”), one of Colombia’s most beloved authors, once wrote this very sentence. “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”

 

Soul Purpose: Realizing My True Calling

By: Chrystal Smith

For one year (September 2015 to September 2016), I lived and taught English in Heredia, Costa Rica. This cultural immersion was an exciting year of teaching, learning, self-discovery, and transition to the person I am today. During my time abroad, I learned to be flexible with day to day life, welcome the unexpected and gained an understanding that we have great things in store for us when we remain open. In my willingness to seek a life outside of my comfort zone, I became more in tune to an authentic and consciously aware version of myself. I expanded my lens of the world and looking beyond a life of privilege gave me much more respect and appreciation for perspectives other than my own.

Leaving the Classroom for Online Flexibility

By: David Peña 

Exhausted and over it, I was ready to leave my 40 hour per week classroom job for more flexibility and travel. When moving abroad to teach English, I did not expect to have such a rigid schedule, with dozens of outside responsibilities. I wasn’t just planning classes, but somehow I got roped into teaching a homeroom class and working closely with parents and school system drudgery. I was tired and had little time to travel and experience the fun and exciting parts of teaching English abroad.

Moving Past Day #365: What to Do After Your Year Teaching Abroad

By: Olivia Flores

I think a lot of U.S. Americans see teaching abroad as a young-adult, one-year phase. You go, take pictures, relax, and reluctantly post about coming back to the “real world.” And although teaching abroad may very well include a lot of those things (especially way too many pictures), it shouldn’t be something we discredit as frivolous or irrelevant. Teaching abroad is an investment in yourself and your community--a valuable experience not to be taken lightly. However, with most of my friends graduating from medical school and getting accepted to PhD programs, it was difficult even for me to feel like I was moving forward, taking real steps towards a worthwhile future, while abroad and away from my community in Chicago. Without the security of a new degree title and even a steady American income, I admit I was worried to continue living abroad. But I had more compelling reasons to stay.

Opening a Restaurant in Nicaragua

By: Trevor Vilsack

On April 18th 2016 I started an adventure of a lifetime when I moved my life from the United States and relocated to Leon, Nicaragua, to get TEFL certified. Upon graduation I quickly received a job at one of the Universities here called UCC as an English professor. I spent almost a year in Leon teaching at this University and it was an incredible experience. After this year I then moved to Bogota, Colombia, where I continued to teach English, this time online, and also worked at a family owned furniture store while living with this family. The purpose of moving to Bogota was to get fully immersed in Spanish and become fluent in the language, which had always been a goal of mine when moving abroad. The six months that I spent in Colombia were amazing, and when the six months had finished I decided to move back to Nicaragua. When I arrived back to Nicaragua, I continued to teach English online at first, but also started the process of my next dream, to open a restaurant!

Living & Teaching English in Latin America: An Incredibly Diverse Region

By: Camille Gix

Spanish. There is my list of similarities between Ecuador and Chile, and even that is debatable with the drastic change in accent. After living in Ecuador for nearly eight months teaching English, I figured the move to Chile wouldn’t be that different. I thought, “Hey! Same language, same continent, same culture right?” Wrong.

Ecuador, named for its location in the middle of the earth, is relatively warm, year-round, especially where I lived, in a small town near to the coast. Humid and hot, with a lively culture mixed with a native flair, Ecuador is what you would expect of a South American country. With a slow, smooth and song-like Spanish, learning the language was a wonderful experience. People in Ecuador are warm, family-oriented, and life in general in slower and much more relaxed than that of the United States.

"Maestra" to "Ms. Flores"

By: Maryclare Flores

The days of cramming myself into the metrobus, getting kissed everyday by the lovely señora in the cafeteria for my morning coffee, and hearing “Maestra! Maestra!” was over.

As I was on the plane home, exhausted from crying all night the night before with my friends in Mexico, I was suddenly calm. This will feel good, I thought. Weird, but good.

Paving My Own Road While Teaching Abroad

By: Maylin Enamorado

When offered a chance to teach in Italy this summer, I immediately said yes. I had been living in Los Angeles at the time in an attempt to live what I thought was my American Dream.I had finally grown tired of people telling me that living abroad was “unsustainable” and that I should be pursuing my artistic passions at home in the U.S. where I supposedly had a real chance of getting ahead. I returned home after teaching at a university in Nicaragua for a year, full of expectations for my literary career. I began searching internship opportunities in New York, LA, and Miami. I sent my resume to nearly 100 different publishing and production companies, and I waited. A month into being home, I could barely remember why I had left my old life or understand why people believed that life was automatically better here. Still, I held out hope that I had made the right decision by coming back.

Anything Worth Doing Requires Effort - My Mexico TEFL Class Experience

By: Jeffrey Rumpf

So, you're seriously considering teaching as a job and going abroad as an adventure.  It is exciting, but there are also hurdles one must consider.

Are you financially able to deal with a drastically reduced lifestyle? Are you able to deal with the culture you move to? You will have to change; they won't change for you. Are you mature enough to accept the hands you are dealt each step of the way? And are you serious enough to not only pass the course, but to put in the time and effort in your new job abroad?

These are questions that are personal, and only you can answer them. And you may discover along the way (when reality sets in for particular circumstances) that you under or overestimated. All I can do is tell you my experience, with International TEFL Academy, and with my TEFL class in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It is worth noting that some of the experiences were extremely difficult, and are not necessarily representative of what another person will face, but they did happen to me.