“As I was finishing up my senior year of college at Florida State University I started thinking about what I wanted to do in the next chapter of my life. I have studied Spanish for the last eleven years of my life, and knew I wanted to continue that. I was browsing LinkedIn, searching for jobs, when I came across Global Nomadic and their various volunteer opportunities across the world. Once I read more about the program in Costa Rica I was sold. I have many friends and family who have travelled to Costa Rica over the years and they always have nothing but good things to say about the country. I think this also helped making my pre-departure planning a little easier. I had many people who I could ask for advice when it came to packing. This made that process easier, even though I always over pack and have a hard time cutting down what I actually need. I also always save my packing for the last minute which is not the best practice. My main aims for my time on the project were to practice my Spanish in a country where Spanish is the native language, and also gain the skills I needed in order to become a successful teacher myself. I wanted to be able to connect with people who come from different backgrounds than I do, and a shared language is a good way to do that.
The first night that I landed in San José, Costa Rica, it was night time so I didn’t really get a good look at the country I would be calling home for the next two and a half months. However, as I drove through the country next day I was in awe of its beauty. When I arrived at Proyecto Santa Teresa I met Vill, who was extremely helpful and welcoming. He showed me around the hostel and made sure I had everything I knew where important places in town where (Super Ronny #2, the grocery store being the most important). Vill is also my Spanish teacher, and is definitely a good resource when I have questions regarding the hostel or Spanish language. Kerri is also amazing! She is so friendly and is a great teacher! I had my first TEFL classes with her, and she made it seem so much less intimidating than I thought it was going to be. Over the course of my time in Costa Rica she has become a great friend. The area of Santa Teresa is also fairly easy to navigate. It is one dirt road, and you can find anything you need on that main stretch. Our hostel is also a less than five minute walk to the beach, which is so nice! When I first arrived it was green season and there were not many other tourists in the area. It was a great time to practice my Spanish language skills and I think the locals definitely appreciate seeing foreigners make an effort to be part of the culture. I also live with two other teachers who did their TEFL training through Proyecto, so we have made fast friends.
As I come to the end of my time at Proyecto I am amazed at how quickly these last two months have flown by. Living in Santa Teresa I can see that the English classes they provide are making a difference in the community. Whenever I see students out in town they always come over and practice their English. My favorite thing is when they say, “Hi, teacher”! I had the privilege of getting four students who had never taken English classes before. I have worked with them twice a week over the last two months and I can already see how far they have come with their language skills and how eager they are to continue. It is an amazing feeling to know that you are making a difference in someone’s life. This project definitely went above and beyond my expectations. Everyone who is here as part of Proyecto is like a small family. Those who have been here for a long time are such good resources and always willing to help. It really makes the experience so much better that there is a giant support system here. I would 100% recommend this program to a friend, and in fact I already have. I think it’s a great place to earn your TEFL certification and also increase your knowledge of the Spanish language.
Over the last two months I have gotten to experience so many new things. I have experienced the night life of Santa Teresa (Thursdays are the night to party here), and spent Halloween in Montezuma with the Proyecto family. I also jumped off a waterfall in Montezuma, conquering my extreme fear of heights. I rented ATVs one day with friends and we took a ride through the jungle. Last weekend I also travelled to Granada, Nicaragua with another English teacher who I live with at Proyecto. These last two months have been full of amazing experiences for me!!”