Getting a TEFL-certificate is hard work. But if you get it in the right place, it can also be a fantastic adventure and career-enhancing journey. Earlier this year, Emmanuelle Allongue took the opportunity to leave the cold Canadian winter behind and travel to Costa Rica for two months of intensive learning – and a spot of surfing! We asked what the experience has meant to her and her career:
How did you first hear about the project?
“I first heard about the Costa Rica TEFL project on McGill University’s CAPS (career planning services) website. I had been looking for something to do after graduating early in December, and wanted to find an opportunity that would let me travel, but also gain a valuable skill. I looked into the project some more and started chatting with Elisabeth from Global Nomadic and Kerri from the project. Speaking with both of them solidified my interest in the project, they were so helpful and passionate about it.”
What made you decide to join this project?
“I would have to say that what really made me decide on doing my TEFL in Costa Rica was hearing ONLY positive things when I asked people about the country. I knew I wanted to get my TEFL in a spanish-speaking country so that I would have the opportunity to improve my spanish, but I chose Costa Rica because of its reputation for being absolutely beautiful and having the friendliest people (so true). I also really wanted to get away from the Canadian/Washington winter and be by the beach!”
What was the most memorable part of the course for you/what did you enjoy most?
“The most memorable part of the course was definitely the people: my fellow TEFL girls, Jacq and Kerri, Thai and Aly, and all the students I was fortunate enough to practice my teaching skills on. Although all the teaching theories and methods were super interesting, and I learned a lot, the best part about the course was learning/memorizing it with Kathleen and Julia (my TEFL girls), and lesson planning and bouncing ideas off of each other. Interacting with the students was effortless and so much fun because they were all so nice, and seeing them reach target objectives was extremely rewarding. Talking about lessons and getting feedback afterwards from Jacqueline and Kerri was also both super helpful and really enjoyable.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the “pura vida” way of life. Being somewhat of a high-stress person at times, it was really enlightening to see how laid-back and anxiety-free people were; they just enjoyed life and didn’t worry too much about the rest of it because things just have a way of working out. I loved being able to go surf in the mornings or go for a run on the beach with the other TEFLs without stressing out about not having lesson planned for the day ahead. I definitely learned when and how to relax and that stress is something I put on myself more often than I should.”
What aspects of taking part in this project do you think will benefit you in your future? (How did your confidence grow as a teacher during the training and how well prepared did you feel for taking on job interviews?
“I think all aspects of the project will benefit me in my future. From the teaching skills I learned, to the self-awareness I gained, and the connections I made with people, my Costa Rica experience will impact me forever.
As I got more and more practice, I felt a lot more comfortable and that contributed to feeling confident in front of a class. Getting feedback regularly and being able to discuss class material or classroom management with Jacqueline and Kerri also built up my confidence because I was able to learn from my experiences and be better equipped for ones to come.
I felt extremely prepared for job interviews because I knew I had been trained well and thoroughly. I knew I had both the knowledge and the practice to make a qualified ESL teacher candidate. I also knew I could count on Kerri and Jacqueline to be solid references because they had helped me improve on my weak points and know what I am capable of. I went in to job interviews being fully confident that I deserved the position I was applying for because of the training, feedback, and teaching opportunities I had received, and it paid off!! I’m currently working as an ESL teacher in Washington, D.C. at a company called English Language Services and I love it so much.
Overall I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this Costa Rica TEFL program to anyone who is interested in teaching ESL!!!”
Learn more about the TEFL-course in Costa Rica and sign up for your own stint of paradise. It could change the rest of your life.