Teaching English in Costa Rica’s Central Valley

I’m sitting poolside as I write this, enjoying a cup of delicious Costa Rican coffee and a scrumptious plate of fresh tropical fruit. A kaleidoscope of tropical flowers, the sweet singsong of birds, and the colorful flash of hummingbirds buzzing from flower to flower surround me.

A cool, steady breeze keeps me cool under a bright blue sky framed by lime green palm trees and the shape of rolling hills and misty mountains in the distance.

This is an average day in my Costa Rican paradise.

I’ve been living this lifestyle for about two years now and to maintain it, I teach English at a university in Costa Rica’s Central Valley.

But teaching English wasn’t part of my initial plan when I moved to Costa Rica. In fact, it was the last thing I wanted to do. But I kept hearing wonderful things about it from a good friend and I thought that if she could do it and enjoy it, I could at least try it out. It seemed to make her really happy so I gave it a shot.

I immediately fell in love with teaching English. The Costa Rican students make so it easy. They’re respectful and eager to learn, and their laid back attitude makes it pleasurable for me to learn on the job.

Another perk is the assortment of interesting people I’ve met on the job. English teachers aren’t just people with degrees in English, they come from a variety of backgrounds.

Take myself.

I’ve a degree in graphic design and I’ve 10 years’ experience in the professional publishing industry. What has any of that got to do with teaching English? Nothing whatsoever. This has been a completely new career path for me.

More surprising still, is that I tried to teach once back in the U.S.—and hated it. The atmosphere in class was completely different and to be honest, I found it difficult. In Costa Rica on the other hand, I love it. And I get glowing reviews from my students.

Among the other teachers I work with have backgrounds in things like as accounting, hospitality, management, marketing, music…

There’s also a wide range of ages and life stages. I work with recent college graduates and retired people…and everything in between. Some are in Costa Rica for six months, while others are here indefinitely.

Among this eclectic collection of people, I’ve made some fantastic friends. This has made my rich life in Costa Rica even richer. At night, we unwind together in our favorite local bars or enjoy sunset poolside cocktails at one of our houses.

On our days off, we take quick one- or two-day trips together to the beach or to the mountains. We get great holidays and when school is out of session, we travel further afield to places like Nicaragua or Panama.

My next trip will be to the Osa Peninsula in southwestern Costa Rica; it’s considered the most biologically diverse location in the world. As a nature-lover, I can’t possibly imagine how it can get any better than having a place like this in my own backyard.

I’ll be getting there by a tiny plane, so I’ll be able to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Costa Rican countryside on my way. While there, I plan to swim with the dolphins…go whale watching… snorkeling—and hiking through the lush jungles of Corcovado National Forest.

Some might say I’m lucky, but I don’t think so. I fell in love with Costa Rica, made the decision to live and work here, and then just acted upon it. Anyone can do what I’ve done.

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