TEFL – graduated in San Jose

This is it! After this intense month of learning how to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), I am now officially graduated and can teach! A big THANK YOU to our great teachers (Iani and Chelsea) who made this month very interesting and taught us all we know today as of TEFL, drilled us and made us improve our teaching skills so we can jump in the teaching field with confidence. I really enjoyed it! As well a big THANK YOU to the whole Maximo Nivel staff for their professionalism, availability and great positive attitude.

I enjoyed the class we were, small class of 6 people from different horizons and background, keen to learn and make the best out of this course. Being a small group eased a lot the learning environment of course, thanks to my fellow TEFL colleagues, really enjoyed sharing this experience with you!

Graduation

TEFL Team

Maximo Nivel

Reception

It’s been a bit of a crazy last week, as we had practical teaching. It kinda felt to be thrown in the middle of the lions at first, but then it became awesome, because you manage you own class, you lead them where you want, and as my TEFL teachers used to say, you start to “feel the love”.

One of the great personal satisfaction of teaching is to make somebody (one or many people) learn something, and see them grow and get better, and sometimes you may live some magical moments with your students when they come back to you saying, “hey that was a great course!”.

Teaching Practical Teaching week

Having the diploma at hand, now it’s time to define where to go and where to teach. It appears that teaching French may be a lot more interesting than teaching English in terms of salary, so I am definitely taking this option into consideration. Having this TEFL education, can be adapted to any language teaching.

To sum up the extremes in TEFL teaching abroad, South Korea will pay your flight, your appartment and you will be easily able to save more than 1000 dollars a month. Whereas in Latin America, you will need private clients aside of the main institute you teach at to survive the month.

I had time to think about staying in Costa Rica, but I am not sure it really fullfill my “dream destination”, yes it is in Latin America, yes the climate is awesome and the beach is not too far (still 4-5 hours of bus to reach a nice beach), yes the nature is closeby and great. And yes, people speak Spanish and are very social and the nightlife can be great such as El Cuartel on monday’s with an awesome live band, check this out:

Or the area of San Pedro on the Calle Amargura with the two main bars : Xcape and Caccios. There is always a lot of students around, even from 5 pm and on. Beware it may get extremely crowded on the weekend.

Calle Amargura

But, San Jose is not a nice city, from my point of view, it lacks a common place, area, where people could socialize, I am thinking of an area with outside cafes, and terrace, and restaurants, and outside park to walk by, which does exist in many other latina american main cities. Or where people could go for a jogging. It’s also a VERY americanized country, you will find everywhere the big fast food chains and even Wallmart. Regarding tourism it is an expensive country, as every daily excursion will cost you at least 80 dollars.

People say it’s a quite polluated town, I guess that in the very center with all the buses passing by, yes it might be. But compared to Guatemala City or Mexico City, San Jose is fresh air! Here are a few pictures of downtown San Jose.

Street San Jose

San Jose center

Church San Jose center

Regarding people, after talking with the locals I realized and it’s been explained to me, that this is part of the culture. Ticos (not all, don’t take me wrong), can be quite superficial, a bit the american way. Bottomline, when you think you spent a great night knowing new people and exchanging numbers, you may never hear from them anymore. So compared to all other Latin American countries where people are truly “real and true”, it did surprise me.

The objective of this week is to get to know a bit more places in San Jose, knock at the school doors and get a sense of what they have to offer and already prepare the plan B towards Colombia and Brazil.

As an extra cultural add to this post, during our stay we discovered Cartago, a little town nearby San Jose, with as a highlight some ruins in the center of the town, and the famous basilic which attracts millions of believers for a “pelerinage” once per year.

Cartago Basilic

But what people still do during the whole year, they crawl on their knees from the front door up to the center of the church!

Cartago Basilic