From TEFL students, to TEFL graduates, to TEFL employees

In April 2018, two young girls from opposite ends of the globe decided to leave the hustle and bustle of the city life in their home countries to explore not only work freedom but financial freedom too.

Shannon, who was originally from South Africa, worked for a university alongside experts in the field of education until she decided that she wanted to become an expert herself. With her Honours Degree in Inclusive Education already completed and her career in a fit state, she felt that she was restricted to one place only. However, in order to expand globally she needed a certification that would allow her to teach abroad, so she opened up her laptop and in her Google search bar, she typed in “T E F L”…

Nickola, born and raised in Trinidad and Tobego, was working at the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobego. She coordinated summer sports camps in the Sports, Development and Performance Unit (SDPU), while liaising with the National Sporting Governing Bodies and the Company. Her role became very political and her frustrations towards decision-making and leadership on a governmental level are what demotivated her and gave her the courage to look for something beyond Trinidad and Tobego. Her real dream was to travel, although the reality of her situation was that she needed to support herself financially too, so she also opened up her laptop and Google- searched “how to travel the world and make money”…

In a nutshell, these girls needed to bridge the gap between work and travel and Costa Rica TEFL bridged that gap. April 23rd, 2018, was the first day of their TEFL journeys and what was a total of a month, seemed like it had passed by in the blink of an eye.

“A night out on the Playa Sámara town”
From left to right: Shannon, Nickola, Tristan (TEFL peer), Kaitlyn (TEFL peer) and local bar manager José.

Their TEFL training was drawing to a close and Shannon had secured a job in San José (the capital city of Costa Rica). Nickola had received an invitation for a face- to- face interview in San José too. After graduation the girls decided they’d travel to the city, by bus, together and stay in an airbnb for the week and part ways once they’d settled in their jobs.

“Celebrating a safe touch- down in San José”

4 months later…

“The view from their airbnb apartment in San Pedro, San José”

So much for parting ways. Shannon and Nickola got so stuck in their routines at work that finding an apartment was the least of their worries. It all just seemed so comfortable and convenient, perfect location, easy on the budget and most importantly, coming home to a familiar face; no matter how tough being In a foreign city was, having a ‘friend’ just always made it seem so much better.

“First Border Run to Panamá: the longest 8 hour bus ride”
“Finally! Isla Bastimentos, Panamá- Quesopa!”

Eventually, the concrete jungle, I mean San José city, was taking its toll on Shannon. Days, weeks and months seemed to be getting longer and work seemed to be the only way of life. It felt too much exactly like what she was trying to escape in South Africa. She longed to be back in Playa Sámara, close to the beach, the clean air and the “Pura Vida”. As a TEFL graduate and Alumna, having access to lifetime job placement assistance, Shannon expressed her dream to Barbara, the Costa Rica TEFL Director, and just like that she secured a job in a local private school in Playa Sámara in September 2018.

Leaving Nickola behind felt like a band-aid had been ripped off of an unhealed wound but they promised to maintain their friendship throughout their individual journeys.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Nickola being the trooper that she is, pushed through and continued to gain her experience  as a TEFL teacher in the city. She was later promoted by a language school, in 2019, to be the Program Advisor but after 1 month, she had decided it was not for her. She decided to take a contract as a volunteer, travelling around all parts of Costa Rica and teaching English as a foreign language. Once her contract was terminated she went to Europe, initially for a family wedding in Paris but she ended up au- pairing for 3 months in the UK. Her dream to travel and support herself at the same time had come true…

A few months later…

Barbara had offered Nickola a job in July 2019, to be a TEFL Trainer at TEFL Costa Rica, and although she felt like she was setting up her life in Europe, an opportunity at the beach, surrounded by nature and peace was hard to compete with so she returned and started her new chapter.

Shannon had resigned from the private school, after having taught English there for 1 year, in hopes to spread her TEFL wings a little wider. Barbara, came to the rescue yet again and offered Shannon a job as the Administrative Coordinator for TEFL Costa Rica.

Now the girls are reunited!

Feel free to drop by Costa Rica TEFL anytime to meet them.

“Playa Sámara: Shannon and Nickola taking a swim in the far distance”
Share this:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *