TEFL graduates, what are they doing now?

Deziree Teague, a Costa Rica TEFL Graduate, has travelled to over 20 new countries since graduating in February 2013!

Deziree completed our TEFL course in February 2013 and since then has taught in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Spain, and Australia.  She is currently teaching at a school called Greenwich College in Melbourne, Australia. She teaches adults who come from all over the world: Brazil, Colombia, Thailand, Russia, Belgium, Japan (just to name a few). Most students are between 18-35 years old and she mostly teaches pre-intermediate, intermediate, and upper-intermediate classes.

Melbourne is a large coastal city in southeastern Australia. The city center is bustling and there are tons of cool neighborhoods in the surrounding area full of bars, cafes, and parks. Melbourne is known for its “bi-polar” weather patterns, but overall the winters are cool and the summers are warm. In her free time, Deziree enjoys taking salsa classes, volunteering with a local church, doing fitness classes, and taking day trips.  Since 2013, Deziree has travelled to over 20 new countries including, Greece, India, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Germany and many more.

Deziree told us, “Costa Rica TEFL was the foundation that prepared me for my teaching career. The activities and games I learned during the course prepared me to work in environments with very little resources as well as institutions with the most high-tech tools. I utilize the communicative approach on a daily basis to keep my classes dynamic and engaging. And of course, all of the grammatical knowledge I gained from the course has prepared me to teach grammar in a way that is comprehensible to my students. Overall, Costa Rica TEFL taught me to be creative, resourceful, and confident!”

Within the next year Deziree plans to continue teaching in Australia and then spend a couple of months backpacking through Southeast Asia. Her long-term goal is to get her MBA and combine her teaching experience to lead financial literacy courses for underserved communities.


A Costa Rica TEFL Graduate, Cody DeLaney, is teaching English in Tokyo, Japan!

Cody DeLaney graduated from Costa Rica TEFL in August of 2014 and since then has taught in a rural high school in China and at a school in Tokyo, Japan.

Currently, Cody is teaching in Tokyo, Japan at a school called Dokkyo University.  He teaches pre-intermediate English to university students. Cody works Monday to Friday, and has the weekends to explore the capital.  The climate is humid but as fall sets in the charm of Japan becomes apparent. Japanese gardens are full of trees changing colors.

Our TEFL Graduate spends his free time exploring the streets of Tokyo and izakayas.  An izakaya is a casual place where businessmen go for after-work drinking. They are informal establishments that also serve food to accompany the drinks.  Cody told us that Tokyo is the largest metropolitan on Earth! The city is full of businessmen walking about in their suits and exhausted people sleeping on trains. 

Cody enjoys living and teaching in Tokyo and he is so glad that he started his journey with Costa Rica TEFL.  He said, “Costa Rica TEFL doesn’t t just teach the communicative approach, it models it! The activities and approaches I learned there gave me a strong foundation as a teacher and showed me how to make the classroom both fun and effective.”

After Cody’s contract is up,  he will either return to Latin America for work or begin his graduate studies in Seattle. 

Johnson Barrie, a Former TEFL Student, has put his TEFL certificate to use while teaching English in Colombia and Guatemala!

Johnson Barrie, a Former TEFL student has definitely put his TEFL certificate to use! Johnson graduated from Costa Rica TEFL in May of 2016.  As of March 2017 he has been teaching in Palin, Guatemala while also travelling around Central and South America.

Palin is a vibrant town with a real Guatemalan vibe.  Johnson likes it a lot because there are no tourists there at all. The streets are full of people chatting amongst one another and there are always people selling goods.  Palin is about 30 minutes south of the capital and is surrounded by 3 volcanoes, 2 of which are active.

Johnson teaches at a school called Ok English Academy.  He teaches English to people ranging in age from 12-60. The school gave him a book but he still has freedom to practice conversations and play games that he learned in TEFL. Johnson said, “Costa Rica TEFL gave me confidence to stand up in front of a class of students and give a full and interesting class. The activities I was taught are amazing.”

On the weekends Johnson enjoys going hiking in the mountains or volcanoes.  He also can take a bus to visit other cities and bordering countries. He told us that Antigua is a fun place to be on the weekends!  Since gaining his TEFL certificate, Johnson has also travelled to Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico and Peru.  

Johnson doesn’t plan to stop using his TEFL certificate after Guatemala either. He is already planning his next teaching adventure after Christmas in Colombia! Thanks to Costa Rica TEFL Johnson can now choose any country in the world to teach English in.

Kyle Miller, a Costa Rica TEFL Graduate, started his journey in Playa Samara and is now teaching English in Thailand!

Kyle Miller completed his TEFL course in April 2017 with hopes of traveling the world and earning a living at the same time.  Thanks to Costa Rica TEFL, Kyle is doing just that! His journey began in March 2017 in Playa Samara, Costa Rica with Costa Rica TEFL and now Kyle is in Surat Thani, Thailand teaching English to first graders.

Kyle teaches at Surat Thani International School. He shared with us that he also teaches Science and Social Studies.  Kyle is able to incorporate the tools he learned during his TEFL training into his lesson plans in order to teach other subjects. “Costa Rica TEFL helped me become more organized and gave me the skills I need to teach other subjects.”

In his free time, Kyle watches beautiful sunsets on the beach, visits local bars in town with great music, and enjoys shopping at local markets. 

We would like to thank Kyle for sharing his story and to show other people with similar mindsets that it is definitely possible to follow your dreams wherever they may lead you!


Three years ago, Margaret Dunn and Leigh Fulton hadn’t been to Playa Samara and hadn’t met each other.  Now, thanks to Costa Rica TEFL they are best friends living the life and teaching in paradise.

Margaret Dunn came to Playa Samara to earn her TEFL certification with Costa Rica TEFL three years ago.  Leigh Fulton, who came one month later, had the same idea as Margaret.  These two girls have been enjoying living life in Playa Samara ever since and now are best friends thanks to their shared interests for teaching and travel. Margaret and Leigh both fell in love with the town, people and culture and wanted to be a part of it. Along with their other Costa Rica TEFL graduate friends, they have formed their own family abroad.  On any given day, they work, surf, walk on the beach, practice yoga, watch the sunset or just relax in the sand.  Samara is such a beautiful quaint town and it has a bit of everything for everyone including both night owls and early birds!

On the weekends there are always plenty of activities going on including beach soccer games, Full Moon Parties, surf competitions and much more. Whether the girls stay in town to enjoy a beach day, or rent a car and road trip up/down the coast to find other beaches,  they are always creating countless memories that will last a lifetime.

Margaret and Leigh both work for Tutor ABC, an online teaching company that uses a video chat/PowerPoint platform. They both teach students from Taiwan, China, and Japan, and also all over the world. Margaret is also teaching English at CREAR, a local non-profit after school program.

Leigh shared with us, “Costa Rica TEFL taught me every single thing I know about being a teacher. Costa Rica TEFL taught me all about lesson planning, classroom behavior and control, grammar activities/games, teaching approaches/learning methods, and even patience.”

Margaret also told us,”Costa Rica TEFL prepared me in so many ways to be a good teacher. I had no experience before I came, but I not only received the tools and resources I would need to become a successful teacher but I also gained confidence and motivation.”

Living in Costa Rica has taught these two girls to fully live in the moment while being confident and learning to trust the future. For now, Leigh and Margaret are both extremely happy and will continue to create memories they will never forget!

Former TEFL Student, Gemma Stewart, is now living and teaching abroad in Costa Rica

Gemma Stewart, a January 2016 TEFL grad, is now living and teaching in Heredia, Costa Rica. Heredia is a small city in the Central Valley with a mild climate surrounded by beautiful mountains. It is very busy during the day and also very close to the city of San Jose. There are lots of scenic hikes and waterfalls nearby which makes it very easy to plan great day trips.

Gemma teaches at Intercultura Heredia. She teaches teenagers and adults. Gemma told us, “I absolutely love all my students and every day I look forward to teaching. My classes make ESL fun and some of the best conversations I’ve ever had have taken place in the classroom with my tico students. We talk about everything from politics, to Costa Rican tourism, to Justin Bieber trying to sing popular Spanish songs! My students always make me laugh and they are the highlight of my day. I have gained so much insight from them and for that I am truly grateful.”

Gemma has managed to travel a lot on her time off. “It is unbelievable how many amazing places there are to see in this country and fortunately, I have truly taken advantage of all the natural beauty Costa Rica has to offer. From volcanoes and rainforests to the beach, Costa Rica has it all. Not only are the places great, but the people are too. I always feel welcomed and at home in every town that I travel to. In addition to trips, I also enjoy going out in San Jose to bars, food festivals, art fairs, and more!”  Gemma has also traveled to Nicaragua and Panama since graduating from Costa Rica TEFL. She plans on visiting Guatemala next month and feels that Central America is a wonderful place to travel and explore different cultures.

Thanks to Costa Rica TEFL, Gemma is extremely prepared to teach abroad. Although she was nervous her first official day of teaching,  she was confident she would succeed and that was greatly due to the methods and games/activities she learned at Costa Rica TEFL.

What’s Next? “I am going back to the USA in August to start my master’s degree in International Relations with a focus in Public Diplomacy. It is going to be very, very hard for me to leave Costa Rica, but it is safe to say that this past year and a half has been unforgettable and I am so happy I chose Costa Rica TEFL because it led me to the best experiences of my life.”



A TEFL Love Story: TEFL Grads, Zach & Lauren, met because of Costa Rica TEFL!

Zachary Tucker and Lauren Hancock’s paths crossed when they both decided to come to Playa Samara to complete our TEFL course.  Zach remained in Samara to work and volunteer following his September 2013 course, and met Lauren while she was attending the October course.   They quickly became friends and bonded over shared interests in travel and using teaching as an avenue to make a positive impact on future generations. Once they met up again in the US last year, their friendship turned into more….. Now they are both teaching English in South Korea at a school called Yeosu Technical High School and enjoying life abroad.

South Korea is host to thousands of Native English Teachers from English-speaking countries. The Department of Education places teachers in public schools, and provides housing, covers flight costs, in addition to plenty of time off and other perks.

Yeosu, South Korea, the town in which Zach and Lauren teach, is a tourist city on the southern tip of the Korean peninsula. Yeosu is famous for having hosted the 2012 ocean-themed World Expo. A peninsula itself, Yeosu inhabits 300,000 people in densely pocketed areas, however small mountain hikes and coastline are never far away. Summers are hot and rainy, winters are cool, and spring and autumn are absolutely gorgeous.

On their time off, Zach and Lauren spend time in Seoul, which is a 4.5 hour bus ride away. The beaches are 15-20 minutes away, and shopping is around every corner.  There are also mini-mountains that are very hiker friendly. Camping is popular and there are great spots all over the province.  The town also has plenty of bars and clubs for the nighttime too!

Zach says that the variety of engaging activities that he learned  at Costa Rica TEFL prepared him for his experience teaching in South Korea.  Zach is also very thankful, because he met Lauren through our program.  He told us, ” Many thanks to Costa Rica TEFL for bringing people of similar passions together in a beautiful part of the world!”  -Zach

Former TEFL student, Erin Hellmann, talks about her experience teaching right here in Samara!

“Samara is a small, quaint, and colorful town located in the Guanacaste providence of Costa Rica. The climate of Samara is usually very hot, but during rainy season it cools down. Samara is such a small town that it’s impossible to walk through town and not see at least a dozen familiar faces. The main street is lined with lots of restaurants and shops which leads to the most beautiful beach!”

Mareas International School
Erin teaches at Mareas International School.  Mareas is a small, private, international school located right in town. Her students are from all over the world. The school is bilingual, so students spend half of their day learning in English, and the other half in Spanish. Erin co-teaches in the 1-3rd grade classroom and teaches Kindergarten and High School art. Her students range in age from 4-15.  Erin spends most of her day with the 1-3rd graders, teaching Math, ESL, and Science.

What do you do on the weekends? “I spend most of my weekends at the beach with friends! I also love to travel to nearby beaches and towns! I spend my weekend nights dancing at local bars with friends!”

“Costa Rica TEFL has definitely prepared me for teaching abroad. I teach ESL every day and use a lot of the techniques, activities, and approaches I learned while in TEFL. I also stayed right in Samara after TEFL, so getting to know the town while taking the class has been amazing!  My passion is teaching art, and it is almost impossible to find a paid art teaching job abroad, so I feel extremely blessed I get to teach it every day here in Samara!”


Erin plans on staying in Samara at least until the end of the school year in August. She hasn’t decided what’s next since the TEFL opportunities around the world are endless!

Former TEFL student, Talibah Sun, has been selected for an English Language Fellow project in Columbia

“The humble beginnings of this journey started 7 years ago in Playa Samara. A certificate, TEFL Masters and experience later… here I am, for which I am truly grateful.”

Talibah Sun was recently chosen for a US State Department Language Learning Fellowship in Bogota, Colombia.  Since she graduated TEFL in 2010 she has been doing big things! Here is a timeline of where she has taught and all that she has achieved:

2010 – Taught at Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University
2010- 2012 – Taught for the New York Public Schools Summer School for Immigrant Parents, International Rescue Committee, English for refugees for Various English Language Learning Centers in New Jersey
2015- Taught for the Peace Corps TEFL program, Nicaragua (encouraged by Costa Rica TEFL graduate, Claire Bros)
2015 -Completed her MA Ed. TEFL Multicultural and Urban Education, New Jersey City University
2016– current Panama Teaches for CELI – a program of Universidad Latina and the US Embassy Language English Language Program, Instituto Superior Tecnologico, Badi High School, and Oxford International School Teacher Trainer and presenter: TOEFL Conference

In August 2017 she will begin her newest adventure with a US State Dept. English Language Learning Fellowship in Bogota, Columbia. What a huge honor!



Former Student Kristen Anderson Talks About Her Experience

Samara is the same town where I took the TEFL course. I fell in love with the town day one and haven’t left since. Samara is a small, beautiful beach town in Costa Rica. Its warm year round, and I have almost immediate access to the beach 24/7. I ride everywhere on my bike. The town has everything I need, but is also SO much different than home in the states. There are no movie theaters, no malls, etc. However, there Is so much to do – there is surfing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, bonfires, hiking, boating, and more along with an abundance of amazing wildlife. Its a very small, quaint town, you can’t walk down the street without walking into a few friends. When I first arrived, I was impressed by the friendly nature of the locals here. The people make this town what it is (not to mention the gorgeous surroundings), and I can’t have possibly picked a more incredible place to live.

I teach in a bilingual elementary school. I am currently team teaching in a 1st/2nd/3rd combination classroom, so they vary from 6-8 years old. I teach English, Social Studies, Math, and Science. The children are from all over the world: there are Costa Rican, American, Swedish, Swiss, and French students, to name a few. Its been an amazing experience, the kids are fantastic to work with. Classroom sizes are much smaller here, about 12-18 students in a class.

On weekends I typically spend most of my time on the beach, whether i’m in the water, on the sand, or at a beachfront restaurant or bar. There are also beautiful nearby beaches I like to visit with my friends. There are a few great day/weekend trips to make within the area, and it is very easy to rent a car or use the extensive Costa Rican bus system. I also love to go dancing in town on Friday and Saturday nights, I rarely miss an opportunity to dance! I have very quickly come to love Latin music.

I previously had my teaching credential from California, however TEFL taught me SO much, and was incredibly helpful in preparation to teach in another country. I learned so much about teaching and working with ESL and EFL students, which is extraordinarily helpful in my workplace. Almost all of my students speak multiple languages, and most of them speak English as their second language. I routinely utilize the core teaching strategies that I learned and practiced during my TEFL course to create an effective learning experience for my students.

I have only taught here in Samara, as I only graduated a month ago, and plan to stay here for a while at my current job! I have recently traveled to Uvita, Costa Rica which was absolutely breathtaking.

I plan to stay and work in Samara for at least a year! After that, I will either continue to work here in Samara, or find another job teaching either in Costa Rica or somewhere else in Central or South America. I plan to use my TEFL certification to teach abroad for the next few years of my life.

Five TEFL Students Receive Jobs at School in Liberia 

Here’s an update from one of our more recent graduates Jamie. She and 4 other TEFL graduates from her session all got jobs at a Instituto Estelar Bilingue in Liberia and they all live together too! Check out what she’s been up in the few short months since she’s been gone…

“It has only been 2 months since I have graduated, and although I did not get my college degree in education, Costa Rica TEFL gave me the tools I needed and the confidence to be able to work in a classroom setting. Costa Rica TEFL teaches students the communicative approach which I use every single day teaching at my job! I often use activities and methodologies that I learned from Costa Rica TEFL in my classrooms. After completing the program, I felt secure in my abilities to teach English as a foreign language.

I teach both group and one-on-one English classes at the school. I teach students of many ages! I teach three different adult classes, all Intermediate low level. I teach two kids’ classes ages 8-12, one kids’ class ages 6-7, and another kids’ class ages 3-5.

Liberia is a great place to live in the Guanacaste area. It has plenty of places that meet your needs: banks, post office, shops, grocery stores, restaurants, bars, etc. Since it is not on a beach, the area is far less touristy and enables you to truly become immersed in Tico culture. Moreover, it is only a cheap, 40 minute bus ride to the closest beach! This makes it very easy to check out the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica on the weekends. On average, the climate of Liberia is between the upper-70s to mid-80s (degree F).

I have a 1-year contract at Instituto Estelar Bilingue so I will be teaching here in Liberia, Costa Rica through October of 2017!

I haven’t had the opportunity to travel to many other places than beaches… so far I have explored different beaches in the Guanacaste region and visited the beach town San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua.

On the weekends, my co-workers and I usually take the public bus to a beach we haven’t been to before. We spend the day swimming, soaking in the sun and relaxing. Later in the day we typically head to a restaurant to get food and drinks. Lastly, we try to top off the day by watching a beautiful sunset over the ocean. It doesn’t get much better than that! Other than the beaches, I have also been to a nearby waterfall called Llanos del Cortes, the mud bath and hot springs at Guayacan.

Before heading back to the United States, I plan on visiting a friend who is volunteering with the Peace Corps in Peru. Back in the United States, I plan to use my college degree to become a school social worker. However, I would like to remain involved in teaching English as a second language as well!”