Celina's Gap Year Abroad

Celina’s Gap Year Abroad

Meet Celina! She’s from Austin, Texas, USA and currently applying for medical school. She decided that this process would be a good time for her to take a gap year abroad! This is where Costa Rica TEFL came in. Although she has zero prior teaching experience, she thought teaching would be a good skill to have. Celina says, “Learning how to teach can apply to many different careers, and whether you want to do this for a year or for the rest of your life, it’s a worthwhile experience.” 

Why get TEFL certified?

Celina wanted the experiences of living in a foreign country and traveling. After some research, she soon found that getting TEFL certified was the way to do both. Celina researched TEFL courses, found Costa Rica TEFL and other programs, and ultimately chose CRTEFL because of many great reviews and its beach location. To Celina, Costa Rica TEFL was ideal so she could learn and practice Spanish and learn about a new culture through immersion. She graduated from Costa Rica TEFL in September 2023 and has been living and teaching English in Costa Rica since!

What was her experience like at Costa Rica TEFL? 

Celina was in a group of 11 trainees, therefore she was able to make a lot of incredible friendships with her peers. They had a ton of fun inside and outside of the classroom. Celina says her best experience throughout the program was making those friends, spending time with them over the weekend, exploring the area with them, and she could never forget: salsa dancing with them!

The training was important to her as well. She emphasizes that she uses many of the skills that she learned from Costa Rica TEFL in her classroom now. These skills include activities and games, error correction techniques, teaching pronunciation, grammar and more. 


Celina and some of her peers out dancing in Samara!

Celina’s typical teaching day: 

9:30 AM: Wake up and get ready for the day
10:30 AM: Go to a cafe with other teachers to lesson plan and hang out
1:30 PM: Go home to relax or work out
4:00 PM: Head to the school for work
4:30 – 9:00 PM: Teach 🙂
9:30 PM: Arrive home, cook dinner and hang out with the other teachers that she lives with (karaoke is often in the plans!)

Her teaching contract began in October 2023, about two weeks after she graduated from Costa Rica TEFL, and will end in the middle of July 2024. This was perfect for Celina for her gap year abroad, because it allowed her to complete the course at CRTEFL, teach for about 9 months and have some time to travel around Costa Rica.

What about free time?

Celina likes to spend her free time and weekends learning Spanish and visiting nearby beaches like Playa Tamarindo and Playa Cabuyal. She also had the opportunity to explore Costa Rica for about a week and a half with two of her fellow CRTEFL graduates! They went to the beautiful La Fortuna waterfall, adventured through rainforests, swam in water holes and surfed. 

What’s Celina’s favorite part about being a teacher?

She answers, “My students! I teach all ages (kids, teens and adults) and they are all fun and entertaining and they teach me a lot about Costa Rica as well”. We agree, Celina! We wouldn’t be able to be teachers without our students.

What advice does Celina have for those thinking about getting TEFL certified?

She says, “Have fun with it! It’s not just a learning experience but also a life experience. You can work hard during the course but also remember to have fun. The course prepares you well and I spent as much time having fun and hanging out with people in the course as I did learning”. Great advice!

What about advice for new teachers in Costa Rica?

According to Celina this answer is simple: be confident! She noted that the Costa Rica TEFL program teaches you everything you need to be a successful English teacher, so you should be confident with your skills. 

Does Costa Rica sound like an ideal place to teach? Would you benefit from a gap year abroad? Would you like to learn AND have fun? If so, you can relate to Celina! Maybe it is time to take her advice, have fun with it and be confident! 

Send an email at info@costaricatefl.com for more information or for an application form!

By: Alexis Lattin
Administrative Coordinator CRTEFL

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