Making a Life Living Abroad - Costa Rica TEFL - Earn your TEFL certification

Making a Life Living Abroad

Meet Dave

Dave Melnick graduated from TEFL in January 2012. He is currently teaching English online with LearnLight, Global English. Dave explains, “I teach conversational and business English to business professionals all around the world on Skype. I’ve been teaching English online since late 2012. My students range from mid 20s to mid 50s. I teach basic, intermediate, and advanced English. The majority of my students are high intermediate to advanced.”

He is currently living and working in Paraiso, Cartago, Costa Rica. Of his current location he explains, “My town is very relaxed during the day and night time. The geography where I live is very mountainous and green. There’s a volcano in the background that smokes, which is something most people can’t say they have close to their house.” Dave had the advantage of choosing to live wherever he wants. In his own words, “One of the perks about teaching English online is that you have the opportunity to travel ANYWHERE in the world and work. Just food for thought for some of you travel junkies!” Dave has traveled to El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, England, Israel and Jordan.

Of his personal philosophy, Dave explains, “I try my best to strike up a conversation with people on the street or in a store. It’s always fun meeting new people and getting to know them more. There are many people that are lonely in this world, so just saying hi or smiling can mean a lot and put a smile on their face.”

Teaching Moments

 Why teach English? Not only is teaching English a fulfilling career personally, you are also improving the lives of other people by teaching them a needed skill. Dave explains, “My favorite part is when students tell me that they got a promotion or a raise, because their English level has improved during the year. It’s a great feeling knowing that you’re making a positive impact in someone else’s life. Many people in English speaking countries don’t understand the importance of English outside of their country. Foreign companies crave people who are fluent in English to negotiate and do business, so being able to teach is very fulfilling.” Additionally, Dave has been able to support himself through teaching English online. If this type of life is something you are looking for, know that is it possible! 

A Growing Experience

            With several years of experience teaching, Dave has definitely learned a few things, about more than just the classroom. “My biggest life-lesson would be to always be prepared for change,” he says. “Things won’t go as planned and you have to be ready for the unexpected. Lots of people are nervous about traveling to countries that don’t speak their own native language, but some of the best memories will be made by stepping outside of your comfort zone.”

             In sum, living in a different country is bound to be a learning and growing experience. Additionally, he goes on to say, “I think looking into the culture and seeing the differences is important. A faux pas can be funny to remember and make for a good story, but learning what are the do’s and don’ts of a culture is something that is very important.” Dave also speaks to how his time at Costa Rica TEFL helped him with his teaching. He says, “The TEFL course prepared me by knowing how to better communicate myself to others that learn differently than I do.” What is more, he learned about “creative activities that are interactive and fun for all ages.”


Through his years of teaching and living abroad, Dave imparts some wisdom. He says, “My recommendation for new teachers would be to not be afraid of not knowing the answer. That was my biggest fear. If you don’t know the answer to their question, then get back to them later when you know it. If you’re going to live and teach in Costa Rica, then be patient, nice and don’t be embarrassed to practice your Spanish. Try your best to have everything prepared before hand. Ticos are patient, relaxed and down to earth people, so take the time to get to know your students and have fun!”

“My additional advice to anyone reading this would be don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t let fear hold you back from achieving things that you’d like to accomplish. Some of the best experiences that I’ve had in my life have come from taking that giant leap. It wouldn’t have happened if I had let fear and thought of uncertainty control my decision. Learn from your mistakes, be humble and continue trying to do your best. There are so many opportunities to teach English online that anyone of you reading this can travel the world and make a living by teaching English. Take that leap and maybe I’ll see some of you in Costa Rica. Pura vida!”


Check out Dave’s YouTube channel here for some great aerial shots of Sámara!

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