Teach Abroad Like Tonya

Teach English Abroad Like Tonya!

Tonya’s New Home

Everyone meet Tonya! Tonya lived in Georgia, United States before she decided to make the big move to Costa Rica and teach English. Now, she is  living in the beautiful green jungle of Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa is a small beach town in the Puntarenas Province. It is outlined by beautiful beaches and lush green jungle.

Tonya took the course in May of this year and she is currently working at Hermosa Valley School located in Playa Hermosa. At this school, she is teaching Pre-kinder and kindergarten students English, basic math, science, and early literacy skills. 

Her favorite teaching moments are when she uses strategies or implements games that she learned during her TEFL course.  It warms her heart when she notices her students speaking English more confidently and enjoying the learning process.

 Tonya’s Experience

On the weekends, Tonya sleeps in, recharges and rejuvenates. Then, she likes to go into town or neighboring towns, to sightsee and explore. Trying new restaurants and relaxing at the beach are activities Tonya enjoys on the regular. During this time she also respond to emails, her Facebook groups, and catches up with her family and friends. On Sundays, she attends her older sister’s church service or her Pastor’s church services via Facebook. She also enjoys surfing the web for creative ways to teach in her new environment.

Throughout her journey, Tonya has met many great people. She has met them through work, while riding the bus or taking a taxi. Also through the Facebook groups she has joined, and at the hotels and hostels around Costa Rica. These new friends have helped her adjust to her new location and they have also showed her around. They have been a great help in her distinct journey!

Going through Costa Rica TEFL prepared her for teaching aboard by showing her how to be an effective facilitator of the English language. Tonya has many years of teaching experience, but at Costa Rica TEFL, she learned how to teach from a different perspective where she talks less, slows down, and uses gestures. She gained experience teaching adults which she discovered is a very different experience from teaching children. Tonya learned an abundance of strategies and teaching tools, including fun learning games, that she has now implemented into her classroom.  Through the TEFL program, she re-discovered language development and learning theories to keep in mind that have helped her plan lessons and individualize instruction.  


Her next step is to become fluent in Spanish and she has also been thinking about her next travel destination. Eventually, she would like to teach in a different country too!

Tonya’s Advice

The biggest life lesson Tonya have learned from traveling and living abroad is that it can be a truly spiritual and intra-personal experience. You are leaving behind daily stressors and conveniences that you are used to and learning how to live and adapt in a new place. She also had to face and conquer many personal fears.


Her advice for any traveler is to really research the place you are going to and to have money saved. Self reflect on why you would like to travel to this specific place and what you want to take away from your trip. Wherever you go, know the basics to the native language and mentally prepare to travel alone. It is a beautiful thing, but can be lonely if you do not prepare.

Tonya’s advice for people looking to teach aboard is to invest your time learning how to teach English through an in person TEFL program, like Costa Rica TEFL. She also believes that it is important to learn to embrace and immerse yourself into the culture of the students you are teaching so that you will have cultural awareness and sensitivity. She wants people to realize that although the income may not be high, the experience of teaching aboard is priceless!


Share this: