What it Was Like Teaching English in Costa Rica – Adam’s Story

on June 1, 2022

Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Adam wanted to trade the suburbs for the tropics and has lived and worked as an ESL teacher in Costa Rica since 2020. Believe it or not, he was a part of the very first TravelBud cohort in Costa Rica!

He has subsequently joined the TravelBud team as an Enrolment Coordinator, helping aspiring teachers begin their own teach abroad adventure.

Living and working abroad has completely changed my life.

I can easily say this was the best decision I ever made and if I can help others do the same, I will feel so rewarded

Adam Stutts – TravelBud Enrollment Coordinator

Adam is currently living in the mountains above San Jose in Costa Rica and loves having quick access to the big city while also enjoying the beautiful nature of his mountain home. We asked Adam some questions about his experience Teaching English in Costa Rica.

What made you pick Costa Rica?

I picked Costa Rica because I wanted to learn Spanish, immerse myself in the “Pura Vida” lifestyle, and experience all of its beautiful environments. From its incredible beaches, mountains, jungles, and communities, I have fallen in love with Costa Rica. 

Swimming in La Fortuna waterfall... So cold!
Swimming in La Fortuna waterfall… So cold!

What made you decide to leave life back home for this adventure?

I was working in Transportation Planning in Atlanta, Georgia, working the typical 9-5 in a big grey office building. I decided to leave home to teach abroad because I knew I wanted to travel, learn, and directly help others in a way I just wasn’t able to do back home.

What were you most nervous about before going over?

I was most nervous about my safety before coming to Costa Rica. Traveling to another country alone can be a little daunting. Once I arrived, I realized how safe and comfortable life is here. After living here for a year and a half I can confidently say I have never felt safer. 

What do you feel you learned/how do you feel you changed or grew since starting and finishing your teach abroad program?

I have learned so much about a new language, culture, and career field. I have learned the “Pura Vida” way of life. The biggest change I have experienced is learning how to take life more slowly and enjoy the present. 

What was it like arriving in the country? (Was there someone to meet you? What happened on your first couple of days?)

Arriving in Costa Rica was a breeze! From the moment I stepped out of the airport, I was greeted by in-country support to take me to my accommodation. From there on, I quickly made incredible friendships, participated in orientation week activities such as visiting a waterfall, taking a cooking class, visiting an animal sanctuary, etc. TBH, my biggest worry of the day was if I wanted to eat pineapple or mango with my lunch! 

Friends and I on a boat ride around Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (So easy to travel on school breaks!)
Friends and I on a boat ride around Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (So easy to travel on school breaks!)

Where did you teach exactly?

My school had the option of teaching remotely or in person. I wanted the flexibility to travel around the country with my work, so I opted for the remote option! This allowed me to spend time teaching and living in the city of Heredia, the coastal town of Playas del Coco, and now the peaceful mountain town of San Isidro! 

What type of school did you teach at?

I taught at a private language academy that had a team of English teachers, Portuguese teachers, and Spanish teachers. Needless to say, it was amazing working with so many people from around the world!

What was your accommodation like there?

My accommodations in Costa Rica have all included comfortable apartments and houses that have provided any amenity that I enjoy from back home. Homestays are also common options for teachers in Costa Rica. Whether you’re looking for your own private apartment or a homestay experience, you will be easily assisted in finding a comfortable space. 

What happened on a typical day?

On a typical day I worked for about 4 hours (I miss my students!) and when I wasn’t working I was walking to farmers markets, hiking, enjoying the beach, learning Spanish with new friends, and exploring cute neighborhoods and towns. 

Riding mopeds around La Fortuna
Riding mopeds around La Fortuna

Have you had the chance to travel during/after your teaching contract?

I have had a ton of opportunities to travel during/after my teaching contract! I have traveled to all corners of the country and I also had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala with friends from my school during our Fall vacation! 

What are your favorite parts about living in Costa Rica?

My favorite part about Costa Rica is that I find beauty and peace everyday. Whether it be the amazing people, incredible nature, fresh food, or our insane sunsets, I feel as though I am surrounded by beauty everyday. 

How easy is it to learn Spanish and could you speak any before you arrived?

I did not know any Spanish when I came to Costa Rica! I think my abilities started and stopped with “hello” and “goodbye”. Since arriving it has been very easy to learn Spanish! Costa Ricans are incredibly understanding of foreigners and are always eager and happy to help people learn Spanish! I have been taking Spanish classes every week which has also helped me grow. In a year and a half I have gone from 0 to intermediate with the help of immersion and a little bit of studying. Also, English is widely known here in Costa Rica so there is always someone who can help you in English if you need. 

What made you decide to work for TravelBud?

The biggest reason I decided to work for TravelBud was because I trusted TravelBud. From start to finish, TravelBud was there for me no matter what. Moving abroad, at least for me personally, was quite intimidating. TravelBud turned my intimidation to relaxation. I feel so lucky to have found such a reputable and trustworthy company. I don’t think I would have had nearly the same experience if it weren’t for TravelBud. 

What are you most excited for in your new role as an Enrolments Coordinator?

The thing I am most excited for in my new role as an Enrolments Coordinator is to help new teachers start their own journeys! Living and working abroad has completely changed my life. I can easily say this was the best decision I ever made and if I can help others do the same, I will feel so rewarded. Traveling, teaching, making new friendships, I mean seriously, what’s better than that? 🙂

We couldn’t agree more Adam, welcome aboard!

You might also want to read:

About Grace Martens

Grace is an enrollments coordinator at TravelBud signing people up to our many programs and helping them get all the answers to the questions they may have about taking the plunge and going overseas for amazing teach English abroad adventures.
Filed under  Costa Rica • Inside TravelBud 

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