There are so many places around the world to get a TEFL certification course that it’s often hard to decide what’s right for you. Choosing a location often depends on where you want to teach English abroad, what your timeline is, and what your goals are aside from teaching English (ie save money, learn a language, travel cheaply, etc.). It’s a personal choice, of course, but it helps to have some solid information to help you choose. If you’re thinking of going South, a TEFL course in Nicaragua is at the top of my list. Following are just a few of the reasons why you might choose to TEFL Nicaragua.
1) You want to learn or perfect your Spanish
Often students make the choice of where to get TEFL certified based on which language they too would like to learn. Yes, after you’re certified, you’ll be teaching English, but you’ll also be living in a country whose first language is NOT English. You might find it helpful to know at least some of the local language to get along wherever you are. Spanish is the second most widely used language in the world, next to English, which makes it a beneficial second language for you to learn. Nicaragua is a great place to learn and practice Spanish.
The institute where you complete your TEFL certification course may also offer Spanish language courses, or at least have nearby recommendations for classes, making it very easy to get started. Sometimes, once you’ve started teaching, the school will offer exchanges where you can become both student and teacher.
2) You want a tropical location
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be somewhere warm than somewhere cold. I’d choose beaches over mountains, surfing over skiing, Nica Libres over Hot Toddies and shorts over parkas any day. In Nicaragua, you’re never too far from a beach or a lake to cool off in. With only two seasons in this tropical country — wet and dry — it’s very easy to pack only shorts, tanks, bikinis and sarongs, on top of your teaching attire, of course.
3) You want to travel
I’m betting that if you’re adventurous enough to want to teach English abroad, then you’re also game to travel around a bit while you’re there. There are plenty of places to visit within Nicaragua. Most places can be reached on a day or weekend trip, so you won’t have to worry about time off from teaching to see all the wonderful sites in your new home. You could visit the beautiful colonial city of Granada or take a boat tour of Las Islets, of which there is supposedly one island for each day of the year.
As well, Nicaragua is so centrally located in Central America that it makes it incredibly easy to travel to the surrounding countries of Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador and Honduras. As a predominantly Catholic country, you can count on plenty of Saint’s days to give you long weekends to travel outside of Nicaragua, which is also cheap and easy.
4) You want a cheap country
What will help you do all that traveling? Nicaragua is extremely cheap to live and travel. A hostel costs an average of $5-10 USD. To rent an apartment, you’ll pay under $300, even less with a few roommates. A meal out will run you about $3 USD and a beer about $1 USD. A three-hour bus ride will run you about $3 USD. While you may not be making as much teaching in Nicaragua as you would in say, Asia, you will your salary will be competitive and you’ll likely have plenty of money to take those weekend trips.
5) You want a homestay option
While you’re taking your TEFL certification course in Nicaragua, you’ll often have the opportunity to stay with a host family. I strongly recommend you take advantage of this chance. Homestays are a wonderful way to learn about the culture and customs of the country. You’ll have the opportunity to live with a Nicaraguan family and see what their everyday life looks like. You’ll eat meals consisting of their local fare and go on weekend outings with them to the markets or parks around the town you’re studying in.
You won’t stay with them forever. Generally shortly after the course, you’ll move out to your own place, probably with roommates you met in your course. But you’ll always have your host family. They are the first people you meet, the first friends you make, and they can become a vital part of your success living abroad.
You’ve made the first step, deciding you want to get TEFL certified and teach English abroad. The hardest part is often choosing where you want to go. To help you choose wisely, do lots of research and talk to people who’ve been where you want to go. Then just go!