Leon, Nicaragua Teaching English Q&A With Sarah Treadaway
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
What is your citizenship?
What city and state are you from?
How old are you?
20 years old
What is your education level and background?
Have you traveled abroad in the past?
Aruba, El Salvador, Nicaragua
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I fell in love with Central America after my third trip to El Salvador. After researching the best way to travel and afford it, every road led back to obtaining my TEFL certification, and teaching English abroad.
What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?
Where do I even begin? I am a 20-year-old (19 at the time) solo female traveler, so my first concern was safety. My second biggest concern was the fact that I didn’t speak the native language of the country I wanted to go to, and I didn’t have my degree. I thought this would make it much harder for me to find a job.
What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
My friends were all very supportive and admired me for doing something so different and exciting. My family was really concerned about my safety but supported me 100% because they knew how passionate I was about doing it!
TEFL CLASS INFORMATION
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy Nicaragua?
When I started my online course, I hadn’t decided which country I wanted to move to yet. I picked Nicaragua because I saw that they offered a hybrid course. I thought it would give me great experience before I’m just thrown into a classroom with no prior teaching experience.
How did you like the course?
The course was amazing. I recommend it to anyone who took the online course and is considering teaching abroad in Nicaragua. The hybrid course prepared me for teaching in Nicaragua, and was real world experience. It really boosted my confidence taking the Hybrid course, and receiving the personal feedback and attention after all of my practice teaching sessions. The staff at ITA Nicaragua is extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Some of the people who work there have also taken the TEFL course, so they can relate to my experience. Also, some of the ITAN staff work within the English teaching community in Nicaragua, so it was also a great networking opportunity.
How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
I firmly believe I would not have gotten this job without the experience I learned in Leon, Nicaragua. Between my online class, the EFL teaching experience I gained during the Hybrid class, and the three weeks of volunteering with ITA Nicaragua’s volunteer program at a local orphanage, I would not have the confidence, or experience my employer wanted. During my time in Nicaragua I was able to teach many different ages, and language levels, that has really helped me to go into any EFL classroom and teach.
TEACHING ABROAD IN NICARAGUA
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I currently live and teach in Tola, Nicaragua. It was the first city I ever visited in Nicaragua, and it is right on the coast.
How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
I have been here about three months and have no plans to leave.
What school, company, or program are you working for?
I work for a foundation called Fun Limon. It is a non-profit organization founded by Mark & Kathy Ford. Its goal is to give back to the community through a variety of classes and recreational activities.
How did you get your work visa? If you didn’t get a work visa, please elaborate on working under the table without a work visa.
I am working on a tourist visa. Nicaragua is pretty laid back about visas.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ENGLISH TEACHING JOB!
I work 4-6 hours a day Monday-Thursday. I teach kids and adults and they all have different English language levels. I have curriculum to follow as best I can, and my boss encourages variety and activity based learning. She has no problem with me tweaking lessons how I see fit.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
I live across the street from Fun Limon, in employee housing, at a resort called Rancho Santana. Rancho Santana and Fun Limon work together a lot so they allow Fun Limon employees to live on their property if they want. I am currently in a private room but might get roommates if Rancho Santana brings in new interns or employees.
COUNTRY INFORMATION – FUN!
Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, and travel opportunities in your country:
I picked Nicaragua because it’s the safest country in Central America and because I was in love with the culture. I just bought a motorcycle because Tola is undeveloped. The roads aren’t paved and nothing is within walking distance. If you live in a city like Leon, you can walk everywhere or take a taxi. My favorite thing about Leon was nightlife. If you like to dance, you will love Leon. Here in Tola, nightlife is a lot more relaxed. Everyone just has dinner at one of the restaurants on the beach.
What are your monthly expenses?
Rent (I have air-conditioning, wifi, and a private room/bathroom) $225, Fun Limon feeds me for less than $2/meal, meals when I go out $5-$10, gas for a motorcycle, and any yoga/workout classes.
I am very fortunate to be living in employee housing at Rancho Santana. It’s pretty impossible to have air-conditioning for that cheap in Nicaragua. Fun Limon has a fully equipped gym that I get to use, which is great. With that being said, I can’t imagine my standard of living being any better.
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?
$500-$600, but I’ve been told I’m high maintenance.
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS IN NICARAGUA
What advice would you give someone planning on considering teaching abroad?
Be persistent. I got this job after emailing the same place three times. You really have to get out there, talk to people, contact people, and meet people. A job isn’t going to fall into your lap.
Would you recommend teaching in your country?
Absolutely! I love Nicaragua so much! Every city I’ve been to has been unique and amazing in its own way. It’s safe, it’s cheap, and it’s growing more each day.