How Teaching Abroad Led to a Meeting with the President of Costa Rica
I came to Costa Rica for the Teach English Abroad Program thinking that I would get some experience that I could put on my resumé to help me get a job teaching English later. What I got, was a life-changing experience that taught me about patience, happiness, and growth.
My fellow teachers and I are the first teachers in this program that involves collaboration with the government of Costa Rica. This program was instituted to teach English to young adults living in poverty so that they could in-turn get jobs in tourism or with major corporations that choose to invest in Costa Rica. After our first few days of orientation, our program coordinator told us that we would be staying in San José for another day because the President of Costa Rica wanted to meet us. I hadn’t even started teaching yet and I was about to meet President Carlos Alvarado Quesada.
The day finally came for us to meet with the president. We talked with him for about a half hour and we were in a video on his Facebook page where he talked about the significance of this program and what it means for the future of Costa Rica. He talked about how helpful it is to have native speakers teaching English, and the advantage it gives the students in the classroom. We, the teachers, talked about our backgrounds and past experiences that led us to this program.
Even with the presidential meetings, I didn’t truly realize the significance of this program until I met my students in Puntarenas. All of them are so driven to learn English because they want to travel, find new job opportunities, and provide for their families. Working with impoverished students isn’t easy. There are days when students can’t afford to come to class or need to leave to take care of their family. However, all of them put forth their best effort. They are all so motivated to succeed in this class because they know that their success will help provide them with a better future.
The Minister of Labor of Costa Rica, Steven Nuñez Rimola came to visit our class in October, and I watched my students excel in a way that I had never noticed before. They knew how important the visit was for them, and for the program. They came up with impressive questions to ask about the minister’s plans for Puntarenas and the program, and they participated in activities with the minister. The growth I saw in my students just from their first day of school to the visit from the minister helped me see that my students are dedicated to this program and want to succeed.
This program is so important to the students we teach. These students are receiving an opportunity to learn English that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Every day, I watch students become more confident and inquisitive. I watch students surprise me with their knowledge and abilities. Every day has its challenges, but watching my students succeed and flourish makes me so grateful that I decided to come to Costa Rica.
El viernes anterior recibimos a los primeros 34 educadores que vendrán a Costa Rica como resultado de la Alianza para el Bilingüismo (ABi). Esta misma semana comenzarán a impartir cursos de inglés para 90 estudiantes del cantón central de Puntarenas en situación de pobreza y pobreza extrema. En el mes de octubre y noviembre, darán inicio las lecciones en Ciudad Quesada y Pérez Zeledón. Posteriormente se sumarán distintos cantones de las siete provincias del país. Nuestro objetivo es que Costa Rica sea un país bilingüe, como una forma de dar oportunidad y herramientas a muchísimos costarricenses de todo el país.
Posted by Carlos Alvarado Quesada on Monday, October 8, 2018