The land of lakes and volcanoes eagerly awaits English speakers who are looking to get their TEFL certification in this increasingly popular Central American destination. With towering volcanic peaks, lively colonial towns, and miles of untouched white-sand beaches, not to mention a welcoming population, Nicaragua is a great destination for anyone looking to spend time in a vibrant, colorful, and stimulating country while earning their TEFL.
As a result of the steady growth of international tourism throughout the country, more and more Nicaraguans are eager to learn English from native speakers like you so that they can secure jobs in the lucrative tourism sector. Once you are done earning your credentials, you should have no problem finding enthusiastic students to teach English to here.
TEFL courses in Nicaragua are usually located in colonial cities like Leon or Granada. Over four weeks you will learn the ins and outs of teaching English as a foreign language. TEFL courses will include a rotating practicum so you can try out your skills with real students but with he guidance and support of your instructors.
A hybrid TEFL/TESL course will thoroughly prepare you to teach English to students of any age. These comprehensive courses can be taken online or in person while you’re in Nicaragua and will include a heavy dose of in person practicum work as well.
The work study component is truly a win-win situation, as you’ll be improving your teaching skills while providing a valuable English language education for people who wouldn’t have access to it otherwise.
When to Take Your TEFL in Nicaragua
With most courses lasting for a month, you can find a TEFL program in Nicaragua any time of year. It’s usually best to sign up at least 90 days in advance to secure your spot and make the necessary travel arrangements. Keep in mind that the Nicaraguan school year begins in February, so you’ll want to complete your coursework before then if you plan on finding a classroom position.
As far as weather is concerned, Nicaragua can get brutally hot April through June, and air conditioning is a rare find. The summer and autumn months can be pretty rainy as well. If you’re worried you might be sweating your way through classes, consider coming in the more comfortable winter months.
Popular Destinations for TEFL Courses in Nicaragua
On the shore of Central America’s largest lake, you’ll find the charming colonial city of Granada. Here, horses are still used to make deliveries and centuries-old churches are the tallest buildings around. When you’re not in class you can be kayaking around the 365 tiny islands just offshore, hiking through the clouds on Mombacho Volcano, or cheering on Los Tiburones at the baseball stadium.
Leon is another popular spot for TEFL courses. The country’s second largest city has a more urban vibe than Granada, but it’s still a very manageable city. With a large population of college students and active nightlife scene there is no shortage of excitement in Leon. Plus, it’s just a short bus ride to the beach. No wonder this is the most popular location for TEFL programs in Nicaragua.
What to Look for in a TEFL Course in Nicaragua
Does the program include practicum work, cultural immersion activities, or field trips? These vary from program to program, so check before you sign up. You’ll want to keep in mind whether or not you plan to stay in Nicaragua to teach after your course. If so, go with a program that will match you with a teaching opportunity after you complete the coursework.
There is a wide range of how programs are structured and what they offer. An intensive 4-week course will be a very different experience than a longer, more comprehensive, three month course. Also ask about student to teacher ratio and class size as not all programs are the same. Some programs offer most of their coursework online while others have only in-person classes. Choose what works best for your needs, budget, and schedule.
Health & Safety
While Nicaragua has generally been regarded as one of the safest countries in the region, it is not without its troubles and there are things you need to be aware of. Beginning in April of 2018, large anti-government protests have occurred throughout the country. You should avoid these as they have they have the potential to turn violent.
Be very careful when outside after dark as foreigners are occasionally the targets of muggings and robberies. It’s best to keep a low profile and not carry valuables with you when out and about.
Nicaragua has basic but affordable health-care. Well stocked pharmacies are found in every city. Be wary of street food as this is a common source of food-borne illnesses. Stick to drinking bottled water and use bug repellent when mosquitoes are active. Be sure to check your shoes and bags for scorpions before use or you may encounter an unpleasant surprise.
When to Apply for Jobs in Nicaragua
Most schools in Nicaragua prefer to interview and hire teachers in person. Therefore, it’s best to already be in the country when looking for work. Nearly any time of year is a good time to apply for work, with the exception of the month-long Christmas/New Year holiday. With the school year starting in February, mid-January is a hot time to look for work.
Average Salary of Post-TEFL Jobs in Nicaragua
You can expect to earn between $300 and $600 a month teaching English in Nicaragua. While this isn’t much, you should also consider the country’s low cost of living. Furnished apartments can be had for less than $250 a month and food and services are extremely affordable. As an English teacher you will be able to afford a comfortable standard of living here.
Tips for Finding a Job in Nicaragua
Simply being a native English speaker with a TEFL and desire to teach in Nicaragua is really all you need to find employment. However, networking will help. A lot happens through word-of-mouth here, so ask your contacts at your program who they know. Some programs even serve as a direct line to work opportunities at various schools.
Nicaraguans place a lot of emphasis on appearances. Dressing professionally at your interview will show the school that you take your job seriously and will set you apart from the competition. Also come prepared with references, certificates, and sample lessons should they ask to see them.