Alumni Spotlight: Ron van der Vis

Taught English as a volunteer in the Republic of Georgia for 2.5 years but needed the proper training to become a great TEFL teacher. Decided to study intensively in Costa Rica with Maximo Nivel and felt that it was a great experience.

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Why did you choose this program?

I chose Maximo Nivel because I had read great things about it. The training was fantastic, with Audra Wooldridge as an amazing trainer. The training she provided was intense, but fun and very interesting! Life in Costa Rica, especially in Manuel Antonio, was amazing! The food is great, the beaches are great and the people at Maximo Nivel are incredibly helpful!

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Maximo Nivel organized everything for me. The only thing that I had to arrange for myself was finding the bus which would take me to the school and home. They set up the home stay and then arranged for me to stay in an apartment and both were great! I made lifelong friendships both from the home stay and my 4 weeks at Maximo Nivel!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

The best piece of advice which I can give anyone who takes the course is to focus on the training and don't spend too much time on the beach! It's easy to spend a lot of free time on the beach, but that's a good way to find yourself behind in the class. It's difficult to keep up with all the work if you slack off!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The first 2 weeks of the training are not as intense as the last 2. That's when people can go to the beach, go parasailing or go on waterfall tours. The last 2 weeks, however, are really intense and that's when full focus is needed on the paper writing and lesson planning. I would recommend this training for anyone who is serious about teaching English.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going in was the practical teaching, which happened in the last week. I was worried that I would fall flat on my face. Because of the training which I received from Audra, that actually went really well! Of course, there were a few bumps in the road, but everyone had them. After the practical teaching week, I know I can teach anywhere I feel.

What was the most fun thing I did in Manuel Antonio?

I would say, other than the training and the bonding with the other 9 teachers in the class, that my favorite experience was going parasailing! I can't swim well and I'm afraid of heights, but was invited to go parasailing on a whim and I went! It was incredible!