Alumni Spotlight: Martin Botsford

Martin Botsford is 23 and from San Jose, California. He attended California State University, Chico from 2007-2012 and double-majored in Spanish and Sociology. He enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and listening to music.

Martin in the classroom

What inspired you to teach ESL?

Martin: In May, I graduated from college in California. I completed a bachelor's degree in Spanish and Sociology and didn't have a solid plan for what to do with my life. I wanted to start living independently, to travel, and to do something different than studying more. This didn't leave me with many options other than to teach English abroad, so that's what I decided to do.

Why did you choose Maximo Nivel?

Martin: I chose to complete my TEFL certification with Maximo Nivel because I wanted to travel somewhere different as soon as possible. Their program was cheaper than some of the others I found in the US, and they had attractive aspects to their certification program like time spent observing teachers, and of course their practical teaching week in which you teach five classes that are an hour long to real ESL students. I decided to work for Maximo Nivel because their staff is very friendly and helpful, and the classes are held on site rather than requiring teachers to travel to different sites for every class.

Describe your day to day activities as a student in Maximo Nivel's TEFL certification program and as a Teacher in Costa Rica.

Martin: During the TEFL certification I worked just as hard or harder than I had during college. It wasn't too difficult but required a good amount of hard work and dedication. I had homework almost every single night, but it was never more than I could handle. As a teacher, I now find myself with a lot of free time during the middle of the day. I teach Monday through Friday and teach every morning and night. I generally have around 6 hours of free time during the middle of the day because of this. At first I didn't enjoy such a schedule, but I am fine with it after getting used to it. I have Saturdays and Sundays free to do what I want, so I think the schedule works out pretty well.

Martin with his students

How has this experience impacted your future?

Martin: My TEFL certification and experience teaching at Maximo Nivel has given me the inspiration and tools required to continue being an ESL teacher in different parts of the world. I am now seriously considering moving to Asia when I am done teaching with Maximo Nivel so that I can actually earn/save some money. ESL teaching jobs in Latin America can be amazing, but these jobs generally don't result in a lot of money being saved.

What is one piece of advice you would give to others thinking about teaching abroad?

Martin: If someone is considering teaching abroad I would tell them that they need to understand that the country they are moving to will be very different than what they are used to. I know this seems obvious, but it is a serious concern since working a new job can be stressful. If you add to that the stress of being in a country with a different culture or language that you don't understand, you can be left with one intimidated and burnt out teacher.