Here in quarantine, running my business and teaching a full load of English classes online in sunny Liberia, Costa Rica, I have been reflecting on how grateful I am for all the support people have shown my school, Instituto Estelar Bilingüe, during the pandemic.
My dear baby sister started a GoFundMe campaign at the beginning of April when it looked like only 30 English students and a few Spanish students were continuing with us. Almost a month later, I am thrilled to say that the funds she raised, plus many new Spanish students and 230 continuing English students in online classes in April, have kept Estelar alive.
I want to give a special thanks to all the people who signed up for online Spanish classes with the special offer of $20 per hour (which is still going, by the way!). Thanks to you, our Spanish teachers were really busy this month.
Another really cool thing happened: a very special couple approached me about anonymously sponsoring 10 Estelar English students in April. I realized that more people might want to do that, so I put it out there, and we got a few more students sponsored. Incredibly, we now have 20 English students sponsored in May!
Through the rollarcoaster of these months, I’ve been grateful for my Estelar team. As our offices and classrooms shifted to homes, and uncertainty about the future hung heavy in the air, everyone maintained upbeat attitudes. One of our receptionists is pregnant, another had to postpone her April wedding, our English teachers from the US, England, and Australia had to exchange plans of exploring Costa Rica for staying indoors, and all the teachers had to learn how to teach online overnight. These personal and professional challenges were profound, but no one has complained.
I know I’m not the only one who has seen some beautiful things come out of this ugly situation. Feel free to write back and tell me your positive experiences! We need to help each other keep a positive focus.
Thanks for reading,
By the way, we are not sure when our Spanish immersion program will start back up, but contact us if you are hoping to join us later this year! In the meantime, take advantage of our discounted online, live, personalized Spanish classes – just $20 an hour – and take a moment to watch former immersion students talk about their experiences with us.