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Connecting with Students Online from the Island

By VIPKid  |  October 26, 2018

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Meet Teacher Tina, who lives in the Dominican Republic.

Tell us a little about your neighborhood in the DR.

I relocated from the States (Atlanta, GA) to the Dominican Republic (DR) in 2014. I now live in a typical but modern home nestled in the mountains of the DR. Just a short walk through a wooded path is a bubbling river known as el Rio Jimenoa. The town, Jarabacoa, is known as the town of Eternal Spring (el pueblo de la primavera eterna) due to its year round spring like temperatures. People from around the DR flock to this quaint piece of paradise to get a break from the inner city and coastal heat.

vipkid dominican republic

It’s the reason why I moved from the number one Caribbean tourist destination of Punta Cana to this lesser known gem of a town after finally resigning from the brick and mortar school and devoting myself full time to VIPKID.

Why did you decide to teach with VIPKid?

Originally, I decided to teach for VIPKid to supplement the income from a full time teaching position in an international school on the island. I hoped to fund some business ideas and also save some fun money to do a little more traveling. Thanks to VIPKid, I did actually open a bar in Punta Cana for a short time. I never thought I’d be a bar owner. While that didn’t work out long term, I certainly gained new skills, and VIPKid carried me through to my next project, an Airbnb in Jarabacoa.

Was there anything unexpected about teaching online?

Before teaching online, I never expected that I would fall in love with little humans on the other side of the world from me. I never expected to make such real and deep connections with strangers- all online. These strangers not only have become my students, but they have certainly become more like part of my family over the past three years.

I’ve actually had students since February of 2016. We’re quickly approaching three year anniversaries! I most definitely didn’t expect that!

4. How would you convince somebody to visit the Dominican Republic?

If you’re a lover of nature, adventure, dancing (the hip moving, soul churning kind of dancing), and vibrancy, then this is a country you’d want to come visit. I know I’m going to sound like a commercial, but what I’m about to say is true.

The pristine beaches, crystal clear blue lagoons, scenic hikes, natural water slides through seemingly hidden mountains, both rapid and calm rivers, and beautiful cascades that create refreshing swimming holes are enough to provide the perfect ambiance for relaxation or an adrenaline rush.

5. Any advice for others who want to teach from abroad?

For those who plan to teach abroad in a developing country, the first thing you want to check is the general stability of the internet.

Be sure to seek out people who are heavy internet users, preferably those who also need to be connected for work. They’ll steer you in the right direction with internet providers. Keep in mind that the best internet provider may be private/independent and not the most popular that the general population in that area uses.

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