Thanks for the reply. I had fought the idea of doing this gig for some time...In the states I had a decent paying, easy (but unsatisfying job), all kinds of possessions, but not really any kind of fun or exciting life. That is why I decided it would be interesting to move out and try something new. Safe may be reassuring, but it can be boring.
So I enrolled in a TEFL program online, took the class and did a little but of volunteer teaching just to build a resume. My neighbor was a professional photographer, so I traded him some of my things for a good set of pictures I could add to any job package I decided to build.
While I did begin to send out my resume to a ton of companies, I came to realize that nobody would be serious about giving you a shot as long as you were in the states, you need to be in their country. So I made my plans, had my savings, sold what I could for extra $$ and flew down.
YOU REALLY NEED TO HAVE SOME $$ SAVED UP. It took me about two months of applying before I got a job, and then another month before I was getting any checks. Having a TEFL can get you a job anywhere, and as I have a BA in History, getting a job wasn't about the qualifications. Beauracracy moves slow and sometimes you have to be patient.
I knew my qualifications were solid, and that I wasn't desperate, which, like in pick-up, does make you more attractive. Confidence sells. So does competence...to be honest, I didn't learn sh*t from the TEFL... It was more background info than anything. But most of these jobs throw you into their own training program, which was something I was (silently) looking for. They will usually tell you that you have to go through one of those.
So I did the training, they helped me prep for my first class (it's like approaching girls, once oyu get past the nervous 'oh my God, what will I say' and just do it, over time it gets to be easy). So the first few classes are rocky, but this company understands that and you have a grace period, and I was able to find my own footing before long.
We are now receiving teaching workshops, which are helping immensely, so I'd say never be complacent, always look to learn new tricks of the trade. PUA stuff has helped a lot as well. A lot of what I learned from reading all the guy's writings, I have translated and applied in class (not picking up girls, hahaha....but confidence, some alpha characteristics).
As far as my choice of country:
Honestly, Spain was my first choice, though you need to be an EU citizen to get in there, or perhaps have some good experience under your belt first. Costa Rica I chose for the biodiversity...there are all kinds of cool animals if you go out into the countryside...mountains, volcanoes, beaches...you get the idea.
After a while you get to realize it isn't exactly the dream paradise, every country has it's problems, so I'd say be ready to get an illusions shattered when you move abroad....this is the biggest thing to consider before moving to a new country for work. After you get over that hurdle, the work is just work.
Fortunately though, teaching English abroad is a pretty damn fun job. The students (all of mine are intermediate/advanced speakers) will say some crazy and unexpected things all of the time. I don't even try to hide my laughter anymore, and sometimes I do bust on them a little (kindly) and let them know why they shouldn't say that, and what would be more suitable.
So the job is fun. The pay won't be a lot...I am about to get a contract in the next few weeks, but in CR, the beginning pay is like $7 an hour. It does go further than it would in the US, but you aren't gonna be rolling with this gig. So again, I stress, DO have some $$ saved up, be patient, confident. Let your qualifications speak for you.
Wow, that was longer than I was intending, hope it helps!