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Studying Spanish in Costa Rica

There are about a million programs that claim to be the best way to learn a foreign language. You may have seen ads on TV, heard radio announcements, or heard a referral from a friend.

I would argue that the best way to learn a language does not come in the form of a book or audio file or computer program; the best way to learn a language is to be immersed in the culture and learn in a country which speaks that language.

If you would like to learn Spanish Costa Rica is a good country to study in. This is because many of the residents speak English as well, so if you have an emergency or need help with something there will most likely be someone who can help in English. This also means that to learn here you must be disciplined in only speaking Spanish unless it’s an emergency or else you can be here for 5 years without learning.

Many schools here offer intensive programs where you can take classes all day in a group or privately, take extracurricular activities such as Latin cooking or classes to learn the culture and practice your Spanish, and even stay in the home of a local family to further immerse yourself in the language. One example of this kind of school is the Costa Rican Language Academy. I highly recommend this school. Many schools also have specialized classes for workers in the healthcare or criminal justice professions.  Universities such as the University of Costa Rica and University Latina also offer semester long programs and college credits. These often include some time involved in volunteer programs in remote areas where only Spanish is spoken.

Our editor Dan Stevens studied at CPI during college and received college credit for the courses in the gorgeous town of San Joaquin de Flores. Many Universities will offer credits fro taking classes abroad and enjoying Costa Rica instead of cooped up in a classroom in the USA.

Whether you come for a few days or a few months you can learn quickly here if you resolve to speak only Spanish. Practice everything you learn even if it seems basic. People here are very friendly and willing to help. Make sure to ask people to correct you because they may feel that it’s rude to correct you unless you ask. A last piece of advice: be patient with yourself and others and keep a positive attitude!

By Kerry La

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