As different cultures come together over the internet and travel to other countries becomes easier, our lives are becoming increasingly global. The food we eat is usually from another country. The companies we work for have international offices. Our neighbors are often recent immigrants. The entire world has become a melting pot of different people, which is incredibly exciting. It is becoming increasingly difficult to live and work in this melting pot, however, if you only speak one language. Bilingualism is showing up on most job descriptions these days, and no one wants to get left behind. No one wants to be like those people who never learned how to use a computer. It is time to learn a new language.
The most obvious and useful language for most Americans to learn is Spanish. After all, the Hispanic population is the fastest growing minority in the United States. But when you think back to high school or college Spanish class, you cringe from the memory. About all you have to show for those years of rote memorization is being able to say, “Donde está la biblioteca?” But when regular Spanish classes don’t work for you and you don’t have the discipline or funds for Rosetta Stone, what do you do? Well, you make learning Spanish a vacation.
Costa Rica is a great place to learn Spanish because ticos use a minimal amount of slang and the accent is as close to a standard Latin American Spanish as one can get. Since a lot of tourists come to Costa Rica to learn the language, there are also quite a few schools from which to choose. The best way to go about your search is to decide where you would like to spend a week or two and then look for a school there. After all, you can only spend a few hours a day in class. The rest of the time will be spent learning to surf or going on tours or simply laying out on the beach.
What to Look for in a Spanish Language Program
The first thing to decide when choosing a Spanish language program in Costa Rica is your level of commitment to learning the language. Understand that you won’t be fluent in a week of daily three-hour classes. If you are coming to Costa Rica solely to learn Spanish, then you should look into a serious program lasting at least a month. Most people, however, don’t have that kind of time and prefer to simply spend part of their vacation becoming more familiar with the language. For these people, any number of language programs would work.
The next most important step in choosing a language program is to decide on the location. Choose a place where you would want to go on vacation for a week. If the school looks good but the town it’s in doesn’t excite you, then look elsewhere.
And finally, look at the program itself. How much time a day is dedicated to Spanish language instruction? Are classes Spanish immersion or primarily taught in English? You’ll want to make sure that the instructor is a native Spanish-speaker, otherwise you could have just taken a class at home. See if you’ll learn about Costa Rican culture and inquire about the teaching techniques. Adults learn best by doing, so make sure that the classes are interactive. Also see what other activities the program includes, as well as the accommodations and meals provided.
Spanish Schools in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Santa Teresa has one Spanish language school called The Perfect Sunset School, whic offers week-long courses. Students have the option of simply taking Spanish classes, combining surf lessons with Spanish classes, or simply learning to surf. Rates include accommodation and two meals a day. Another option is the Costa Rica Spanish School in nearby Playa Hermosa, which offers a similar program.