Over the past couple of years, Costa Rica has had a large increase in the number of people moving here from around the world. The ability to work remotely has fueled this influx into what many refer to as “paradise.”
In just one community where I used to live, there are medical professionals, lawyers, computer specialists, and many other specialists working remotely. This ability to work from anywhere was made possible due to the COVID era. Companies have found that in some cases, productivity increases while costs of maintaining a workspace in physical offices decrease. Having great WiFi is a basic need to function and work remotely. Costa Rica has made it possible for those workers to get residency as digital nomads.
Many families have moved here with children and are taking the opportunity to educate their young ones bilingually. In just the region of Tamarindo, I can count at least 10 private schools that cater to the expat communities and also give scholarships to local children as well.
These children are so lucky to be able to learn from here. Imagine how rounded they will be as they face challenges when venturing out into the world.
In the United States, we were not really encouraged to learn another language. As I look back upon my education, we were required to take a language but it was not an important part of our education. Of course, Spanish was the language we were most encouraged to learn by our teachers. Well, I attended classes and learned some Spanish, but lost what I learned because there was no encouragement to practice. I learned how to get to Taco Bell and sing La Cucaracha.
I am envious of the opportunity that expat children have in Costa Rica. I tell them how beneficial it is to learn Spanish and even other languages from their friends representing the many different countries here.
It is very difficult to learn a new language as you get older. Many distractions encompassing our daily lives often get in the way. I regret that I did not apply myself more in my education.
I have learned Spanish. I do understand what is being said to me, but my ability to respond is limited to words, not sentences.
I have been studying and learning more each week. My friends have noticed the difference in my communication. Yes, it is difficult, but very rewarding to be able to communicate in the local language. It is also respectful to the people of our host nation.
At the Howler we have many online articles incorporating lessons in Spanish that you can read and learn from. In fact, our website translates into Spanish and many other languages. A great exercise is to read an English article and then read it again in Spanish. But getting out in the community and talking with the locals is the best way to learn.
I encourage everyone to learn a couple of Spanish words per day and use them in their daily life. Don’t be embarrassed that you are saying them wrong. The locals will correct you and this will help you to learn and create a memory of those words.
Share with us what has worked best for you to learn Spanish.