5 Things You’ll Learn at Spanish School in Costa Rica
August 9, 2013
When you think of Costa Rica, you might first think of ocean waves lapping on pristine shores, but the country has a lot more to offer. Beyond the beaches and photogenic landscapes, Costa Rica is rich with life and culture, making it one of the best places to immerse yourself.
Year after year, tourists from all over the world book flights to Costa Rica to learn Spanish. Instead of opting for hour-long, once a week sessions to learn the language closer to home, students attend Spanish school in Costa Rica so they can dive into the culture head first. Here, they are taught by native speakers, effectively get to “live in” the language, and have the opportunity to use their new language skills with locals on a daily basis.
Read on for a list of five things you’ll learn at Spanish school in Costa Rica.
Don’t assume that Spanish words that look like English words have the same meaning. Just because a Spanish word may resemble an English word in spelling, doesn’t mean they resemble each other in meaning. A good example of this is the word embarazada, which to the unwitting English speaker, looks like the word “embarrassed.” In reality, embarazada means “pregnant.” Using or hearing this word wrong in a sentence could lead to serious communication errors.
Don’t always follow English sentence patterns. Sure, locals may still understand you when you follow an English sentence order, but paying attention to word order (like when the subject follows the verb) can lead to better understanding, not to mention that word order can also subtly change the meaning of a sentence.
Practice pronunciation. While it’s important to know sentence structure and how to properly conjugate verbs, your thoughts can still be lost in translation if you don’t use the proper pronunciation. Learn how to enunciate and when to trill those r’s, and keep an ear out when you’re around native speakers to help you hone your accent.
Learn when to drop the articles. You may feel compelled to always include an el or la, an un or una, or a los or a las, but knowing when to use them and when to lose them will go a long way toward you speaking like a native.
Make mistakes. One of the best things about attending an immersion Spanish school in Costa Rica is the fact that you’re surrounded by other students who are learning, just like you. Mistakes are inevitable, so let yourself make them, and learn from them. One of the worst things you could do when learning a new language is to let fear hold you back from speaking. Instead, use what you learn each day, whether with another student or with a local in town, and deepen your understanding.
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