The best way to learn a new language is to spend time in that country

I’m wrapping up my Costa Rica Spanish immersion adventure this week and will be heading home soon.  It’s been a great trip and a positive learning experience both academically and for personal growth.  I am so glad I had the opportunity to learn Spanish in Costa Rica and would highly recommend living in a foreign country to learn a new language.  Even though it was a lot of work over the 3 weeks and stressful at times, being immersed in a Spanish speaking country where I was forced to listen and speak Spanish was the best way for me to really learn and understand the language.  I am much more confident in my listening and speaking skills than I think I would have been taking 2 semesters of Spanish in a classroom.  In addition, the experience of living in another culture with a host family and having to navigate a different living situation was a positive challenge for me.  Simple things like trying different foods, figuring out directions, using an uber or even joining a local gym to work-out were growing/maturing experiences that made me step out of my comfort zone. The time spent in Costa Rica was fun all around especially my time in Heredia where there was an authentic “local” feel to the more touristy excursions we went on.  From visiting national parks and museums, white water rafting, zip-lining, swimming in the hot springs, viewing a volcano and swimming under a waterfall, it was a great adventure.  The weekend trips were a perfect way to explore Costa Rica and bond with the other students on the trip, while the local experiences with our host families and practicing my Spanish with school kids gave me an authentic view of a different culture.  The whole experience helped me not only with my Spanish skills but I matured and became a much more confident traveler.  I want to thank my wonderful host family for the past 3 weeks and I look forward to coming back to this beautiful country again, maybe when there are waves to surf!

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