"Learning travel Spanish in Costa Rica" Learn Spanish Tip by melosh

Learn Spanish, Costa Rica: 3 reviews and 2 photos

Favorite thing: The first question you must ask yourself is how much time, energy and money are you willing to spend. How serious are you? Are you serious enough to start before your arrival learning phrases and certain fundamentals like what each letter sounds like? Are you really going to dedicate almost all your time while attending a school studying, practicing and doing "homework" to get the most out of your time and money?

A goal of learning "travel Spanish" seems reasonable. Even in a relatively brief period of time (2 weeks?) you could learn fluency for general/usual travel situations, but I would expect even with this limited goal the standard program of most language schools would prove inadequate:

For one, their introductory courses tend to be of low intensity. You would probably discover that both your fellow students and the instructors are shall we say, 'less than driven', and their goals may not match your own. (Some just want to have fun. Some want to just try to start to learn the language. Others want to polish what they know, and others like yourself may have a "travel Spanish" motive, but they may not be willing to work hard at it.)

For another, class size is important. I would say that if the class has more than five students, the intensity of your individual experience with the instructor will be excessively diluted. Personally, I feel that number of hours in class is less important than the quality of the time spent both in class and outside class.

If you are really serious, the more time and money that you are willing to dedicate to the process, the more satisfied you are likely to be with the result. Unfortunately it is hard to determine over the internet how much help a specific school will be and whether a larger school with higher fees would be better than a cheaper or smaller school. There in lies the dilemma. Do you commit to a specific school for the duration of your study or do you make a minimal commitment with a plan to extend it or move on to someplace else depending on your initial satisfaction? This would be an argument for going to a larger town with multiple schools.

In the wrong school and the wrong town there is a danger that you will find yourself speaking English with your fellow students and people of the community rather than struggling with Spanish. This even happens with home stays because often they will have more than one visitor. (The town mentioned by an earlier poster, Turrialba, sounds good to me because I feel that larger cities are less useful for someone trying to learn a language.)

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  • Written Nov 30, 2009
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