Aero: Kelly Bailey – Costa Rica 2016 – Learning the Language

Aero: Kelly Bailey - Costa Rica 2016 - Learning the Language

Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Before going to Costa Rica I knew little to no Spanish. In just two weeks I feel as though I learned a lot of Spanish vocabulary and several important phrases. Yet, I do not feel as though I have the sentence structure and all question phrases down pact. Still I feel as though I got to a general understanding of the Spanish language.

Kelly Bailey

Kelly Bailey

My host family was very patient with me in trying to communicate. Where on the street and in restaurants people would sometimes seem annoyed when they would have to repeat the same questions over again. The fact tourism was a huge part of Costa Rica’s economy worked in our favor because it meant most people new some English. Almost every tour we went on was in English, which I think was very important for making sure I learned as much as possible.

The hardest part for communicating in Spanish for me was understanding what the Tico was saying in Spanish. First you hard to decipher the Costa Rican accent then determine the Spanish word and then hopefully you knew the word. There was two times when I really wished I knew more Spanish. First was with my host family, Mayra who is the mother of the family spoke no English. Mayra could understand what we said sometimes, and I just wished I could have understood what she was saying more. Smiling and nodding can only get you so far in a conversation.

The second time my heart hurt to not be able to communicated better was when we visited the home for adolescent girls. There was so many questions and words that both parties could figure out how to say to the other. Even though most of their questions were able silly things about Justin Bieber and nail polish colors I desperately wanted to understand these less fortunate girls more than any one else. In the future I want to learn Spanish better and possibly other languages as well.

I believe the Costa Rica Philosophy that a person that knows two languages is worth two people.  My dream is to eventually join some program like the Peace Corps and teach in another country. Through this experience I have learned how important it is to learn other languages’ and to be patient when communicating.

Kelly Bailey
LEAF Contributor
ML@FLCC: Costa Rica 2016

Modern Languages @ FLCC: Costa Rica Study Abroad 2016