My one month mark in Costa Rica has finally been met and although that signifies a lot, it mainly means that my month long spanish class is over! But, it’s not as sweet as it may sound. Although my body is excited to no longer be woken up at 6:30 in the morning, my brain will miss the early morning stimulation of learning a new language. I remember sitting in the office of my study abroad advisor back home and learning that I had to take a one month, intensive spanish class. “No way”, I thought to my self, “that will totally ruin my trip”. But as the month has come to an end, I can safely say that the class only enhanced my trip and made it possible for me to navigate around the country and communicate with my host family.
The spanish classes at Veritas University are split into a basic level, an intermediate, and an advanced level. Despite taking a year of spanish at my home university, I was placed into the basic level. A wonderful decision because there was still so much room for reinforcing what I had already learned. When I took the course in college, I never thought I would actually use the language again. As I learned the material I did only enough to just pass a test. Thankfully, I remembered a lot more than I thought and I was really able to focus on the teachers lecture rather than trying to learn from scratch.
That gets me into the teachers at Vertias. I have not heard one bad remark about any spanish teachers at the school. I can speak for my self and say that I had a kind, patient, and fun professor who really taught the language in a way that made sense. Though the class was for 4 hours a day, we did so many things within that time that it never felt unbearable. If we weren’t practicing for a presentation or learning new vocabulary, we were out and about learning more about the spanish language and culture. One time my teacher took the class for a walk through a local neighborhood where we went into local markets, schools and a fire department. It was a wonderful chance to see the town through a local’s perspective and to get to know our professor outside of the class. We also watched a fantastic Argentinian film, “El Sueno de Valentine” and another time we played musical chairs while answering questions in spanish. We even took a field trip to a nearby city and toured a prestigious church in Costa Rica, La Bisilica de Nuesrta Señora de Los Angeles.
Everyday was something different and it was great way to meet other people at the university. The kids in my class were a lot of fun and by the end of the time we all became a close little unit. I don’t think there was one spanish class that went by where both us students and the professor did not share a laugh together.
Although the class is over, I know that my professor and the friends I made will be contacts of mine throughout my trip and maybe even back in the States. Our professor told us to contact her if we needed anything throughout our time in Costa Rica or if we ever needed a recommendation back at home. As for my friends in the class, our time together gets to continue in different ways. Sometimes I see them out on a Thursday night, or I may run into them on a morning walk to school. No matter the occasion, its always nice to bump into a familiar face. I have that spanish class to thank for a lot of my adjustment here in Costa Rica. Having a routine and knowing I would be surrounded by positive people, with the goal of learning a new culture, made it possible to keep on waking up with a smile. It also eased my fears of not knowing the language in a foreign country and made it possible for me to interact and share stories with so many awesome Costa Ricans.
Written by Albert Vuoso, Social Media Journalist