It was a well-known notion that traveling to Costa Rica would mean having to put my Spanish to use, but I never realised what a blessing being bilingual was until I became a means of communication between my friends and the locals of Costa Rica. However, with both of my parents being Mexican and raising me on Spanish first, I have come to notice that I still struggle when communicating with others in Spanish. See, where I am from “Spanglish” (a combination of Spanish & English) is a common dialect, so other than with my grandparents, I rarely spoke proper Spanish. On the other hand, the Spanish that I do know has helped me advance from the basic one to the advance two class, and it was in that class where I learned that no matter the level of education or experience our learning process never stops.
Though I grew up in a household where Spanish is a primary language and knew more than half of the material in the advanced course, I found myself having some difficulties at times. Nonetheless, the advance 2 class allowed me to strengthen my Spanish and appreciate the fact that I am able to communicate in more than one language.
Growing up I knew that being bilingual would have its advantages, where I’m from generally everyone speaks both English and Spanish day in and day out but since Spanish was that common I never really realized how lucky and blessed I am to be able to know two languages. Living here in Costa Rica the past few months without a doubt has been a revelation.
I have been here for exactly two months now and I am still not used to having to speak Spanish throughout the entire day. Sometimes when I am translating for my friends, I tend to forget words so I have to use hand gestures or look up the translation on the internet. Not being able to know the correct translation of certain words bugs me at times for these are the two languages that I should know very well.
What I am trying to say is that whether we are part of the basic one or the advance two groups there will always be room for improvement, that even the fluent Spanish speakers have trouble, and that an opportunity like this one in which we can dive into the culture and learn first hand should be appreciated.