Now that we are in the country, we are scrambling to learn Costa Rican Spanish. Try to find the time before you leave North America or wherever your home country is, to learn some Latin American Spanish.
Latin American Spanish, and more specifically Costa Rican Spanish, is not the King’s Castilian Spanish as spoken in Spain. The local, Costa Rican Spanish, is full of country-specific colloquialisms.
But not to completely despair! There are courses, individual lessons, and immersion groups virtually everywhere in Costa Rica. There are so many schools where ex-pats can learn Spanish as a second language. And, take the advice of everyone we know – jump in and try.
You’ll learn some Costa Rican Spanish from
- Just watching TV,
- Going to the farmer’s market (feria),
- Trying to communicate with your housekeeper or your mechanic.
Now, there are some really great and free translation programs online. Those will give you three versions of your translation in both written and audio form. A warning: they are great in a pinch, but can become a crutch. They prevent you from putting forth the effort needed to really learn the language.
I spent probably 300 or more hours of online learning and familiarizing myself with Costa Rica. Add to that hours and hours of email communication with Costa Rican friends, acquaintances, and resources asking questions and recording answers. (My apologies here to all of our friends and acquaintances – you know who you are – whose time I took in researching our move.)
In addition, you need to prepare a list of questions that requires answers, in order to have a successful move to Costa Rica. Over time, you will learn to refine your questions and target the most relevant information.
Also, remember that rules and policies change here often, and other things just change.
You can also follow Ivo’s blog. Under the heading of how to prevent culture shock, you’ll find quite a few blogs about Tico slang.
The author of this blog, Ticonuevo, is a US expat who moved to Costa Rica. He and his wife used the services of GoDutch Realty to purchase a property in Costa Rica. In his blogs, Ticonuevo describes his own experiences of taking the step of moving to Costa Rica and getting a new life started.
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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. Also, please remember the GoDutch Realty agents when you talk about your home in Costa Rica, we appreciate it.