Creating Community in Costa Rica

Becoming part of the community in Costa Rica is a great challenge that every student studying Spanish should bravely take on!  Essentially, immersing yourself into the Costa Rican culture will help you improve your Spanish language skills as well as lessen the possible effects of culture shock. Unfortunately, it sounds easier that it really is.  How can we really fit in here?
Rule #1: Socialize
         Make as many friends as you can while here in Costa Rica. Try to socialize as much as you can with Ticos, especially. This is not to say that you can’t form relationships with your fellow classmates, however the point is to immerse yourself in the Costa Rican culture. Learn what they do for fun or how they make a living.
Rule #2: Volunteer
         Volunteering with a local Costa Rican organization or company will force you to use the language and can be a great social outlet to meet like-minded people in your age group. Plus, this is a definite experiential learning situation; meaning that not only are you using Spanish all of the time, but you are constantly learning more vocabulary words and expressions while performing tasks and working together with the locals. This is one of the best ways to strengthen your language skills.
Rule #3: Pick up a hobby
         Enroll yourself in a local yoga class, a weekly soccer co-ed team, or a book club. We all know the expression, “When in Rome…” Well, when in Costa Rica, do what the Ticos do! You will find yourself meeting many different people and get a better idea of the kind of lives people in Costa Rica live.
If you follow these simple suggestions, in no time you will be finding yourself feeling more a part of the culture from which the Spanish language comes. 
By Katie Horch