Spanish and Life in Samara - Part 1

Two Weeks In…

I am in a little different situation than many Intercultura students in that, last November I sold everything I owned and moved to Samara Beach from Colorado Springs, CO. 

After arriving here I found out very quickly that my Spanish speaking skills needed help if I planned on staying in Costa Rica. In the beginning I tried using self-study programs such as Rosetta-Stone and other various books to help me, but I just wasn´t getting anywhere.  

My previous Spanish background consisted of beginning Spanish classes in high school (a long time ago), and the words and phrases that I had picked up during previous visits to Latin America or from books and translators, needless to say I am nowhere near as fluent as I need to be to live and to effectively communicate in Costa Rica .  

A couple weeks ago I was given the opportunity to start classes at Intercultura, the local Spanish Language School in Samara, which for me has the potential of being a life changing experience. I just completed my second week and while I am still by no means fluent, I am amazed at how much I have learned.

The best way I can describe my first two weeks of classes at Intercultura is, it´s like going back to the third grade where I first learned the basics of grammar and language. The curriculum so far has covered verb conjugation, verb tense, sentence structure and content, with lots of new vocabulary added into the lessons which include a lot of activities that are fun and encourage participation and interaction. The classes are all taught in Spanish, there are no more than six students per class and my classmates are very closely matched to my own abilities. So far, the classes have been rigorous and challenging and they involve a lot of interaction between the instructor and the members of the class. Students are required to use only Spanish in class and when on campus at the Spanish school which initially I found very difficult, but it has forced me to use my voice and at least try to communicate. 

I do realize that I still have a long way go to attaining Spanish fluency, but in just two weeks I have already noticed that I am beginning to understand much more of what my friends and acquaintances are saying, and I am even beginning to gain some confidence in speaking with members of the community. I think that the techniques used at Intercultura are giving me a deeper understanding of the language, and while I am a little overwhelmed with the amount of information I have received, I am encouraged and I think that I really can do this!  Stay tuned….

by Jamie