How did you learn to swim?
You might have started by holding onto the wall. You practiced skills like kicking and blowing bubbles underwater.
Eventually, though, you had to let go of the wall.
Although it was a terrifying couple of seconds, you were swimming around the pool in no time.
In fact, it may have surprised you that you were able to swim better than you expected.
Now, how are you learning Spanish?
All of these are amazing ways to practice your Spanish, but eventually, you will have to let go of the wall.
Participating in a Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica is the perfect way to throw yourself into the deep end.
You will be surprised how well the knowledge you have been building will help you navigate in a Spanish environment.
How Can a Spanish Immersion Program in Costa Rica Improve Your Language Skills?
When you visit a Spanish-speaking country for your immersion program, you will have no choice but to use your Spanish skills constantly. Instead of working through grammar exercises and vocabulary-building activities, you will have to just speak the language.
Spanish will surround you 24/7. Simple things like getting something from the grocery store or finding your way home will require you to use your Spanish skills.
Throughout the entire process, you will be learning from native speakers. Usually, these speakers will want to help you learn.
The value of learning from native speakers cannot be understated. You will not only improve your conversation skills, but you will learn how words and phrases are actually used. That information can be hard to glean from a textbook.
And Spanish skill improvement is just one of the many benefits of using an immersion program. In addition to all the language-learning benefits, you will also be learning about the culture and the people through hands-on interaction.
It will help you to better understand an entire country in a meaningful way by making connections with its people.
Should You Try a Spanish Immersion Program in Costa Rica?
The decision to participate in an immersion program in Costa Rica is a big one. The program will take time, energy and money. Is it worth that investment?
If you are serious about learning Spanish, then yes!
However, you need to be aware of your learning goals and what it will take to achieve them. You need to be willing to step completely outside of your comfort zone.
An Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica will not only involve a new language but also a new location, new home, new friends and new experiences. You will need to actively seek out experiences that might be challenging or mentally tiring since you will be thinking in a different language the entire time. Are you ready for that?
How to Choose an Immersion Program That Is Right for You
Find a suitable program duration
As you start the search for an immersion Spanish program in Costa Rica, be realistic about the amount of time you are able to commit to a program. Unfortunately, most of us have jobs, school, families and other responsibilities that we can only realistically leave for a certain amount of time.
Find a program that works with the time you are able to commit.
Keep in mind that the more time you are willing to commit to a program, the more effective your experience will be.
Based on my own experience, I needed some time when I first arrived at the program to adjust to my new surroundings before I started learning the language.
Do not worry if you only have a week or two, though: The lengths of programs vary greatly and you will likely still be able to find a good fit.
Choose the right country
When looking for a program, pick a country and city that you want to get to know better.
It helps to be very interested in the place around you throughout your immersion experience. It will keep you engaged and inspire you to explore. And all that exploration will help you to expand your cultural knowledge as well as learn the language.
Remember that Spanish is a language with many dialects. If you are set on learning a specific kind of Spanish, then choose a program in that area. You will be learning Spanish around you, so wherever you are is the type of Spanish you will learn.
Balance your experience in and outside of the classroom
Some people learn better from hands-on experience, while others learn better in a classroom. You know the best style of learning for you.
Find a program with the right balance of instructional guidance and self-learning to suit your learning requirements.
Pick where you will stay
Most programs include lodging of some kind, sometimes even partnering with local families to provide students with a homestay experience. It can be hard to live with people anywhere, but it is especially challenging when you do not share the language and culture of those you share a home with.
We recommend a homestay experience since it will complete the immersion experience, but you will need to make sure that you are matched with a family you can easily get along with or shares the same values as you.
Often, programs will help you find a family to homestay with, while others are more of a gamble as they randomly assign students to families.
If you do not feel comfortable staying with a local family, then look for a program that lets you live on campus or in a rented apartment.
Spanish Immersion Programs to Unlock Your Skills
Perfect Sunset School
Length: one to 10 weeks
Price: starting at $225 USD
Location: Costa Rica
Perfect Sunset School offers an interesting immersion experience that includes courses paired with extracurricular activities like SCUBA, yoga or surfing in addition to your Spanish studies. You can attend get-togethers and movie nights with your fellow students, enjoy some local cuisine, go on an eco-adventure and so much more.
The company offers programs by the beach.
The program offers you the option of a accommodations in share or private rooms.
You should really give this a try if you have the opportunity. It will change your Spanish—and maybe even your life—for the better!