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Learning Spanish in Quepos....

By 6 years ago
Categories Jalova

New volunteers at the Quepos GVI program are not thrown immediately to the wolves (eager students aged from 2 to 70 years), instead they are gradually introduced through intensive Spanish classes. For their first week, most volunteers spend two hours every morning, and two hours every afternoon learning enough Spanish to survive the impending weeks. 

For volunteers who are completely new to the language, mornings are spent with Boca Vieja’s most enigmatic Tico, Carlos. Carlos excels in the teaching of conversational Spanish and the popular phrase “¡Pura Vida!” resolves any awkward moments. During afternoon classes in Runia’s second story classroom, it’s even possible for the eager volunteer to understand some Spanish grammar. Homework requires other volunteers and staff to consent to being a Spanish inquisition about their favourite foods and activities.

Those arriving with prior knowledge spend mornings with Runia which are more like coffee dates with a Tica. But developing an understanding of the local area is just as important as comprehending the precise Spanish in which it’s explained. Afternoons with Carlos are times to relax, enjoy Costa Rican coffee, read local newspapers and learn the local geography. Homework, such as to write a story about sisters who aren’t allowed to leave the house provides an entertaining challenge.

The classrooms for these intensive lessons are anything but orthodox. Carlos frequently takes his students on outings to the supermarket, marina, and river (if you’re lucky he might buy you a helado).  If you’re particularly diligent with your homework, Runia might even walk you to the Marina and explain some local history.

The hour spent at the community center every day for lunch gives just enough of a taste for all new volunteers to realise that every word of Spanish they acquire will come in handy in the weeks to come.

Caitlin- Quepos Volunteer