“Kathleen, I got a big chuckle reading your story on learning a new language. I have had an interesting time with my Spanish.
“Nearly three years ago, I moved from the United States to Costa Rica, first settling in Escazu and later to the delightful town of Cahuita on the Caribbean. In Cahuita, I met a wonderful lady from Colombia. We hit it off big time. The only problem was language. I spoke only limited Spanish, and she spoke no English whatsoever.
“I invested in a dictionary that I nearly wore out. As time went on, my Spanish improved greatly, to the point that my now well-worn dictionary is no longer needed.
“We were married one year ago.
“I think that the best way to learn a new language is total immersion. Live with the locals and learn the real language, not from a book but from the people themselves. The effort is well worth it.”
–Bill R., Costa Rica
“Kathleen, just a tip for those who are still Stateside but who want to brush up on (or start learning) a foreign language: Many public libraries offer online learning through Rosetta Stone, Mango Languages, or similar programs. With a library card, users can access these programs over the internet and start learning languages free.
“Also, in many communities, people can find discussion partners for practicing languages.
“I’m looking forward to taking an immersion course (probably in Medellin) but, until then, I’m doing what I can at home to practice Spanish and to learn Portuguese through a local class.”
–Jennifer G., United States