Subscribe by Email!
July 1st, 2008
Planning to move to Costa Rica to live, retire or work? Regardless of how well traveled you are, culture shock almost assuredly will be a big factor in how much you and your family will enjoy living in a foreign country and whether you will be able to adjust and enjoy the experience.
I was speaking to the owner of one of the larger moving companies some while back, and he told me that he is now moving back “home” more than 50% of the customers he moved here originally. That is a helluva statistic, and he should know. I tend to believe this as I get more and more email from people who have made the decision to move here after spending little and sometimes no time in this country. Sadly, some have no option as they are just now realizing that they simply cannot afford to retire and live in their home country. This is true especially of many folks from the USA.
So can anything be done so that you do not become one of those statistics returning home tail twixt your legs? I think so! The first thing that you must realize is that every single thing you do every day while living here will be different than it was before. Getting a haircut, stopping at the drug store, going to the cleaners, taking kids to schools, shopping for food or clothes, dealing with the metric system… everything will change.
The key to all this is communication! Supermarkets, drugstores, dry cleaners here look about the same as they do “back home”. The difference is the language. If they all just spoke your native language like English, things would be great, right?
To those who have visited Costa Rica or will do so prior to coming, you must remember that you will be living (or lived) in an bubble. You’re surrounded by English speakers and in some hotels, French and German speakers as well. This is the tourist Costa Rica and not the REAL Costa Rica. In the real Costa Rica, Spanish is the language, and to really get comfy here and enjoy the expat lifestyle, you gotta learn Spanish.
There are numerous language courses, a few of which are advertised on the side of this page. The problem is that the good ones are not cheap. So with that in mind, I thought I’d introduce you to Coffee Break Spanish (CBS). CBS is presented more or less free, and they take you from nothing to survival Spanish pretty quickly and easily. You can listen online, download the lessons to your computer or listen on your iPod or mp3 player. You can even burn them to a CD.
So to all you future expats… start now and pick up the lingo. I cannot promise and 100% easy transition to Costa Rica, but I can promise it will go a whole lot smoother.
Helpful link: Spanish Schools in Costa RicaFiled under Costa Rica, Culture Shock, Learning Spanish, Life in Costa Rica, Living in Costa Rica, Moving to Costa Rica, Retire in Costa Rica, Travel to Costa Rica | Comments (3)