There is no doubt that having a second language opens up many doors in terms of relationships as well as educational and job opportunities. Spanish is the second most-spoken native language in the world (after Chinese), and the second most-spoken language in the USA.
At The Bridge, we allow students to be exposed to Spanish in a variety of ways so they absorb the language and can put it to use. Our Spanish classes (taught by trained teachers) take place in locals' homes, and are highly conversational and applicable. Also, students who have a stronger interest in the Spanish language can take college courses at any level of difficulty. and for intensive terms of 4 weeks up to full semesters or years.
But more than these classes, students will tell you it is being surrounded by Spanish and developing relationships with native speakers that mainly does the job. Costa Ricans are friendly, happy to teach Spanish, and more than anything appreciative of foreigners trying to speak their language.
It is in the day to day experiences where students get to learn Spanish the most: going to the grocery store, playing basketball with locals, at homestay or cultural activity on Sundays, or at internship. Furthermore, at The Bridge we bring the culture home, and have two staff that speak very little English. The caring attitude they bring in their interactions with the students not only allows them to rapidly improve their Spanish skills, but also often end up being the students' favorites! Charades may be the initial form of communication, but very quickly the students learn how to converse and have fun with their local pals in Spanish!
"He became fluent in Spanish, despite the fact that the PhD Psychologist who did repeated neuro psychological analysis of our son and followed him from second grade through high school, said he could not learn a foreign language and should take sign language in school. Becoming fluent in Spanish was one element that contributed to building self-esteem and self-confidence."
"Having to be where everybody speaks Spanish made me use my brain, and that made me want to be in the mood to learn other things."