I’ve taken part in a Spanish summer program for high school students. It can be an eye-opening learning experience, and on programs like GLA’s Costa Rica: Spanish Service Adventure.
Unlike most students who spend the majority of their time in classrooms during Spanish summer programs, on the Costa Rica: Spanish Service Adventure program, you only spend some of your dedicated language learning time in the classroom, you but also get outside to help on projects benefiting your local host population. It’s an immersive summer Spanish program for high school students where sharing conversation on a volunteer project site, at the local town market, or over dinner is as profound to your language learning as the classroom portion of your program.
From experience, I can tell you the best way to learn a new language is to be surrounded by it – so surrounded that there are very few speakers of your native language. Working alongside those in your host community, you can learn Spanish much more quickly and the projects can open your eyes to cultural differences and important social issues. Some issues don’t translate the same way between languages, so learning new aspects of a second language can open your mind up to understand different issues in ways you may not have conceived of before.
Adventure can consist of traveling to another country, and being a friendly new face in an unknown community. Adventure can also consist of sharing a part of yourself with your host community, and taking something of that community with you when you go. Language – the great connector – is a powerful way to achieve the latter. Learning a new language is a path to adventure where there hadn’t been a bridge before.
So what are you waiting for? Take the adventure.
Contributed by William Pate