The other I was reading a recent post from a major Costa Rica news group. It really really started me thinking. It was about the relationship between language and culture. Basically, language is responsible for every culture’s mindset. It is why we are all different and it also factors in to how well we understand another culture. That is to say it is easier to get a handle on another culture’s mindset the more of their language that we understand.
If you come to Costa Rica to live or retire it is of paramount importance to learn the language and interact with the people. As I have said before on repeated occasions and probably sound like a “scratched record” as they say in Spanish, “If you don’t know some Spanish you will always be a foreigner.” You are also increasing the chances of failure here. Don’t get me wrong! I have seen people live here for ten or twenty years without knowing the language and survive. However, they are really missing out on experiencing the best things about living in a different culture and will always be “strangers in a strange land.”
Being bicultural can makes all the difference in the world. One of the reasons I have had such a fantastic life in Costa Rica over the last thirty years is because I speak the language. All of the success I have had here is a direct result of my linguistic background. Hundreds of doors have opened for me and opportunities have presented themselves.
Cervantes said, “To know another language is to know another world.” Nothing could be truer.