To make the most of your stay in Puerto Rico it is important that you make an effort to speak basic Spanish. To accomplish this, you can invest in any of the audio programs available or take classes designed to teach Spanish in a short time period. Many people learn basic terms and phrases this way, aiding their initial transition.
However, if you want to interact competently among Puerto Ricans, learning to speak Spanish like the locals is imperative. Those who already speak some Spanish upon arrival will likely discover that they are not understood and they don’t understand what others are saying either. Puerto Rican Spanish is not like other Spanish. That’s not a bad thing. It just means that you’ll have to work harder to communicate. But how do you learn to speak like the locals?
- Make the commitment: If you are going to learn anything in life, you have to make a commitment to learning it. Learning a language is no different. Consider how you learn best and go with that. If you are a visual learner, use flash cards. If you’re an auditory learner, get CDs that you can play in the car or download podcasts. If you’re a kinesthetic learner, try doing something active that allows you to immediately apply concepts.
- Get involved: Take classes, go to the gym, find a congregation, learn to salsa dance, or find another more suitable activity. Whatever your personal interest, feed it while getting involved in the local community. You can learn body parts during yoga class and watch what others do. Listening to the lead chef of a cooking class repeat words for stir, mix, or bake will amplify your vocabulary. Observe what’s going on around you. You’ll be amazed at how much you pick up after the first few weeks by getting involved.
- Make friends with the locals: Don’t be shy. Get to know your neighbors and others around you. They are a great source of information and you can practice your Spanish with them. Locals can keep you informed of upcoming events, tell you what’s new around town, and help you avoid unsafe places. It’s fine to make friends with non-locals as well, but try to balance between the two so that you get perspectives from both sides.
- Tour the island: Get out and see the island. Puerto Rico is a beautiful island with some priceless treasures. You can go surfing, play golf, ride a horse, and see ancient ruins all in the same day. The further away from San Juan you go, the less people speak English so this makes for a great way to practice and learn new words. Don’t stay holed up in your house. Go out and explore beyond the shore!
- Party: Yes, PARTY! Participating in the many festivities that take place year round is a terrific way to observe cultural customs and learn words for local foods and beverages. If you get invited, be sure to go. You may feel overwhelmed, but go anyway. Look for small opportunities to add to the conversation or simply listen to others and attempt to pick up a few words. It’s not easy, especially when music and seven simultaneous conversations drown out your immediate conversation, but keep at it. You’ll get the hang of it and have fun at the same time.
Overall, don’t give up! Learning Spanish will get easier. Take advantage of all possible opportunities to put yourself out there. You’ll be amazed at what you learn! Mistakes will be made, laughs will be had, but you’ll learn much more than vocabulary along the way. This is key to having the best possible experience you can on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.
Don’t forget that we are offering FREE CONSULTATIONS for Spanish lessons for both adults and children until September 15, 2012. Contact Global Perceptions TODAY for an appointment! Visit www.globalperceptions.net or call 787.455.7764.