Costa Rican Culture by Emma Koessl

During my time in Costa Rica, it is very clear that the emphasis on spending time with their families is highly valued. During the last week here I was able to stay with a host family, they share every meal together and are very kind to each other. Every family member is expected to work to help provide for their family which is very clear here. At my host family’s house, there are four rooms the family shares amongst themselves and everyone helps around the house. Rather than in the States, there is not a familial hierarchy or system where the mom is the one who is expected to cook, clean, take care of the kids, etc. Everyone has responsibilities and duties and they do not complain about them. This is very different from the States where kids seem to have fewer and fewer chores these days and most of the household duties are left to the mother.
Thankfully I have a minor in Spanish so I am able to practice with the locals and the host family I am staying with. There is still a significant language barrier as I do not know the slang and common saying for things however I am still able to understand what they are saying. It is exciting to be able to practice Spanish daily rather than only on occasion back in the States. Some culture shock that I have experienced is “Tico time” where the locals are 15-20 minutes “late” when a set time is placed. In the States, we are all relatively punctual and on time, but here it is not a problem to take your time and arrive 20 minutes late. Another culture shock is the hospitality of the people here which I mentioned earlier. I have not met a group of people who are as kind, considerate, welcoming, and understanding as Costa Ricans. As I have been trying to practice my Spanish with them they are very patient with me and help me to understand them by speaking slower and more clearly. I have been to other Spanish-speaking countries and all of them have just returned by efforts by speaking in English. It is very refreshing to not be shut down but encouraged to continue speaking in Spanish and practicing with them. During the rest of my stay, I look forward to working and connecting with the locals here. Here are some pictures of the local foods that I have been trying, everything is absolutely delicious. I have not had a bad meal yet!

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