It is only Spanish, not an open heart surgery.

As a Spanish teacher in Tamarindo, I have found myself saying this so much in my Spanish lessons that it is a good time to put things back in perspective. We are learning a language. Spanish learning is not linear. Nothing happens if we miss pronounce a word or choose the wrong verb. It is not the end of the world.  Every mistake is a chance to learn and improve.

Our emotions are so connected with our learning that, if we tried to stay in peace as much as possible, we would be speaking Spanish in less time than we can imagine. So, every time you find yourself sweating or freaking out about your Spanish learning, I invite you to remember this.

1. If you have to speak Spanish, then you are the most bilingual person in the conversation.

Sometimes we panic and mortify ourselves thinking that the person we are speaking with thinks we are stupid. Hold on a sec and look back. If they are not speaking your language, then you are the most resourceful person in the conversation. They know it. You are not making a fool of yourself. You are making a great effort and it is appreciated, you are the only language learner in the conversation and you should give yourself credit for it.

2. Most of the horror stories that we think of are only happening in our heads.

We are all guilty of this. I have had students in my Spanish classes who I could have sworn had a great class, they were a great addition to the group and brought about very interesting questions that everyone benefited from. I was dismayed to learn, later in time, that they felt terrible. They were feeling like they were no good and were not enjoying class at all! Some of them even dropped out and the whole group was shocked and also sorry not to have them any more.

We create our own demons in our minds. Most people are not thinking everything we think they are thinking. So, when you find yourself face to face with your demons: please tell them: “you are not true, get away from me”.

3. It is just a language.

Nobody will suffer irreversible damage (yourself included) by any language mistake you make.Please, let’s take the drama away from this. And our lives in general. We are human. We are learning. We make mistakes. That is ok. Any interlocutor who is trying to learn a language understands you perfectly fine. Anyone who has never tried to learn a second language will probably not feel your pain, but then again… who’s the braver, more adventurous and resourceful of the two?

If you are ever feeling you are not good enough for this, always remember that learning is not a perfect straight line up. It has ups and downs. Language learning looks more like this:

This is how our Spanish learning process looks life for most language learners.

Graph icons created by Pixel perfect – Flaticon

Sometimes you may feel like you are going backwards. How on earth can my Spanish be getting worse and not better? But if you see the big picture, there is always progress. So always, connect with the big picture.

In short, let’s embrace our humanness, face our fears about losing face in front of others and our feelings of not progressing and let them go. They are all in our minds. Progress happens, people appreciate us more than we really think and we are allowed to make mistakes. Everyone else does. Enjoy the journey. It is never ending.


We are starting our group Spanish lessons in Tamarindo in January. See info below and reach out if you would like to join us for classes.

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