Should We Raise a Macho Man at Home?

The concept of the “macho man” has strong roots in the Spanish and Portuguese cultures. In fact, the word machismo stems from the Latin word “macho” which means male. However, its definition has changed over the years.

The word macho now means strong masculine pride, which is the concept the Latin culture has iconized over the past five decades.

The question is: should Hispanic families continue supporting this culture in their households?

Understanding the Concept of Machismo in Hispanic History

Will they grow up to be macho men?

Will they grow up to be macho men?

Despite the negativity surrounding the concept of machismo, it’s not really as abusive as it sounds. For centuries, men were the default leaders of a household since they brought food to the table.

Today you may be offended by the outdated concept of men being the leaders of the household, but male leadership may be part of what continues to keep Hispanic families together. Proving this is a statistic from the 2012 U.S. Census America’s Families and Living Arrangements, which states that 72% of Hispanic kids in the U.S. live with their fathers whereas only 49% of African American children have their fathers in their lives.

Going further back in time, manliness in Spanish-speaking countries was associated with honor, responsibility, courage and chivalry.

In Matthew Gutmann’s 1996 book “The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City,” Latin American males believed machismo to mean taking care of children’s responsibilities, acting polite, respecting their women, and possessing non-violent behaviors.

Because of the dominance of their gender, younger males are spared from chores like cleaning or cooking. They’re also given more freedom, allowed later curfews, and provided with larger allowances.

What Being a Macho Man Means Today

The last few lines you just read are just a little of what being a macho man today means.

Open any dictionary and you’ll see that hyper-masculinity is associated with aggressive behaviors, being oversexed, chauvinistic and committed to gender normative roles. While some mothers encourage these characteristic to a degree, others frown upon them.

However, you need to understand that machismo has a positive and negative side. It’s up to you to cultivate the positive characteristics while avoiding the negative ones, especially those which your children watch on TV.

The notion of male superiority can drive a macho man towards exercising control over their female partners’ life, leading to domestic violence or abusive relationships.

Another newly uncovered flaw of modern machismo is death for gay Latinos. According to Alternet.org, homophobia and label-fear has driven many to lead double lives due to cultural obligations rather than sacrifice their egos by coming out. This, in turn, causes the spread of STDs and HIV/AIDS among all three sides. Due to the lack of awareness, Latino macho men have died and claimed others’ lives as well.

So, before your son embraces the negative aspects of machismo, make sure he understands exactly what this Hispanic tradition meant rather than what it currently means.

Teach your son to be more considerate, helpful and gentle, especially when treating other women aside from you. Only then can you really have a real macho man who’ll always make you proud.

Are you raising your son as a macho man? Tell us in the comments!

Using Papel Picado Banner for Your Day of the Dead

Mexican folk art is filled with vibrant colors, and one of the best examples is papel picado (cut paper). The idea is to hung papel picado banners to wave in the breeze and you can use this handmade art form to celebrate important personal events such as weddings, quinceañeras, baptisms, as well as holidays such as Easter and Christmas.

Outside of Mexico, it is perhaps most associated with the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) where it plays a prominent role in decorations.

History of the Papel Picado Banner

Papel picado banners add a festive Latin touch to your celebration.

Papel picado banners add a festive Latin touch to your celebration.

The papel picado history goes back to both the Aztecs and ancient China. Before the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico, the Aztecs traditionally created a paper called amatl, which they then cut with stone knives. These images were generally religious, featuring Aztec deities.

With the arrival of the Spanish came the inclusion of Mexico in international trade routes. One good which arrived was tissue paper, called papel china (Chinese paper) due to its origins. This new, fine paper was soon incorporated into the Mexican folk art tradition as papel picado.

Papel Picado Technique

Creating traditional papel picado is a technical, time-consuming process that requires special tools, lots of experience, and a steady hand, not to mention a great deal of patience. The entire process can take 30 or more hours for one set of 40 pieces of papel picado.

The first step is to draw a pattern, focusing not only on design but also on physics: it has to be able to support itself once the paper has been cut away. Next, the pattern is placed on a stack of tissue paper, which sits on top of a thick lead platform.

The next step is to cut away the pattern using a series of specially made, sharpened chisels, each of a different size and shape. Once the negative space has been removed completely, the papel picado is complete.

Make Your Own Papel Picado Banner

Papel picado is a great addition to any Day of the Dead party, and it’s also a lot of fun for kids to try as a craft.

Since most of us don’t have specialized chisels at home, scissors will have to do. There are a number of different ways to create a home version of papel picado, but this is my favorite because it creates a series of squares, much like papel picado artisans create. Thanks to HappyThought.co.uk for the video and instructions.

Materials:
Printed pattern templates
Colored tissue or crepe paper in several colors, cut to letter size
Scissors
Masking tape

Instructions:
1. Fold template in half, with drawing on the outside.
2. Take 4-5 pieces of paper and fold them in half.
3. Assemble them like a book, with template on the outside. Tape the top so it won’t move.
4. Cut through the outside of the template.
5. Cut out the rest of the template. Continue to fold the “book” to access the inside shapes.
6. Unfold, remove tape, and flatten out the sheets.
7. Make your banner: Lay tape sticky-side up. Place sheets on half of the tape. Fold over to seal.

And lastly: Hang your papel picado banner over your Day of the Dead altar!

Want to know more? Hispanic Culture Online is one of the Web’s best resources on the Day of the Dead. Check out our archives here.

How do you plan to celebrate Day of the Dead? Tell us in the comments!

Hispanic Heritage Month Themes

Hispanic Heritage Month is coming up, and for teachers, that means a great opportunity to teach their students about the many cultures that Hispanic people represent.

But first maybe you are wondering: When did Hispanic Heritage Month begin? It actually dates back to 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the first Hispanic Heritage Week. 20 years later, Congress expanded it to a whole month. And that means a month of lessons.

Are you a teacher looking for Hispanic Heritage Month themes? Here are a few ideas:

Hispanic Heritage Month Theme #1: Day of the Dead

Face painting is a great way to celebrate Day of the Dead in the classroom.

Face painting is a great way to celebrate Day of the Dead in the classroom.

This Hispanic Heritage Month theme is very timely. With the creation of the animated movie The Book of Life, this is a great chance to teach your students about el Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.

  • Elementary: Students color drawings of Day of the Dead skulls.
  • Junior High: Students research, make, and decorate sugar skulls in class. At the end of the month, they have a Day of the Dead party where they paint their faces similar to a sugar skull.
  • High School: Students research the tradition of the Day of the Dead altar. Then they create an altar, with different groups bringing different offerings (ofrendas).As appropriate, those represented can be famous people who have died, or students can choose to honor loved ones who have died, such as grandparents.

Hispanic Heritage Month Theme #2: Music

Latin America is famous for its music. Your students will love learning more about it.

  • Elementary: Make maracas. All they need is beans and a juice can.
  • Junior High: Each week, pick a different style of Latin music (salsa, cumbia, mambo, merengue, mariachi, trova, Andean panpipes, etc.).Play several songs, then have them talk about the music: how does it make them feel, is it similar to something they know, etc. At the end of the month, the class votes on its favorite, which is then the featured music at a Hispanic celebration.
  • High School: In groups, students pick a Latin ritmo (rhythm): salsa, merengue, cumbia, etc. Using the Internet, they learn how to do the accompanying dance.The groups then do a presentation where they teach the others the steps. At an end-of-month party, all the ritmos are played and the students practice – and have fun!

Hispanic Heritage Month Theme #3: Legends and Stories

Latin America is rich in myths, ghost stories, and legendary figures. This Hispanic Heritage Month theme is very versatile because each country has its own myths and legends.

  • Elementary: Have students color drawings of Latin American myths or dress up as them.
  • Junior High: Students read several ghost stories or legends. In groups, they write and then perform their own mini-plays based on the stories.
  • High School: Students pick a country and research one of its legends. They then do presentations for the class.

Want more ideas? Hispanic Culture Online is one of the Web’s best resources on Hispanic Month. Check out our archives here.

Are you a teacher looking for Hispanic Heritage Month themes? Share your ideas in the comments!

5 Ways Dads Can Help Spanish Learning

Raising your kids bilingual is more difficult than it sounds. For Hispanics in the United States, it can sometimes be hard when your child won’t speak Spanish to mom and dad, and Spanish learning can quickly become a struggle if we don’t have support. Much more than simply speaking in your native language, there are formal techniques that you can use to help this process along.

One thing is for sure both parents can contribute to this process. It doesn’t matter which of you is the one speaking the non-dominant or minority language – dads can, and need, to be involved in their child’s bilingual Spanish education.

Dads Can Help Spanish Learning in 5 Ways

Dads can help Spanish learning by watching television and movies with their kids.

Dads can help Spanish learning by watching television and movies with their kids in Spanish.

  • Be consistent
    One Person, One Language, or the OPOL method, is one of the most common ways to help your children become bilingual.

    Basically, each parent speaks only one language to the child. This conditions them to think of Spanish as the language that you need them to speak in order to be able to communicate – in this way, dads can help Spanish learning be natural for the family.

  • Be patient
    It’s been shown that bilingual children sometimes take longer to start speaking properly, as their brains are working hard to try to figure out the two languages. So – don’t give up. And don’t push your kids in either language.

    If you are consistent, their language skills will smooth out soon enough.

  • Share your culture
    Particularly if you are far from your native country, your child may feel like it’s not a relevant part of his or her life. Make a point to share photos and stories of your family, country, and culture – in Spanish, of course! Kids will love that special storytelling time with their dads.

But language learning isn’t all serious. Here are some fun things you can do to support your child as he or she learns Spanish.

  • Give them media in Spanish
    One of the best ways to teach kids Spanish is to make sure they have plenty of ways to include Spanish in their daily lives – and that includes entertainment.

    By buying them books and music, dads can help Spanish learning by giving them ways to practice, but you are also showing them that Spanish is fun and relevant to their day-to-day lives. Watching movies and television shows in Spanish together lets them share your culture with you while they practice their listening skills.

  • Play games with them – in Spanish
    Lots of card and board games have Spanish versions. For example, Monopoly, Life, or Scrabble. Other games are easy to use in Spanish: Connect 4, Pictionary, Go Fish, or Uno. Make game night Spanish-only. Not only will they need to use Spanish to play the game, but have them use it in any conversation that night, as well.

With dedication and creativity, dads can help make the Spanish learning process fun and effective.

Do you have a specific tip about how dads can help Spanish learning?  Let me know in the comments.

Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica for Your Little Ones

I have written before about how an immersion experience can be a great way to get your kids to learn – and actually speak – Spanish. It makes the language relevant, helps kids get real world practice, and also helps improve cultural understanding.

Most importantly for your children, it’s fun. That gives you a great tool when trying to convince them that this summer, they’ll be learning Spanish. One terrific option is Spanish immersion in Costa Rica.

Why Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica?

As a parent, the first question you are likely to ask yourself about when choosing the best Spanish immersion destination for your child is: is it safe?

As the most established democracy in Latin America, Costa Rica is considered one of the safest countries in the region. It has no army and, unlike its Central American neighbors, it has not yet been plagued by gangs and organized crime.

It’s also very welcoming of tourists. Whether you want to accompany your child, or whether you plan to send your teenager to a camp or Spanish school, be assured that there will be English-speaking guides to help you and your teen.

That said, one of the best parts of an immersion is being able to use Spanish in real-life situations, and Costa Ricans are famous for their hospitality and their willingness help you practice.

Costa Ricans speak a very clear, neutral Spanish, which is easy for beginner language learners to understand.

Spanish immersion in Costa Rica comes with fantastic ecotourism opportunities.

Spanish immersion in Costa Rica comes with fantastic ecotourism opportunities.

How to Choose an Immersion Program

Costa Rica offers a number of Spanish language camps, as well as dozens if not hundreds of language schools. How should you choose?

  • First of all, consider the age of your child. If you have a young child, consider whether you want to accompany him.
  • Define activities besides Spanish for your child to enjoy.  Camps for teenagers often combine other activities.  There are camps for teens interested in learning to surf, or would he prefer to volunteer on an environmental project?

Finding out what your child is interested in can help you both decide what kind of program to look for. In Costa Rica, Spanish for teens is a growing market, so there is a lot to choose from.

  • Define your budget and based on that the time he is going to spend in Costa rica.
  • Make a list of the best options and read the ratings, social proof and comments of the children if possible.
  • Contact each option you think is a possibility and talk to them via Skype or Facetime.  If there is not a contact name or a person you can reach out to I would not feel comfortable.

Where Should You Go?

In this article learn Spanish in Costa Rica I describe very well the areas of the country and how they can play an important role in your Spanish learning adventure.

Now you know “what,” so next up is “where.” Costa Rica is a small country, but it has a variety of different climates. If your child wants to surf, look for schools and camps on the beach. More interested in ziplining? That’s generally in the central part of the country.

You also want to consider whether the location is urban or rural. If your child is not used to big cities, it may be best to look for a school in smaller cities such as Heredia or Alajuela, as opposed to the capital San José.

If you are planning to accompany your child – or take advantage of their Spanish immersion in Costa Rica to make a trip yourself – your tourist options are close to endless. Rainforests? Check. Beaches? Check. Volcanoes? Check.

As with most locations, when traveling to Costa Rica, it’s best to think ahead of time about where you want to go and how long you have.

Tourist sites can be long distances between each other, and roads are not always the best. With forethought, you can plan out a trip that makes sure you don’t miss your must-sees.

Spanish immersion in Costa Rica is a great way for your kids to improve their language skills. And it doesn’t hurt that you could get the chance to tag along on a tropical vacation.

Have you taken your kids on a Spanish immersion trip? Tell us how it went in the comments!

What is Spanglish?

Despite their differences, English and Spanish language decided to accept one another and form a union where they blended into a new form known as Spanglish. If the first time you heard this term was from the Adam Sandler movie (seriously?!) or reading these lines, you’re way behind on your Latin heritage lessons. So get ready to discover a phenomenon that has taken both North American and Spanish countries by storm.

Defining Spanglish

The term ‘Espanglish’ was coined in 1940 to define the combination of Spanish and English by people speaking both languages fluently or parts of both.

Since the American Army forced English on the Puerto Rico island’s residents, the result was the widespread usage of Spanglish amongst them. The result was commonly used by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico since the American Army forced English on the island’s residents.

With the growing interaction between both races, many English words found their way into Puerto Rican dictionaries and one of the most famous Hispanic terminologies was born.

Many believe Spanglish to be a language and others believe it to be a mixture of two languages where their respective grammar is overlapping. Spanglish isn’t unified in states which embraced it, including New York, Texas and California.

Still, many of today’s Spanish-speaking countries and communities use the marriage of English and Spanish heavily, especially those in Miami since you need a little of both languages to live there.

Panamanians commonly use Spanglish, especially the Zonians, since the U.S. has controlled the Panama Canal for almost a century.  A Zonian is a person associated withe the Panama canal zone.  Generally they maintain the canal.

Spanglish is everywhere!  Mostly if you want to attract Latinos and Hispanic-Americans in the U.S.

Spanglish is everywhere!  Mostly if you want to attract Latinos and Hispanic-Americans in the U.S.

Why You Should Start Learning Spanglish

There are many reasons you need to start learning this new mixture of languages. First off, the Hispanic-American population is definitely growing.

Between 2000 and 2012, the number of Hispanic immigrants rose from 35.3 million to 53 million. As a result, Hispanics are the largest American minority, a fact you need to acknowledge by learning how to communicate with this population.

Another important reason is the spread of Spanglish across different media. Take Fall 2014’s TV listings for example; the best new show in the season is Jane the Virgin, a show which combines both languages quite often. Also receiving nods are Cristela and the highly successful Devious Maids.

TV aside, take a look outside. Many of your favorite brands have embraced this new phenomenon, injecting it into many of its ads. For instance, wireless operator AT&T started using bilingual and Spanish ads to attract a considerable chunk of its users, i.e. Spanish speakers.

Setting You on The Road to Learning Spanglish

Learning this new form of communication isn’t as difficult as you may think, especially since you’ve already mastered Spanish, English or both. First off, you have code-switching, which is when you switch between both languages.

A good example of Spanglish is one your friend may be using, “Ay, Ese, what’s up?” Another way of using this language is through translating entire words or phrases without worrying about grammar.  For example, you can say “está p´arriba de ti” which means “it’s up to you”. You may also want to learn a few words such as “Lonchar” for “Lunch” and “Remover” for “Remove”.

So get a book, app or class and start exploring the world of Spanglish.

How do you feel about Spanglish? Tell us in the comments!

Planning Your Spanish Language Immersion In Six Steps

Our Spanish language immersion in the south of Spain has been a great opportunity for me to talk about what is really important when you want to bring your kids to another culture.

I can share overall that planning a Spanish immersion is not as difficult as I used to think it was. I guess it is because now we have been on our sixth immersion and we’re very accustomed to think creatively to give our child the best opportunity he can have to improve his Spanish in a very short period of time.

By now, I have a perfect way to plan your next Spanish language immersion, so I thought why not give you that simple map you could use over and over?

6 Steps To Your Perfect Spanish Language Immersion

This little process that I’m going to share with you has served me very well and you can think of each step as a small piece to conquer.

Time

Start by thinking about how much time you have. Is not the same to go on an immersion for one week that is to go for a full month. I recommend a minimum of a full week.

Once you know the length of time that you are willing to spend in a country or Spanish region you’re all set to think about a specific date. Think about holiday vacations and all dates that are related to your kids School holidays as they present the best opportunities to travel.

Be prepared to spend a lot more money for school holidays because you get hammered with the prices everywhere around the world.

Budget

I would love for you not to have a budget however, the reality shows that thinking about how much you are going to spend in advance in relationship to the length of time is the way to go. This is because the experience and the proficiency your children will be gaining can justify the cost.

Just remember this:  The longer you stay the more you could end up paying and also the more your kids will learn the language. The Spanish immersion becomes an investment not expenditure.

When thinking about the budget, expect to spend on four main things, airplane tickets, lodging, exploring the surrounding areas and structured Spanish learning.

We live in the United States and this explains why going to a different country sometimes requires us to spend on two airplane tickets per person to reach a Spanish-speaking region of a country.

Tickets to South America and Europe are pretty expensive therefore going to Central America and the Caribbean become very attractive choices because they cost way less money.

Lodging can get pretty expensive nevertheless, if exchanging homes is an option explore it.  It makes life much easier and rich because you end up having a great contact in the visiting country.

I know everybody may not feel comfortable exchanging homes however, it is a simple and very viable option that can save you thousands of dollars.

Exploring the surrounding areas of the town you chose to go to can add to your expense because this determines if you need to rent a car, buy entrances to museums, shows, tourist attractions and so forth.

Lastly, is the cost of learning structured Spanish. This encompasses an activity that your child is going to spend at least five hours doing, immersed in Spanish either through sports, camps and structured learning like in a school exchange.

Country – Region

Choosing a Destination for Your Spanish language Immersion

It is Very Important to Choose a Destination for Your Spanish Language Immersion That Your Kids Enjoy.

You can analyze this point at the same time you are setting your budget. Once you know the date and the budget, choose a country and specifically a region. Go ahead and involve your children.

Start by giving your children a marker and a map so they can pinpoint the country they want to visit. My son loves to keep the map after we have gone to the area or region. I think it serves as a great memento.

Spanish is prevalent in one country in North America and all trhoughout Central and South America, some islands in the Caribbean and Spain therefore, you have lots of countries to choose from.  See the map below.

Countries_with_Spanish_as_an_official_language

Once you have pinned out the dates and location look at the weather at the particular time of the year you’re going to go. This will help you with packing, seeing available summer camp opportunities or any classes that your child can take while enjoying the culture at the same time.

Opportunities to Learn Spanish

Start using our friend Google to find Spanish language immersion opportunities. Do a search for camps, exchanges, town sponsored summer activities for children, sports and particular classes that your child is interested in.

A perfect example is when your child loves baseball and you’re going to the Dominican Republic. Try to find a school or a training facility for children where they can commit to at least five hours of daily training. The best part is that the training is going to be all in Spanish and you can couple it with your child’s love for the sport.

Another great way to find out the best bargains in each town you’re going to visit is by making friends in that particular town through forums, Facebook pages, and even home exchanges.

I have found town sponsored camps in Spain for as little as €50 for two weeks. The extra bonus is that while our son is at camp my husband and I can use these five hours to visit nearby towns or enjoy our time as a couple.

Schedule

Having a schedule is particularly important. You can think of the whole morning being devoted to the structured activity for example from 9 to 2 PM, and then your exploring time afterwards.

If your experience is going to be longer than two weeks, think about leaving the first or last week just for having fun, laying around, traveling to contiguous cities, enjoying your time freely and doing non structured Spanish learning activities to tie the fun to the learning experience for your child.

And this brings me to the next point, which I have found to be marvelously helpful and encouraging for my son to learn Spanish.

Grand Finale

This is simply a great trip that you plan ahead and it could be over the weekend or for a full week to a nearby place or places, a historic Monument, or simply have time to relax without any scheduled activities.

Making your Spanish language immersion fun by introducing fun shows for the children

Making your Spanish language immersion fun by introducing shows for the children

When he visited the south of Spain we made sure to have a week of exploring towns like Granada, Córdoba and Málaga. This was exciting, because every day we took the car, saw different routes and ate different foods. You can also fit in beach time since this a favorite pass time for everybody.

Follow these six simple steps and you will be on your way to planning your perfect Spanish language immersion. Also, let me know what you thought about this article by leaving your comments below.

The Best Spanish Immersion Destination for Your Child – 3 Essentials

As you prepare for a yearly Spanish immersion destination for your child I bet a  thousand thoughts are rushing through your mind.

I lived this experience this year when going to Spain:  Is my son going to understand the Spanish of the south of Spain? Is the food going to be as delectable as the food in Latin America? Are the kids in Málaga open and embracing of new cultures?

This year’s Spanish immersion destination is going to be a totally new adventure as we will be traveling to Málaga, Spain. As many of you know, every year we try to incorporate a Spanish learning and reinforcing adventure for our son at the same time we enjoy a different part of the world.

This year my son is going to be attending a camp NOT at all related to learning Spanish, in the town of Rincón de la Victoria in the outskirts of Málaga, in the Costa del Sol.

If you are thinking about starting your own series of Spanish traveling odysseys, feel free to join me as I will be describing our discoveries and giving details of our Spanish immersion in the south of Spain.

Why Choosing Your Spanish Immersion Destination is Key

Today I will be sharing how to choose your destination and why it is key to making the Spanish learning and practicing process a smooth experience.

I found that an ideal Spanish immersion destination for children has three main components:

1-Time Dedicated To Spanish Learning or Practicing

This is what makes a simple visit to a Spanish speaking country different from what I loosely call an immersion.

There should be some dedicated time either to learn or speak Spanish continuously. I would say the right number of hours is at least one third of the day not counting the time your child is asleep.

For example, if you are taking your little one for a week, and she sleeps for 9 hours a day you have at least 15 useful hours in a day. If you spend 5 hours learning or practicing Spanish you will have reached your goal of spending at least one third of each day on language learning.

I developed this “one third rule” after taking my son to at least 4 different immersions in the past 8 years where he experienced different schools, pre-Ks and nursery schools.

2-A Setting Involving Other Children Her Age

This is one of the most exciting parts of the adventure. I discovered that when my son had to interact with adults, he wasn’t as prone to speak in Spanish. It actually made him feel out of place.

The opposite was totally true when interacting with kids his own age. For example, when he wanted to communicate with the cool kid who had the water gun, he had to speak the language no matter what, and so he did.

Kids are clever, flexible creatures, and as a parent you could simply sit back and watch their interactions to realize how resourceful they are when they need to achieve what they are after.

When you place your child in an environment with children her age, she will feel more confident and ready to overcome obstacles that arise.

 3-Recreation and Relaxation As Part of The Package

When I started taking Ian to Spanish immersions I naively thought he was going to sit quietly in the classroom and be happy about the process. After all, it was in another country and with new surroundings, and what’s not to like about that?

Wrong, I was very wrong. The first time I traveled with my son to Colombia I signed him up for a wonderful nursery school called Mañanitas where he was to spend the majority of the day. From 8:30 am to 3:30 pm he was going to enjoy the day doing fun activities with children his age, all in Spanish. We were traveling without Dad that summer and separation anxiety kicked into high gear.

The first week he missed Dad terribly and cried every time I dropped him at Mañanitas where I had to disappear without him noticing. The most discouraging fact was that he didn’t want to participate in the activities the teachers had prepared for the little rascals. He was only 4 years old.

It took him 2 full weeks to start adapting to his surroundings and lifestyle. By the third week, he was much better. It helped that Daddy had arrived! However, there was only one week remaining of the whole adventure and I was left with a bittersweet feeling in my heart.

As a good persistent Colombian I didn’t give up. I saw how much he enjoyed the experience once Dad was with us and we took off discovering and traveling to surrounding towns where Ian could enjoy free time and activities like horseback riding.

Spanish Immersion Destination

Celebrating El Dia de las Velitas in Colombia. My son’s first Spanish immersion adventure.

From this Spanish immersion destination in Colombia I learned a valuable lesson: It is important to pair learning with fun, not the way you see it but the way your child would.

The best part of the Spanish immersions destinations we choose is seeing how feelings of anxiety vanish with the expectation of visiting an exciting water park nearby, the beaches in the area, the zip lining available 45 minutes away or the beautiful palaces ancient personages built many moons ago.

Believe me, I found out the hard way what makes a great Spanish immersion adventure for a child. I could have accidentally killed my son’s love of learning Spanish, but fortunately instead I found a way to intertwine it with my son’s passions and desires. Objectively, what child is going to say no when he knows the experience that awaits him is framed by his most loved activities?

If preparing for your child’s immersion this article about Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica maybe what you are looking for.  G ahead, leave me a comment afterwards.