A common misconception about the people of Costa Rica is that everyone knows English. While most high school students learn some English, most do not continue studying the language. As in so many countries, English is important to advancing into higher-paying jobs. The tourism industry in Costa Rica is crucial and it relies on tourism from North America and Europe to sustain its economy.
A quick ride in an Uber will reveal the need. Some can speak English via watching movies or listening to music from the USA. Others need more formal training. Some know absolutely no English. Others know some but want to better their conversation. There is a great need and desire on the part of Costa Ricans to learn English to help them with job opportunities and communication with North Americans.
The Church of the Nazarene is growing in Costa Rica and the leadership is strong and capable. Most retreats, conferences, and training sessions, are provided in Spanish. However, the Mesoamerica Region has areas that are English-speaking. Additionally, global leadership for the Church of the Nazarene speaks English predominantly. While this is changing, thankfully, Nazarene pastors and leaders in Costa Rica have come to realize the benefit of learning English. A great example of this need comes via work and witness. When teams come to visit, there is a reliance upon translators to communicate between our Tico (endearing name for Costa Ricans) congregations and North America work teams. How wonderful it would be if our church pastors and leaders in Costa Rica could better their English (while North American teams better their Spanish through CALL as well!).
As coordinator of the CALL program, I have begun keeping a list of Uber drivers who really want to know English. Uber drivers come from a variety of countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Many have education and experience, but they lack knowledge of English. As Costa Rica continues to attract North American companies and as the country continues to grow its tourism sector, English is a valuable skill.
By learning Spanish through the CALL program, a portion of your hourly fee will go toward scholarships to help Costa Ricans, from pastors to Uber drivers, learn English.