Column: Prosper student discusses impact of language and culture

A look into the traditions of Costa Rica
Looking out into the ocean with her sister, junior Anisha Mandem enjoys the scenic views of Costa Rica. This was such an amazing experience, not only because of the views, but because of the amazing culture and language I got to experience, Mandem said. I would love to go back in the future.
Looking out into the ocean with her sister, junior Anisha Mandem enjoys the scenic views of Costa Rica. “This was such an amazing experience, not only because of the views, but because of the amazing culture and language I got to experience,” Mandem said. “I would love to go back in the future.”
Anisha Mandem

Costa Rica, with a bountiful amount of vegetation, rugged terrain, and beaches, is one on the most biodiverse countries in North America and even the world. However, as my family and I drove through the cities of La Fortuna, Liberia, and San Jose, the rich culture and tradition presented at every turn impacted me the most.

I tried new cuisine and learned new facts from the locals every day. From the traditional food of Gallo Pinto to the wildlife, including the many sloths and birds in the forests, I gained so much knowledge. The events that I really remember vividly, though, were when I got to speak with the locals. As a student who has been taking Spanish for more than four years, being immersed in an environment where everyone spoke the language really allowed me to understand the foundations of the Hispanic culture – something I couldn’t get in a classroom. The ability to communicate with a completely new demographic and understand their views, which could be completely different from mine, exists as something only language can provide.

Concepts of age, race, and religion were forgone, and I saw others for who they were without any preconceived assumptions. I felt the impact my conversations had on the locals. As soon as I mentioned I spoke a little Spanish, their faces instantly lit up, and they immediately started asking my name, where I was from, and where I had learned the language.

This experience will continue to be one that I look back on, especially as I’m continuing my journey of improving my Spanish and even learning new languages. I hope to visit Costa Rica again in the future.

 

 

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About the Contributor
Anisha Mandem, Assistant Editor
Anisha is a junior, and this is her third year on ENO. She is currently an Assistant Editor and the Editorial Section Editor. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, she moved to Texas at the end of 2021 and works for the newspaper as a writer and a videographer. She is also the founder and president of the non-profit NeuroNext Foundation, the PHS Model UN team, and is a part of SNHS. Outside of school, she enjoys playing the piano, running, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
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