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Learn Basic Spanish Before Volunteering In Central America Or Mexico!

Posted by Jen King on 9/10/15 9:28 AM

ILP Mexico

Volunteering in Mexico? Or volunteering in Central America? Use these tips!


If you're an ILP volunteer you're not required to know the language ... but you might want to learn some common Spanish phrases before you arrive, just to help you out a bit. 

Not an ILP volunteer yet? Come fill out an application

If you are an ILP volunteer in Mexico, Costa Rica or Nicaragua, you'll spend around four hours a day playing with young children and speaking to them entirely in English. No Spanish is required! But what about the rest of your day? I have a feeling you'll want to get out and explore your new home around you. Speaking if you learn basic Spanish will help you to have more meaningful experiences while living abroad.

Must know phrases:

Hola = Hello

(Sounds like O-la)

Adios = Goodbye

(Sounds like ah-dee-os)

Gracias = Thank you

(Sounds like grah-see-us)

 ILP Mexico

Useful phrases:

Lo siento = I'm sorry

(Sounds like low-see-en-toe) As a foreigner you'll use this quite a lot as you make mistakes at first and want to apologize, right?

Perdon! = Excuse me

(Sounds like pear-doan) This is similar to lo siento, but you might say it like "excuse me" as you need to pass by someone or to get someone's attention.

Ayudame = Help me

(Sounds like eye-you-duh-may)

Como estas? = How are you?

(Sounds like coh-moh eh-stah-s)

Bien, gracias = Well, thank you

(Sounds like bee-en grah-see-us)

Como te va? = How's it going?

(Sounds like coh moh tay vah) This is a more casual way of asking someone how they are. You'd probably say this around your friends.

Buenos = Good morning/afternoon/evening

(Sounds like b-way-nos) Technically good morning is buenos dias, good afternoon is buenas tardes, and good evening is buenas noches. Most of the locals just shorten the 3 phrases to buenos though and you can say it anytime!

Buen provecho = Enjoy your meal

(Sounds like b-way-n pro-veh-ch-oh) It is polite to say this to someone if you pass by them before they start a meal. You might hear your waiter say this after they serve you. 

ILP Mexico

Here's more tips on learning a new language, but you know the best way to learn a language? Live in another country and immerse yourself in their culture!  Click below to speak to someone and volunteering with ILP — get the chance to have a semester in Mexico and learn Spanish, or go serve abroad in Lithuania and learn Lithuanian .... or even come to Russia to learn Russian

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Topics: Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua

Exploring The World For Over 25 Years

Over the years of assisting more than 6,000 volunteers in their desire to travel and make a difference in the lives of others, ILP has seen what works and what doesn't.

We've gathered our tips here for making your semester abroad a successful one.

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