Do I Have To Learn Spanish to Live Well at Lake Chapala ?

February 13, 2013

Hi Everyone,
Learning to speak a new language takes time and as we retirees age even more than a little motivation.
It’s easy to get by at Lake Chapala without being able to speak much Spanish. So, please do not let that stop you from coming to our area. Many local people speak English. Especailly the key people like your doctor,  your dentist, your lawyer, your immigration specialist, and many of the shop keepers mechanics, and trades people.
But that being said, I believe you should at least get to advanced survival mode. You will feel better about yourself, you will save money and gain respect as well. A triple payoff.
I know people who have lived in the area a long, long time and still only can say a few words in Spanish and tat OK, and I’m never one to tell people how to best live there life here or anywhere.
While it's true that people could get by here without ever learning to speak and understand Spanish, I think these folks are missing out on a lot.
There have been several situations where My basic ability n Spanish has been a big help. It just makes a great life and lifestyle even better.
As a former policeman I like to feel in control of things. A hazard of my training that kept me alive at times.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to control you or anyone else for that matter. I just want to feel in control of my own life and actions.
My Spanish, as limited as it is, helps me do this.
The key is perseverance. We all learned our native language and English is one of the most difficult languages on the planet to learn. We just little by little start with words then string them together to make ourselves understood.
Practice, practice, repetition and more practice has been best for me, but I don’t make it a chore.Here at Lakeside we have many options to understand, learn, and improve our Spanish.
Today I continue to improve my Spanish, I watch and listen to Spanish TV and radio, and I make it a practice to speak to waiters and others in Spanish. Practice might make perfect.
Like most of us here on the north shore of Lake Chapala, I began to study Spanish at the Lake Chapala Society and while I learned some basics that helped me later, a couple hours per week were not enough to become a good speaker, which was my primary goal.
I began with the LCS introductory classes held in the gazebo surrounded by lush gardens.
It was an excellent way to begin the basics. All the LCS Spanish classes are structured and the instructors work hard to accommodate the student's needs.
There are also a series of relaxed Spanish classes with nearly private instruction held at the American Legion in Chapala. Classes there are held on the patio, near the Post's Restaurant where you can practice your Spanish with the Bilingual waiter.
American Legion Post #7
Morelos #114, Chapala
For the really serious student of Spanish I would refer you to  the University of Guadalajara, often referred to as the Stanford of Mexico The Spanish Immersion school was begun in 1948 to help foreigners learn Spanish and the Culture of Mexico.
Another option is a newly established school here at Lake Chapala called  Culturlingua  located on the second floor of Bugambilias Mall in Ajijic.
So, the answer to the headline question is "NO, you don't have to learn Spanish to Live Well at Lake Chapala."But, your life here will be even more rewarding if you do. You get to choose.
Siempre tu amigo, Sid
  • Mlindsay

    Put it this way. Do you expect immigrants to speak English in your country?
    I rest my case.

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