Posted by: Idioma Extra | January 24, 2011

Tuesday´s News

“Ask Not What Costa Rica Can Do For You – Ask What You Can Do For Costa Rica”


Reading the title of this article evokes memories of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech 50 years this month, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

Many of us have chosen to live in Costa Rica because of the good weather, the country’s natural beauty, friendly people, pura vida lifestyle and so much more. Retirees and other guests living in Costa Rica can show their gratitude by giving something back to country in exchange for the privilege and all of the amenities of living here.

Here are some suggestions:

(1) Take part in a program like the Community Conversation Program whereby English-speaking retirees dedicate a couple of hours a week to speaking English with Costa Ricans. Here is what one retiree said about the program, “The Costa Ricans who come along are just so grateful to have someone to practice their English with that it makes you so happy to help. I have made so many new friends and learned so much about different people from doing this.”

(2) Take part in an animal rescue group that helps find homes for street dogs. One couple I know spends their time and money getting dogs spayed in an effort to cut down on the number homeless dogs in the future.

(3) One retiree I know from Central Florida spends his time donating computers to schools and helping students learn how to use them.

(4) Donate clothes, furniture and other items you have no need for to locals who can use them.

(5) Cultivate friendships with the locals. Ticos make wonderful friends. Knowing the language can really tighten the bond.

(6) Create a source of employment by hiring Costa Ricans whether it is as a maid, gardener or another type of work.

(7) Donate to the people from “Hogares Crea” or other organizations which helps former drug addicts turn their lives around. You have seen these people at intersections and on buses with their bright yellow t-shirts and canisters asking for small contributions. The Costa Rican government doesn’t have the resources to support these groups, so they depend solely on donations.

(8) Buy local handicrafts and souvenirs.

(9) I know an American dentist who has done a tremendous amount of volunteer work helping Costa Rica’s indigenous groups.

(10) There are also volunteer medical and religious missions where one can help. One organization even builds homes for less-fortunate Costa Ricans in poorer neighborhoods.

I am sure there are many other opportunities to give something back to Costa Rica in a variety of ways. The important thing is to demonstrate one’s gratitude for being able to live in such a wonderful spot on Earth and generosity is one way of doing it.

Word of the Day

gen·er·ous: \ˈjen-rəs, ˈje-nə-\
Origin: Middle French or Latin; Middle French genereus, from Latin generosus, from gener-, genus
First Known Use: 1583
1 archaic : highborn
2a : characterized by a noble or forbearing spirit :magnanimous, kindly b: liberal in giving: openhanded c: marked by abundance or ample proportions: copious <a thin salt-and-pepper moustache interrupted by a generousnose — Richard Zabel>
— gen·er·ous·ly adverb
— gen·er·ous·ness noun

More Vocabulary

Canister: n. an often cylindrical container for holding a usually specified object or substance
Cultivate: v.
make friends with
Evoke: v.
to bring to mind or recollection
Inaugural: adj.
happening as part of an official ceremony or celebration when someone (such as a newly elected official) begins an important job
Retiree: n.
a person who has retired from a working or professional career
Solely: adv.
without anything or anyone else involved
Spay: v.
to remove the ovaries and uterus of (a female animal)

Love those Phrasal Verbs

Cut down on: to lessen

  • The memo which came down from Management said that we must all try to cut down on the use of the photocopier. It is really a waste of paper if we can save all the documents on the server.

Below are some common phrases used when speaking on the phone in English. To learn more, consider Idioma Internacional’s AFD 550 Telephoning and Business Communication Course!

Responses to ¨how¨questions:

Very well, thanks for asking.
No so bad.
Not so well, I´m afraid.

Responding to news:

I´m happy to hear that. / I´m sorry to hear that.



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