Importing America to Costa Rica

Submitted by Laura Choquette on the 2016 winter session program in Costa Rica sponsored by the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures…

My first few days in Costa Rica were very shocking. There were many things that took me by surprise. I expected everything to be in Spanish: the billboards, the products and restaurants. A lot of billboards are advertising American products in English. Products in my host family’s house are all in English. For example, the peanut butter and the ketchup are Heinz and Planters brands that we have in the United States. In Costa Rica, there are a lot of American chain restaurants around. I noticed about two or three McDonald’s when just traveling ten minutes. I’ve seen KFC’s, a Cosi, a Hooters, a Popeyes, a Chile’s and many more. Many of those restaurant buildings even look more modern then they do at home.

The products all being in English surprised me the most because I didn’t realize how much had to be imported into the country. It is unclear to me if Ticos and Ticas can understand what the bottle says if they don’t understand any English. I went to the pharmacy to buy aloe and it was hard to communicate what I wanted to buy, even though the bottle says aloe on it, the cashier couldn’t understand the word.

Soap Laura Choquette 16W Costa Rica DLLC sm