Friendships reported to be a major hurdle for expats

A San José retailer who does business with expats who are leaving the country said Monday that the cost of living is tops on the list. But in second place is the difficulty in finding friends, particularly among Costa Ricans.

The concern about friendships and establishing social bonds also has been addressed by other expats in emails to A.M. Costa Rica. The newspaper discussed the issue last week in its retirement title, Retire NOW in Costa Rica.

The thrust of the discussion was a summary of organizations where new expats could begin friendships.

The retailer also said that he is hearing fewer persons speak English in the streets.

That is consistent with other views that say expats have to learn basic Spanish if they are to enjoy a full life here.

Although the government brags that most high school grads speak English, that is about as true as saying U.S. secondary school students are competent in another language.

Even some Costa Rican language teachers are challenged in English.

There is not much that individual expats can do about the cost of living. The government pretty well has itself boxed in with subsidized food products, a 13 percent sales tax, Christmas bonuses and a 10 percent mandatory tip on restaurant meals.

A.M. Costa Rica's retirement title addressed the question of forming friendships last week.

A.M. Costa Rica’s retirement title addressed the question of forming friendships last week.

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