A young lady that’s planning her move to Merida asked me a simple question the other day …

She said, Cartess…“Knowing what you now know after moving too, and  living in Merida for over a year, what are some things you’d do differently?”

Honestly, I was quite surprised no one asked that question before. I told her I’d make a more in-depth video on this topic soon; but today I’ll mention one thing I’d definitely do differently, based on what I know now!

The #1 thing on my list would have been to …

Immerse Myself into a Local Spanish Class in Merida and Learn How to Speak the Language.

Not only that, I would have forced myself to stay in the class no matter how hard I thought it would be, and continue lessons for at least the 1st 3-months I was here; and then I’d  take more one-on-one Spanish lessons to refine and stack on top of what I learned.

Learning Spanish, or at least learning the basics to communicate your simple wants and needs can be a game-changer for you.

I’ve seen countless people leave Merida (Mexico) due to the frustrations of not being able to talk or understand what’s being said. This can be overwhelming and could be the breaking point for many of you leaving the country.

If you’re moving to Mexico, this very well could be the thing that’ll have you packing your bags and returning back home. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of this. This really is a thing that could spoil your retirement plans altogether!

I met a lady last week who was soooo excited about moving here from the US, but after arriving for an exploratory visit of Merida, she started to doubt if she could really do this.

I totally get it …

When I was in Colombia last year, I almost left to go back to the U.S. myself.

I had to remind myself I’d only been in Colombia less than 3-days and that it’s unreasonable to expect to know what folks were saying … I really had to convince myself to stay.

It’s that serious ya’ll, and you shouldn’t underestimate how overwhelming this can be to your psyche.

My wife cried when she couldn’t order a hamburger at a restaurant … I mean she was balling and boo-hooing like a little baby, lol.

The lady I mentioned a moment ago looked disappointed and doubtful. I could tell her spirit was broken as she struggled to communicate what she wanted to order from the restaurant menu.

When I’m out with clients, I often stay outta the way so they can get a real feel for what’s coming. Sometimes they get mad because they felt like I allowed them to like a fool with their jacked up Spanish, lol; and yes, they did look crazy, lol…

We all do when we first arrive to a foreign land with a foreign tongue, hahaha.

I do this because I don’t want anyone walking away with a false sense thinking this is a walk in the park. It ain’t.

The reality is that learning Spanish will be a game changer for you. When I first arrived in Mexico I kept telling folks you can get by without knowing Spanish (and you can ‘just get-by’) … And that’s all you’ll ever do is ‘get-by’.

However, your quality of life can be greatly enhanced the sooner you learn Spanish.

I’m able to say this now because after being here for nearly 16-months, I see the drastic differences with the little bit of Spanish I now know, versus the limited Spanish I understood when I first arrived.

Yeah, I could do little things here and there … And yeah, I could get by, but my God; there’s an entirely different world that opens to you when you learn this stuff.

There were some hobby classes I wanted to take here, but I couldn’t because I didn’t speak Spanish. The fact of the matter is, we are in Mexico and they speak Spanish here.

It’s going to be difficult to do certain things without knowing the language.Truth is, it sucks standing in line not knowing what the cashier is saying. Depending on the scenario, I can gather and piece together what’s being said when I hear certain words and phrases, but that gets old after a while. 

At some point, it just makes sense to buckle down and learn this language. Once you do, there are many places across Central and Latin America you can visit or live in.Another factor to consider …

If you’re trying to keep your costs/expenses lower, learning Spanish will help you with that too.

For example, when I go to the doctor or need medical services, it actually costs more money to deal with many of these English speaking doctors. I notice they tend to charge much more than many of their local non-English counterparts.

When I go on these apps to find local doctors, I’m able to see their fees on their profile page. And in many cases, the prices are drastically higher for English speaking doctors and professionals.

Because of my inability to speak Spanish, I’m also limited in who I can see. Even the docs who do speak English, they will not treat or have a session with you in English. They’ll say they can only speak and treat you in Spanish when seeing you as a patient (perhaps it’s something they do to limit their liability due to something being misinterpreted).

So at the end of the day, you really limit yourself in the quality of care you can receive when you’re limited to only choosing from a pool of 1-2 English speaking doctors, versus choosing from 50 of them; most of which are probably more qualified.

It’s been fun and comical getting by the first year, but now it’s at a point where it’s important to grasp this thing. It can be learned if one takes the time to learn it.

In many of my YouTube comments, people who are still living in the States will make snarky comments about why I haven’t learned Spanish; and how it’s shameful to not know the language after a year, and blah, blah, blah … 

They say all this while yet, I’m still out here making it work and living my best life!

I’m here putting myself out there to the public to share my ups and downs so others can take or learn from my good and bad experiences.

One of the primary reasons I hadn’t buckled down in learning Spanish is because of ‘Life’. 

Since arriving in Mexico, we’ve had a lot of life changing events happen. Myself, I had an emergency surgery and was in the hospital for 7-days.

Haley required emergency surgery as well; and Haley was also diagnosed with schizophrenia since arriving here, and for the last year, we have been in and out of the hospital for the bulk of our time here for her treatment.

It can become challenging to find the time when you have things going on; and it’s hard for people to understand why when they’re looking from the outside in.

I’ve mentioned this before, it ain’t easy moving to a new country. You don’t just show up and life continues on as before. Not at all.

Now, single folks may have more time on their hands than say a family of 4,5, 6 or 7. A family will have a lot more responsibilities than 1 or 2 people. As parents, we must also keep our kids occupied … Help them with homework (homeschool). Help them assimilate and so on.

It’s not easy starting over… Some days you’ll wonder if this was a good idea. You’ll wonder if you’re messing up your kids, lol … You’ll wonder if there’s something wrong with you!

But that’s all part of the game when you make the decision to Move Abroad and Thrive!

So … if I had to do it all over again… I’d immerse myself completely in learning Spanish from a local school or teacher (in the country you’re living or intend to live in).

While online apps may help a little bit, it won’t be nearly as good as learning from locals with a local tongue … So much gets lost in translation when learning from these apps.

Plus, the apps don’t come close to sounding like the locals you’ll be hearing from once you arrive.

But, there are major benefits to the apps though. You can learn some of the basic stuff, like:

– How to count
– Basic greetings (hola, buenas dias-tardes-noches, como estas, gracias, de nada, a usted, a ti, con gusto, hasta luego, etc)
– How to say your ABCs and sounds

Once things slow down a bit and Haley gets more stable, I’m going to take one of these local Spanish immersion classes. I’m not going to delay it though; for now, I’m gonna start with private one-on-one lessons; I wish I stuck with the one I started with when I first arrived. I’d be so much further along now.

Merida has quite a few Spanish language schools as well… So do your research!

All Spanish is not equal. Don’t be trying to learn Mexican Spanish from a lady from Peru. And don’t be trying to learn Colombian Spanish from a local Mexican.

Words and phrases have different meanings and these subtle differences matter.

If your Spanish is very limited, I highly suggest you learn the basics. Check out this course from Rocket Language … They have a basic level 1 package where you can learn the basics; and any bit you can learn before arriving to Mexico can be a big help to you.

They have language training for all languages. Click here and get a head start. Don’t be like me and arrive clueless. Make your stay more pleasant by planning and learning ahead.

That’s all I have for you today … I’m going to make a video on the other things I’d do differently; so be on the lookout for that.

So tell me … What do you think? I try to keep it real with folks. I don’t want you to make this trip and lose your pants because it all looked like a fairytale dream. No place rarely looks like it does when you’re living in it everyday.

Do your research and plan a visit to see for yourself.

I’m happy to talk and discuss your concerns over the phone … If you’d like to chit-chat, book a telephone consult with me. Book a Telephone Consult – Click Here

I got a few other tutorials/courses if you’re interested:

Need a Remote Job to Support Yourself Abroad? Click Here

How to Find the Ultimate Rental Home in Mexico – Click Here

How to Plan Your Escape & Move Abroad – Click Here

About the Author

Cartess Ross

Hey ... I'm Cartess Ross and I moved abroad to Mexico 16-months ago in an effort get my life back! I needed to cut my expenses by more than 50% so I could save and start planning for retirement. I was able to achieve this without sacrificing my quality of life (in fact, it improved). You can do this too. Check out the free resources on the website and click the 'Academy' link at the top of the page to learn more about planning your escape abroad.

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