What originally inspired you to intern in Costa Rica with Adelante Abroad?
Estevan: Well, what originally inspired me may not be the most 'inspiring' thing per say; I had to fulfill a graduation requirement to graduate from San Diego State with an International Business Degree, emphasis in Spanish and Latin America/Marketing. I did however always have a desire to want to travel in Latin America; finding this internship (and studying international business) helped me fulfill that desire. I opted to kill two birds with one stone for my graduation requirement by doing my internship abroad for a span of 250 hours. I had never traveled alone, and really went out on a limb by picking Costa Rica, simply because I had always heard good things and because it was winter in South America. I can say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made and Costa Rica will always hold a place in my heart.
Describe your day to day activities as an intern in Costa Rica.
Estevan: My day to day activities as an intern included a lot of typical intern duties; answering phones, doing market research online, greeting customers, learning and stocking products, and aiding in the delivery of products. One of the more important aspects of the internship for me was the language, none of my co-workers spoke English (except the owner) very well and so the entire experience was in Spanish. I went from having extremely rusty Spanish (I was raised speaking it but seldom used it outside the house) to returning to near fluency in a matter of weeks.
One of the great things about the internship is that my boss understood that I was not only there to learn but also to have fun, so he was very lenient and would allow me to make my own schedule. One thing I really loved to do was to deliver orders with the driver/logistics guy Don Minor. I got to see how they had their own distribution system and how they interacted with customers, all while getting to see almost all of San Jose (and even a few neighboring cities). I also accompanied my boss to customs to see how he imported products and how the process worked.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Estevan: How has this impacted my future? This experience has greatly impacted my future; I fulfilled my graduation requirement and graduated with a BA in International Business which is the first step to establishing a career in the real world. This internship is also something that stands out on my resume and may have given me that edge over my peers; I believe that it helped me land a job immediately after graduation and has opened the door for more opportunities down the line (I am currently working full-time as a manager trainee).
I also can assure you that this experience has made the biggest impact on my personal life. I learned so much and grew so much as a person in those 3 months; I left behind a lot of things that were holding back and moved on to bigger and better things. It opened my mind tremendously and made me realize what my priorities in life should be. It also has given me the travel bug and the yearning to continue to travel; I have been to Europe, am currently planning a trip to Thailand, and will be searching for an MBA program that has a minimum of a year study abroad, so I can do it all over again.
I made so many new friends (especially my host family and internship family whom I consider like relatives for life), and experienced so many amazing things, I cannot even begin to scratch the surface. If you are considering taking part in such an endeavor, keep an open mind and you will never regret your decision. PURA VIDA!!!!!!!