This was basically a settling-in period for me: e.g., unpacking, trying out the bus route to the University (about 10 minutes and 28 cents, or 145 colones), meeting colleagues, finding groceries, and more. As I’ve always valued Rotary Club contacts in business and other travels, I had already contacted several club presidents before I left. I cannot express how wonderful and hospitable these folks have been for explaining cultural, food and other issues important to life here.
U.S. brands are definitely visible here…some in more places than others. As example, the Hipermás here is really a Super Walmart and resembles the layout in the U.S. Another acquisition by Walmart is a grocery chain called, Más por Menos (More for Less). One is about a 3-4 km. walk from my apt. Taco Bell, Quiznos, McDonalds–you name it; they are all here.
I team teach once per week in a 3-1-2 hr. class with Professor Gustavo Bado–my email “pen pal” contact before arriving and hospitable colleague in the Department of Business Administration. The course is similar to our MA401 as its focus is Strategic Management. It is a fourth year undergraduate course requirement. There are 35 students in the class. I enjoyed the first session immensely, discovering what I’ve always believed… . i.e., that we often look for differences between peoples vs. the universals. These students expressed the same hopes and dreams as our MMA students when asked what their expectations were of the course. Another universal: They also enjoy complaining when given the opportunity. Two things (among many) that I found interesting: a) These students do not have a “coop” experience before graduating. (They wish they had.) b) Professors receive the grade point average of each student in the class on their class lists. I don’t believe we could do that in our country for reasons of privacy. This is the first time I have taught an area of interest and specialization in Spanish. I am quite excited about the opportunities that lie ahead of me.