Header - Elaine Potoker, PH.D. Loeb Sullivan School of Intl. Business and Logistics
A View of the Pasantías (Stays) with my Colegas Ticos, by Elaine S. Potoker, Ph.D.

Highlights: October 1 – 12

Among the noteworthy events in this time period…

~Oct. 7: TLC (or DR-CAFTA as we know it) passes!! BUT, by a very slim margin. It was a privilege to be here while the process was taking place; I felt a sort of kinship, as it was a democratic process I understood. No propaganda was allowed all day Sunday nor the day before. I’ve decided not to discuss this issue and the political ramifications in the blog, but expect to have the opportunity to do so in charlas (talks) when I get back.

~ Oct. 8: I was invited to present a talk on the subject of globalization to students and faculty in the Humanities. In the question and answer period that followed, I was asked to comment on U.S. foreign policy, the Bush administration, and more. I wasn’t expecting that, but I was prepared! Talking about one’s home country in a foreign country from a standpoint of neutrality is quite the challenge. I always begin by saying that in a country of over 300,000,000 people, no one is a representative voice for all. Stereotypical views of the US is another charla that I expect to do when I am back home. The value of the Fulbright, in my view, is that it is an opportunity to present perspectives that are not presented in the news and (hopefully) foster improved understanding between nations and cultures.

~ Oct. 9: Dos Pinos (Cooperatora de Productores de Leche Dos Pinos, in Alajuela). Visited the largest producer of lactose products in Costa Rica and among the top exporters in the region. The facilities occupy about 25 hectares of land (1 hectare is 10,000 sq. meters & 1 meter is 3.28 ft). So do the math to appreciate how big this place is! Its products, from personal experience, are yummy–The bests yogurt I’ve ever eaten, excellent cheeses, and my favorite ice cream pop is their chocolate with coffee ice cream inside. I met with the Director of International Marketing and the Director of Logistics for the purposes of my Fulbright research. This was a very valuable interview.

~ Oct. 11: Intel (Latin American corporate office, in Heredia). By now certain themes regarding logistics and more are being validated across industries. This means I am ready to start writing research results.

[Oh, about the interview transcripts…I am hiring work study students from
the Institute to type them. So I am up to date. All I need to do is read
through them all and color code for prevailing themes. Lots to do…]

I interviewed 2 individuals: the Logistics Manager and Special Projects (Logistics) involved in all areas excepting raw materials inbound. High security was experienced here going in and going out, and no tape recording or photos were allowed. It’s understandable.

I stayed in Heredia that evening and took the opportunity to visit some friends of friends and eat gallo pinto (see “Food“), and torta chilena (a yummy, sweet, filo dough type layered dessert with caramel between the layers.) Of course, Costa Rican coffee accompanied the dessert. By now I’ve given up on decaffeinated and have succumbed to drinking the real thing because it is so rico.

~Oct. 12: Al Gore receives the Nobel Prize. That felt good for many reasons.