Costa Rica is the third-smallest country in Central America with just 51,100 km² of territory. It is known for its amazing rainforest and the friendly manner most of us have. Our country is truly wonderful, but an incredible number of people are wishing to live in a foreign country like the United States that has many more work opportunities in information technology. They see this as the way to improve their lifestyle.
I think there’s a much better way.
In 2013 Jim Stewart, the owner of DocuSend, created an office in Costa Rica. Trusting in our talent, he and CTO Fred Morgan give us the opportunity to show our skills in the tech field. I don't want to boast, but we try to stand out in all the work we do.
DOCUSEND BROADENS THE HORIZONS OF COSTA RICAN STUDENTS
Ours is a rural town, far from any airport or city. For IT students here, this means we expect to have to move to the cities to find work in our chosen field, far from our families and all the friends we grew up with. That is quite an emotional upheaval in our culture, where family and community ties are highly valued.
Even during high school, it has been a cause for stress because all seniors must complete an internship with a business before they can graduate, yet there was no tech company in our area to apply to. Students from our high school have had to do their internships at companies that could offer little in the way of hands-on IT work. They did basic tasks like data entry and connecting computer peripherals.
But now DocuSend, a leader in cloud-based mailing technology, as part of its commitment to community support both within and outside the borders of the United States, participates in the local high school internship program. Finally, the IT students in our area have been given the opportunity to really put into practice what they have learned.
I completed my internship with DocuSend, and, in my opinion, working for a foreign company from Costa Rica is the best way to start in the world of work. You can learn a new language without having to pay for a course that may be very expensive. Working with a United States company, I am learning the customs related to the work environment, such as punctuality, dependability and timely communication.
TOUGH BUT FAIR
I asked the other interns, “How do you feel working for a foreign company from here?”
According to one of them, Andrés, "It has been interesting, because you work directly abroad without having to spend money on travel or an apartment; you don't need a passport or work permit, because you work in your own country.” Another of the interns, Alonso, mentioned that DocuSend gave him the opportunity to put into practice the skills he had and that he also learned to handle job pressure. A third intern, Seylin, added, "They are very understanding people; they are firm when making corrections to your work, but it is for your sake."
A significant benefit for me is the flexibility of my schedule, something very difficult to achieve today. This is motivating, because I can devote time to the family working for a company that adjusts to the needs of employees and even encourages telecommuting, thus achieving a stability between work and home.
GROWING IN LEAPS AND BOUNDS—AND LOVING IT!
I’ve been talking a lot about the work environment, but what about the personal part?
For the person like me who wants to learn English as a life goal, working for a US company is the best option without leaving home. You are pressured to learn English, but not in a cruel way; on the contrary, you go at your own pace developing new language skills and new communication strategies—and for free. In a month working, I learned more than I would in three months of an intensive English course.
My lifestyle has also changed.
That sounds radical, but learning to be organized was a very difficult choice for me. When I began to work I was extremely disorganized and restless, but after weeks of correction as an intern, it taught me to be more orderly, not only with my time, but also with my notes, my energy, the tasks assigned and even with my mind, because when you are under pressure, you must be meticulous and organized to avoid losing control of everything.
You know what I mean, right?
Once I got used to consistently working in an orderly way, I started to apply it in my daily life. I was wasting time on the internet, but now I mainly use it for distance learning and to watch a few series, like Chernobyl, Black Sails, Vikings and Black Mirror. As for social media, it has become less important to me—I can take it or leave it.
DOCUSEND CHANGES LIVES
But the biggest difference DocuSend has made is to my family’s life.
Now that I have a good job, I’m happy because I can help my father with the household expenses and I can take better care of my mom, who has worked so hard to provide me with books and school uniforms all these years. Now she doesn’t need to worry about me, just think of her health and that’s all.
One last point is that I have learned to be a customer. By working with people, you learn to be more empathetic; you learn that everyone is extremely pressured and busy; therefore, empathy grows in you and you ask thousands of questions before you treat someone badly, even when you are busy serving many people at the same time. That's something that the experience in this company has taught me—how to relate to clients.
My internship with DocuSend was an interesting and incomparable experience; I met incredible people and adopted a different lifestyle, all while training professionally.