OK Vayamos

Hola! Antes de empezar, recomiendo que escuchen al nuevo álbum de Taylor Swift. Me encanta. I am starting my final week here in Costa Rica. I have very mixed emotions about leaving this beautiful country. I’m excited to see my family and friends, but I will definitely miss the people I have met along my journey here.

My week has been pretty quiet so far. I have learnt so much in the clinic. Dra. Gabi is so wise and such a good teacher. Today she left for a family vacation at Disney, so I had to say my goodbyes to her and her family today– it was very bittersweet. Before she left, we went to a store that sells helado de la sorbetera. I have had a lot of ice cream in my life, but I think this ice cream is undoubtedly the best I have every had. I am forcing myself to get one more cup before I leave.

For this blog, I have been asked to talk about cultural dimensions. We learned about various dimensions that vary from different places. For this post I will be focusing on two.

The first is the attitude toward time. The scale for this dimension ranges from past focused to future focused. I would say that Costa Rica appreciates a more past focused attitude. In my experience, almost every conversation I have witnessed starts with questions or engagement in the past. The value for tradition is very deep. People will spend a majority of their time checking in on past things. How is your grandmother who got sick the other month? How is your sister who just had the baby? And when introducing oneself, the conversation revolves around ones past as well, explaining where your family came from; listing out your family tree; talking about your own past. Individuals here use the shared past to form bonds in the present.

From my experience in the US, people tend to be more future oriented. Questions like “What are you doing this summer for work?” or “what are you going to do after college?” reflect the desire to look toward the future that is very common in the US.

I am not exactly sure the last dimension that this difference falls under so I am going to say it is under the umbrella of Indulgence and restraint and collectivism vs. individualism. This difference relates to the directness of conversation. In Costa Rica, if someone is trying to criticize or make a comment on anything, they will speak around the point of directly addressing the problem or concern. People will say everything except a direct call out. In the US, I am more accustomed to a very direct sense of speech, especially in bigger cities. But I think that the US is starting to develop an appreciation for a mix between these tones. People value not being called out in a non- harsh way and positive reinforcement.

Hasta la proxima!