On leaving Germany and moving to Costa Rica, and then to Ecuador

Comments, compliments... no complaints, with the exception of mosquitoes, but that's biodiversity for you! :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

What I'm doing in Costa Rica and how I got here...

I was in Germany, about to get a semester off in order to be able to write my dissertation when the German university I had been doing my PhD with got a visitor. Since I speak Spanish, I was asked to take him on a little city tour. So, I did. He was the dean of an important Latin American university we had an exchange agreement with. I guess out of politeness, he asked during our tour what my dissertation was on and when I told him he got really excited. He said his university had all the experts on the subject, and I should consider finishing my dissertation there.

By the way, my dissertation is (loosely) about consumer behavior in poor countries.

All I remembered about this university was what my boss had told me: it's in the middle of the jungle and it costs $40 to get in and out of there by taxi (and there's no other way). So I politely said thank you (but was not really considering it). A little bit later, one of the exchange students we had from that school came into my office and I told her her school had invited me...and she got really excited and said: And you're going, right? And I said, no, unfortunately I don't have that kind of budget ($40 each way is a lot anywhere in this world!). She explained to me that it was not like that...that it's a lot cheaper to get out...that it's an opportunity I shouldn't miss...etc. She also said I would probably get a lot of support from the university because they were extremely student-oriented and that research was extremely encouraged. I'm not saying I didn't get this kind of support in Germany, but after that conversation, I started researching this university and discovered that she was right! I shouldn't pass up this opportunity...they really have the experts here! Wrapping up my story: I called the dean (it was really hard to find him as he's an extremely busy person) and told him I'd like to finish my dissertation here...could I do it. Well, he said yes, and here I am :)

And I soon discovered that everything else she said was true! It's a great place to work...if you've been reading my previous posts you already know how easy everything is over here, how beautiful, if I didn't have these two jobs to do (school project and dissertation) I'd feel like I was on permanent vacation!

Right now I'm working mornings for the school (otherwise I couldn't pay my rent and food) and I work on my dissertation in the afternoon, which is great because I can leave everything there, have dinner, and go back until 9:45 pm, which is when the library closes. I have to say, in that respect we had more support at the German school...library never closes there! I have reserved a corner in the library and spend there all afternoons and evenings. They're such a helpful bunch there (it makes up for the lack of long hours, plus, I don't think I'd like to spend the nights there), I really hope I can stay until I'm all done!


David said...

Marcela, What a treat your site is to visit and to hear your stories. Where can we see more of what your Phd dissertation is all about?

David Culver, Jicaral, Puntarenas Costa Rica

Costa Rica whitewater rafting said...

Another convert! I just read about Costa Rica and I totally love to go there.