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Expat Advice: Working in
Mal Pais, Costa Rica
Sep 25, 2018
Mal Pais, Costa Rica
An expat talks about moving to Mal Pais, Costa Rica and finding work while chatting with her future employer on the beach. In Costa Rica, working remotely for a non-Costa Rican company or starting a business are the easiest employment routes.
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?
Most people get a job through word of mouth or a local Facebook groups. This is a tourist area so people work at restaurants or clean homes. It's also a fishing village so people work on the books. There are several people who have local online businesses.
What type of work do you do and how did you find your job?
I am a licensed insurance agent. I help seniors with Medicare and Life insurance. I work with an agency based in the states. I got my job after meeting the young man who owns the agency. One day we were chatting at sunset on the beach. He said I really need help during open enrollment. I said I'm an insurance agent I need a job. It's been 4 months now I enjoy helping seniors, the hours are great and the sunsets even better.
How did you obtain your work permit? What advice would you have for others about work permits?
I don't need a permit because the company is based in America. All the work is online or over the phone. Which is a good way to make a living in paradise.
Have you taken language and cross-cultural training courses to prepare for your assignment? If so, how have they helped you on the job?
I have learned Spanish organically from the locals. I speak English at work.
If you were transferred abroad by your employer, were you guaranteed a job upon repatriation? What type of mentoring programs does your employer offer?
I was not transferred, but I did choose to keep my insurance license which ended up being a good idea, but I never thought I would need it. I was open to opportunities and one showed up. It was fate.
What advice would you offer others about finding jobs and working abroad?
In Costa Rica you cannot work for a local business without the worry of deportation. But you can own a business or work online. Do your research, have a decent savings and have an open mind. You never know who you will meet on the beach at sunset.
More about Mal Pais
Costa Rica is has both public and private healthcare systems. When you become a resident, you must enroll in the public healthcare system (CAJA). Many expats use the public system for routine healthcare and have private expat health insurance for specialists, surgeries and emergencies.
An expat in Mal Pais, Costa Rica provides a detailed culture shock report that offers a great example of someone who has learned to roll with the punches that come with expat life in a somewhat remote location. Covers everything from mosquitoes, to finding products from the local grocer, to getting your laptop repaired. And don't for get about the fruit bats and monkey poop!
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