Starting an internship is always nerve-wracking—similar to the feeling of a first day at school or tightening the tie for that first sign-in at a new job. Unsure what to expect, with a fear of the worst and a hope for the best, standing outside St. Jude Medical on Monday was an exercise in emotional self-control. Butterflies evolved into pinball spheres rocketing around my stomach. Ding ding ding ding.

Now, a week into my job, I can say with confidence that most of my worries were unwarranted. I wish I could tell you what I expected to find at St. Jude Medical in Costa Rica, having worked in the Medical Industry for two previous internships, but I honestly wasn’t sure. I knew that the manufacturing process and R&D (research and design) couldn’t be all that different from the USA since many of these products are shipped overseas and to the States anyway. I knew what medical devices were primarily manufactured in Costa Rica. I even knew that at least a few people on my team would know some English. What I didn’t know, and what I wasn’t sure what to expect, was how the culture of the company would be.

Culture in a company is kind of a funny thing and hard to nail down with words. I’m not sure if it’s just the inadequacy of the human language or simply my own inability to find the right words. It goes too deep into human nature, work ethic, behavior, comradery, enthusiasm, needs and learnings for me to try and communicate. What I can say about what I’ve seen at St. Jude Medical so far—and perhaps I’m speaking too soon, it is only the first week after all—is that I enjoy this work place.

Perhaps all that needs be said is this:

French. Toast. Party.

I got lucky enough to be put on the team that had a French Toast Party. How sweet is that?

Get it? Sweet. Ha. Hilarious, I know.

But back to the point, I think this will be a good summer. There will be challenges. Being in a country where the language is foreign (relatively anyway, I can get by with simply conversation spoken slowly) isn’t easy by any stretch but I like my team and I like my projects and I’m going to make the most of it. Perhaps in another blog I’ll go into my projects and the workplace a bit more but for now: Pura Vida!

And eat french toast. It’s vital to mental, spiritual, emotional and physical (maybe not that) health.

‘til next time,

Jeannette Nelson

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