Feeling the need to connect with fellow Costa Ricans in her adopted home of New York, 25 year Carol Guzowski, quickly realized that there was a surprising void to fill in the diverse city called New York — the collective presence of the Costa Rican community.
So she did what any ambitious millennial would do and used social media to make connections and build her professional network via Linkedin — and she was selective in the process.
Guzowski points out that she started was out of something “egocentric” to expand her personal contacts, is now a Costa Rican-only membership for solid group of Costa Rican professionals who share the same mission – “to build a strong community of successful, professional and well-connected Costa Ricans and become the ‘go-to’ community for new or existing Costa Rican professionals and entrepreneurs in the area.”
Today, the Costa Rican Networking Group’s NYC chapter has grown to 160 members. In 2015, Guzowksi hopes to open chapters in Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., South Florida and San Jose, Costa Rica.
“The New York chapter is a blueprint for all the other cities,” Guzowski said.
The group also caught the attention of President Luis Guillermo Solís in June while in New York on official Costa Rica business, insisting that on a visit with the group, staying three hours and taking selfies with everyone.
“Being a Costa Rican for me is like being a citizen of the world … It makes me feel like I am accessible. Costa Ricans are the biggest advocates of their country,” Guzowski told Latin Post. “The country is really easy to brag about; it sells itself. We just need ambassadors talking about it. We just need people to put it on the map.”
While every country has its problems, Guzowski points out that education is key when it comes to teaching Costa Rica’s citizens the importance that the turtles have to the ecosystem as a whole.
Like the United States, Costa Rica has a lot of cultural diversity yet its doesn’t have a lot of indigenous people, Guzowski points out. She identifies herself as a Jewish Costa Rican. Before World War II, her Polish grandparents sought refuge in Costa Rica, which she says welcomed them with open arms. Her maternal grandmother is an American from New Jersey who met and married her grandfather, and they lived Costa Rica.
“My grandfather destroyed his passport; he was so mad; he never spoke Polish once more in his life,” Guzowski explained. “Once they got to Costa Rica, they really adored and embraced Costa Rica…I am so connected to the country even though my heritage comes from Poland.”
Guzowski moved to the U.S. at age 13 and attended boarding school in Virginia, where she received a well-rounded American experience. She returned to Costa Rica to finish high school. Upon graduation, she decided to go back to the U.S. and study at Simmons College in Boston, where she found a diverse community, including Costa Ricans and Latin Jews. Guzowski points out that she was able to connect with about 20 Costa Ricans at the time.
Whether she’s in Boston or New York City, Guzowski recognizes that there really is no place like home.
Source: Latin Post