Monday 29 May 2023

Why do many millennials yearn to leave Costa Rica?

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Tania Cordero is 25, from Cartago and a month ago she returned from London, England, where she stayed for a year, two periods of six months each.

Costa Rican Tania Cordero returned to the country a month ago, after being in London as a nanny.

She is passionate about the possibility of living outside Costa Rica, although she loves the country where she and her family were born.

It is not difficult for Tania to explain the reasons that feed that desire, especially now that she had the experience of being somewhere else.

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“It is a lifestyle. I love Costa Rica, it’s beautiful, I boasted of my country every day in England, but one of the things I miss is public transport, here I have to spend an hour and a half and there, to travel that same distance, it was 30 minutes.

Tania Cordero tiene entre sus planes volverse a ir de Costa Rica, principalmente a Londres.

“I feel that there you have to work a lot, but you get a lot, the quality of life, because although there are so many taxes, they are reflected in quality of life. That makes me want to return,” Tania told Jairo Villegas of La Nacion.

In order to live outside for a time, Tania enrolled in a babysitter program. She went to live with a London family and took care of three children, aged 3, 10 and 11, although not full time. Her job was to be like an older sister.

“We had breakfast together, I helped them get ready for school and sometimes I took them. The baby sometimes went to daycare. In the evening we all had dinner and went out to a park. The families do it because the nannies are very expensive, instead, they give us an allowance to go out on the weekend. For me it was good because I could learn English,” she described.

Tania confesses that before going abroad, she felt stagnant in Costa Rica, to the point of ending the two university careers she was enrolled in Philosophy and Statistics, at the University of Costa Rica (UCR).

Tania’s longing is to go back, not as a babysitter, but to live abroad.

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“If you don’t experience it, you don’t know the good experience it is; Open your mind, the people you meet, people from all over the world. It was my first time in Europe,” she says.

Estefanía Valverde is also 25 and lives in Moravia. She and Tania don’t know each other, but they have something in common; This young woman who studies Psychology at the National University and Social Work at the UCR also has among her plans to leave Costa Rica, to study or work abroad.

Estefanía Valverde on a trip she made to Chicago. She hopes to get a scholarship to go to another country after finishing her university degree in Costa Rica.

“I am very interested in having the experience of living in another country and knowing other cultures. I’m waiting to finish my studies to start finding out about scholarships and other options,” says Estefanía, who considers that the experience of traveling helps in the growth of each person. Among her preferred countries to live abroad are Mexico, Chile, and Colombia.

“Conversing with other millennials for this report, I can summarize that several want to leave because they want to get to know other countries and mix with their cultures, in Costa Rica they feel insecure, especially during the nights, the Tico public transport system overwhelms them, because of the long hours for any small tour … anyway, they long for that freedom to leave without worrying about an assault, learn from others and share with people of other nationalities. At all times they express their love for our country,” writes Villegas.

Estefanía Valverde in Tepoztlán, Mexico. That is one of the countries that would like to go to live, as well as Chile and Colombia.
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Cristina Cubero, Director of Consulting at Deloitte and a specialist on the subject, leading studies by her firm told Villegas in an interview, “Millennials do not leave a country, they travel, seeking to broaden their vision of reality and with it maximize the sense of diversity.”

What are millennials? How old are they now?

Millennials, also known as Generation Y (or simply Gen Y), are the demographic cohort following Generation X and preceding Generation Z. Researchers and popular media use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years, with 1981 to 1996 a widely accepted definition.

Therefore, the millennial generation is in 2020, between 26 and 37 years of age.

They are identified under a series of common features in their profiles, beliefs, and values, a product of the socio-economic and political context in which they are born and have socialized.

Cristina Cubero is the director of Consulting at Deloitte, a specialist in the millennial issue.

Why among their aspirations is going to another country?

Fully digitally interconnected, but also reaching physical mobility, for millenials the world becomes its city and limited to a country is not viable, it is reductionist.

Traveling is also a maximum expression of cultural openness and diversity. Living or knowing only one country seems to them to be a limited, reduced vision of reality and creates a disadvantage for them.

Many Generation X have a hard time tearing down those geographical walls that impact from relationships to business dynamics. The thought of the new generations, on the other hand, functions as a network, open and connected, “in line” with the entire world.

The Internet has also made it easier for millennials to make plans to travel. New apps and websites are frequently being released to make planning trips large and small, easier every day. Millennials can compare pricing of lodging online, set an alert to find the best flights, and then quickly and easily make the decision to purchase.

For millennials, leaving everything behind and going off to live abroad has a certain allure to it. Besides all the obvious reasons like a better job market, quality of life, and for some, better politics, moving abroad can be an incredibly exciting experience for those who decide to take the plunge.

Deloitte’s specific study of millennials for 2019 found that it is an “interrupted” generation, but in relation to the traditional goals of studying, getting married, having a home and children, because those are not their priorities. Those pillars under which a “life” is built have been torn down and it is not the current logic.

63% of young people in Latin America placed “traveling and knowing the world” as their first priority. Having a child, for example, does not reach the list of the five priorities.

The young people of Latin America value more than anything in life going out, knowing and connecting with their world … and showing others that world, on Instagram.

It is important that “traveling” for a millennial has its own meaning. For them, the concept goes far beyond “vacationing” or “being able to leave the country”, it is a way of learning and growing.

Travel “experiences” have a higher value than the purchase of “goods”, so it is much more important to travel than buying a house. The trip generates learning for them, the house could represent, according to their perceptions, “high long-term debt and a barrier to mobility”.

Therefore, young people, for the most part, work to travel and get to know the world. Many of them condition to start or continue a job in response to the flexibility that they are given to achieve it.

Money is effectively an obstacle that in many cases they try to solve with economic travel options, alternatives offered by digital platforms and, in general, they are redesigning the way to buy and live a trip.

If for the X generation it meant vacationing under certain comforts, for the Y it means connecting with the native way of life, seeing the real dynamics of each country their customs, and not the facade built for the tourist.

If you can select between two routes, one for the tourist and one for the local, the millennial will select the local route. They really want to know the culture, what they eat, what they work on, how they live …


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Q Costa Rica
Reports by QCR staff

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