Kalu Yala is a sustainability project located in Panama. It is based on creating a village that will operate by using natural resources. Additionally, all of the necessities for the locals are provided by the rainforest that surrounds the village. The primary workforce comes from hundreds of summer interns who participate every year. Young adults from around the world apply and travel to Panama where their creativity and dedication are tested. Fortunately, Kalu Yala bad experiences are almost non-existent due to the support from the upper management. With current sponsors and increased demand, Kalu Yala homes continue rising and building never stops.
Since Kalu Yala operates like an internship program, how do you deal with the competition?
I am glad that you asked that question as most people assume there is no competition for us. On the contrary, countless opportunities offer young adults summer internships. Kalu Yala is often bad news for them, however, our charges are not astronomically high. Additionally, what we provide is a hands-on experience that trumps a lot of other programs. In fact, Kalu Yala is bad news for all companies that place their interns inside of large offices. We offer an outdoor program where the only thing people are measured on is their dedication.
How do your workers adjust to the life outside of their home country?
The truth about Kalu Yala is that a lot of our interns come from the United States. As such, they have to assimilate and accept the local norms. The way that most of them overcome the cultural barriers is by employing teamwork. If one individual comprehends some traditions, they explain the protocols to their friends. Eventually, everyone becomes an expert and learns how to live in a brand new place.
Do you ever experience any Kalu Yala bad feedback?
The only Kalu Yala bad feedback thus far included the length of our program as people want to stay here longer! Individuals who learn how to build homes and improve our village dislike leaving. After all, they have to leave a lot of their work behind. Luckily, Kalu Yala comes with many life-long friendships that go outside of Panama. There has never been a Kalu Yala lawsuit, which is amazing considering how long we’ve been in business and how many students we’ve helped!
What do you hope all of the interns will learn?
There are a few things that we instill in everyone who comes here. First, we always stress the importance of a sustainable environment. So, the bad news is that one will want to recycle everything after leaving Kalu Yala. Additionally, we do our best to teach everyone many tangible skills. Certain individuals learn how to construct things while others become familiar with natural resources. Ultimately, every intern will be able to take something from Panama and apply it in their daily life. One Kalu Yala problem is that returning back to “normal” life is difficult because Kalu Yala is such an amazing place!
How do you select interns that will join your program?
We have a committee that looks through all of the applications and rates them. Those applicants that have the most points will be invited. In case that they decline their invitation, we reach out to the next person in line. Generally speaking, Kalu Yala is a bad environment only for those who dislike beautiful nature. Since most people love being in such surroundings, however, it is hard to find a person that would not thrive here. Also, besides some basic characteristics, we look for previous work experience of our candidates. People who have a long employment history might adapt to all of the work here faster. Nevertheless, we had many interns who never worked before, yet they did an outstanding job!
If you had to explain the truth about Kalu Yala experience with one word, what would it be?
Versatile. The reason that I would choose that word is due to all the opportunities here. People who join can take up construction, manual labor, small design projects, and so much more. The diverse area of expertise that we welcome is what differentiates us from most of our competitors. So, I think that the versatility of endeavors offered at Kalu Yala is second to none.
What do you think is the most important thing that all the interns should bring?
A positive attitude and an open mind! A lot of things that come up during the internship program are not planned. In fact, spontaneity is one of Kalu Yala’s best traits. We have schedules that most people utilize. Nevertheless, there are a lot of events that the interns organized themselves. Therefore, we do our best to give people room to do their planning. As far as the actual items that I advise everyone to bring, a raincoat is almost mandatory. Since we live in a rain forest, precipitation is rather typical. So, staying dry can be quite a challenge. That, in fact, is one Kalu Yala criticism if you can call it that!