— People ignore design that ignores people
I usually go by Jose, but some of my friends also call me Mario. Either is fine, but if you use both, you are probably my mom being mad at me for some reason. I’m a Costa Rican UX Designer living in Austria.
Coming to Austria wasn’t a cakewalk in the beginning. In retrospect, my first weeks in Graz were quite hard since I came straight from a tropical country in the middle of our summer to a rather cool spring in the northern hemisphere. I wasn’t used to the cold temperatures of April (even though it’s by far not the coldest month) and fewer hours of sunlight and it took some time until I got familiar with the city, but the good thing was that I could always rely on my co-workers.
But they are more than co-workers — Parkside feels like a big family. I will always remember my first day in the office and my ‘welcome coffee’. Everyone came to the kitchen and took the time to greet me, exchange a few words and drink coffee. They made such a genuine, nice and warm impression on me, which they still do to this day. At the company, we do so many things all the time: hiking, target shooting, playing board games, partying or simply catching up in the kitchen. You can also be sure they are always open to help you or give you recommendations on the latest events in the city.
Regarding my role, I’m an Industrial Design Engineer by profession and after I graduated university, I decided to go for the UX area. It’s a great combination of aesthetics, functionality and especially trying to understand people’s behavior, which is of great interest to me. In that regard, Parkside is a great place to strengthen your UX muscle — it has allowed me to explore every step of UX processes extensively. Being able to participate in user testing sessions, learning from a talented and experienced design team, traveling outside of Europe for client workshops and going to UX conferences help me expand my skill set a lot. I’m having a blast.
When I think about my life here, I don’t think that the feeling of “being away” is going to disappear. But that is not necessarily a bad thing — it’s like living in a constant adventure. You’ll always miss your family and friends back in your country, but now I’m getting more comfortable with the idea of calling Graz my home. I am very excited to see what I will be able to do in the future with the opportunities my experiences here provide me with.
They say you have to count your blessings and living here has made me realize how lucky I am with the people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen, the job I have and what I’m learning from it, and of course the food — Austria and Europe in general have many amazing dishes!
*quote in title by Frank Chimero