Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hola amigos! Saludos de Santiago, Chile!

Student Blogs/Alex in Chile

I have been living in the capital of Chile, about two hours into the country from where I have been living for the past six months. Now this city is no Viña del Mar and is not close to the ocean and there does not seem to be as many stray dogs, but it is amazing. Other than the smog and above 30 degree Celsius weather, Santiago is a great city to live in. I was only in Santiago for January and February before I headed back to Viña in March.

I was doing a visit to Peru and Chile, and he stopped in Santiago for a few days. He held a public mass at one of the parks, but I saw him on my way home for work as he was riding around in the “Papamobile” (Papa is Pope in Spanish) in the streets.

Now since Santiago is a great travel hub I thought I would take advantage of my weekends and go to some smaller towns on the weekend, but after realizing how long it takes to travel to these places I decided to take full advantage of living in Santiago and go to all the tourist attractions. For example Cerro San Cristóbal, Cajón del Maipo, La Moneda, Plaza de Armas, Costanera Center, and Bahai’ Templo Sudamérica just to name a few. But there a million markets, museums, parks and various neighborhoods that are all worth getting a peak at.

Alex posed on top of the mountain with the cityscape in the distance

Cerro San Cristobal

Christmas Break

Since we have last spoken, I have returned to Canada for Christmas break, basically changing seasons from summer all the way over to winter and then back to summer. Over the break I was offered an internship with Accenture and I overwhelmingly accepted, but I briefly would like to touch upon my short three weeks back at home.

Alex standing on the rocks in front of the water

Cajon del Maipo

It was rough. My first semester abroad had overwhelmingly exceeded my expectations and that was ALL I wanted to talk about. I compared EVERYTHING to Chile and what I had experienced down there such as the different culture and many street dogs and cheap food. My mom was absolutely sick of me blabbering about the past “best six months of my life” that she told me in a lovingly way that she did not want to hear me talk about it anymore.

I missed my friends from exchange, my life on exchange and just the environment. Back in Canada, I was working everyday and all my friends were still in exams. About two weeks in, life progressed and everything got better and that made my goodbye to come back to Chile even harder.

Back to Chile

Now to be completely honest, the first week was better than expected. In the beginning, I was not too sure how the internship would go as I do not speak Spanish fluently and the main language of communication is in Spanish, but everyone on the team was very welcoming and understanding. For future students coming to Chile and looking to work, apply for the VISA that allows you to work and travel. All my job interviews and all my applications asked to see your RUT (your Chilean ID card that you get) and on your RUT it indicates whether you are a student or a temporary resident. Without one it is very hard to work. If you are looking to open a bank account, this special VISA is needed as well. Many banks do not allow foreigners to open a bank account in Chile if they are not in the country for at least two years. If you do encounter this problem and are working, ask your employer if they can pay you through Vale Vista which is a method of payment similar to a cheque but a bigger document that you can use to exchange for cash at the bank.

Alex looking at fresh fruit in the market

La Vega Central

a display of fruit with the vendor sitting next to it

Fruit Market in Barrio Lastrarria

The past two months of my internship basically flew by. The experience was eye-opening and amazing. I hope that my Spanish has improved and I got to travel a whole bunch around Santiago. Santiago and Viña are two separate worlds to me, giving you different opportunities to explore in the two distinct cities. I will miss my internship and I will miss my Santiago life, but I could not be more excited to go back to Viña and start my last semester. One year abroad is really not enough time. I am halfway done my exchange and I have absolutely no clue where the time has gone.

ALex jumping up in front of Cerro Santa Lucia

Cerro Santa Lucia

Ciao ciao Santiago, que te vaya bien¡ Hola Viña del Mar, estoy aqui¡

Thursday, April 12, 2018 in ,
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