As I take a moment to reflect, all I can say is WOW. This past year has flown by! I cannot believe that we have already survived all the classes, traveled around the world, and are here, in our final term doing our internships. It felt amazing to finish classes at the end of July in Atlanta, but this chapter is bittersweet. Amazing because we are all working in very diverse places doing very different and interesting jobs (hopefully pursuing our next big dreams!), yet it is crazy to confront the reality that the time with this little, tight-knit, GPMBA “family” is coming to an end. I’ll call it growing pains since this is just a taste as we all prepare to graduate and re-enter the non-academic world of work on our own.
At any rate, as mentioned our class is literally spread around the world: We are everywhere from Los Angeles to Singapore to Australia to Cambodia to Nigeria to Germany to South America to New York (and more not listed!). I happen to be the “South America” representation. As the Global Partners intern delegate to Santiago, Chile, I am enjoying my work at an esteemed engineering consulting services firm. Primarily I am focusing my thesis project as a marketing consultant, looking at ways to improve the company’s marketing and business development department’s efficiency. It’s an adjustment being in an office all day again, but in addition to the work, I am enjoying getting to experience the life and culture here in Chile.
And since the next class of Global Partners is about to embark on their journey, I’ll dedicate the final part of this blog for their benefit:
Top 5 Things To Know Before Interning in Chile:
5. Obviously this is not a repeat of Rio – it’s now winter when you arrive to the Southern Hemisphere and it’s a lot colder and drier climate here in Chile! It was quite a shock to the system when I arrived in August from 95-degree Atlanta to SNOW in Santiago (albeit, that’s not normal here either). It was more of a shock to realize that heating is not a standard commodity in apartments here either.
4. Despite the stereotype of relaxed Latin American work ethic, Chileans work long hours. 45 hours per week (8:30am – 6:30pm Monday – Friday) is common. This again was an adjustment, not so much because I haven’t worked long hours before — both in school and in my previous job, long and busy weeks happened frequently — but because at 5pm when normally US jobs are finished, I still have 1.5 hours to go!
3. Chile is on the “Ring of Fire” and there are volcanoes (in the south, Volcán Puyehue erupted in August) and earthquakes are common. Being a Georgia native and having lived in Chicago, earthquakes are not a norm in my experience. Therefore, being awaken by a 5.9 “terromoto” was startling and scary even though nothing happened except my coworkers making jokes about the “temblor” (tremor).
2. Chile is a very stable and peaceful country. It has experienced consistent economic growth and is widely considered one of the best Latin American economies. There seem to be nearly endless entrepreneurial opportunities here and the government encourages them through programs like Start Up Chile. However, this does not stop petty crime – I have heard many stories from new friends about purses, wallets, jewelry, etc. being stolen, including a necklace off a woman’s neck! The reputation also masks the large wealth inequities that exist here, which have recently led to social unrest. I arrived during massive protests that have even turned violent, forcing me to mostly keep my distance from Centro (downtown). So, as in all big cities around the world, be aware and be safe!
1. Chilean is a whole different language than Castellano Spanish! Fortunately my work is bilingual, as is my Chilean roommate because there are MANY “Chilenismos” that you will have never heard before if it’s your first time here! Chileans often add “po” to the end of words as a filler (“Si-po”), say “Cachai?” (you understand?), drop S’s (and the end of words!), and love diminutives (little -ito and -ita everything!). The combination of these new words and interesting additions/subtractions from what I know combined with rapid-fire speech is enough to make me re-evaluate how well I actually know Spanish! Fortunately, Chilenos are very proud and kind people who want you to understand and learn so there are many language intercambio opportunities to meet new friends and practice!
And with that, I leave you until next time with a few photos of Santiago to enjoy. And final bit of advice: pack peanut butter!