What’s it Really Like Interning in Chile?

This post is thanks to Katie Sanderson, a student at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a former ISA Featured Blogger. Katie interned abroad with ISA Internships in Santiago, Chile in Summer 2013.

Santiago. Photo by ISA alum Mitchell Bayne.

Santiago. Photo by ISA alum Mitchell Bayne.

Interning in a foreign country is very different from interning in your own country. Not only do I get to work with COPEC’s fuel engineering and analysis laboratory, learn about fuel and different tests to analyze it, but I also get to experience a new work environment and a new work ethic every day at work. I also love working with my co-workers! The people in Chile are very nice and I am glad to call this country home during my internship program this summer.

In the lab where I’m interning, I work with a team of five co-workers, our secretary, and our Jefa, Gladys. I really like working with all of them; we joke around a lot but we also know when to be serious. I am surprised my brain isn’t overloaded; I am constantly learning Spanish inside and outside of my internship and learning more about petroleum!

Living in another country has exposed me to a new way of life and work. I am glad to say that I have harnessed the best of both U.S. and Chilean culture. Chileans are very nice people who have a passion for caring about each other. I am constantly being invited to events with my co-workers, particularly my boss, because she has children my age. I am glad for this because going to another country where I did not know anyone was one of my fears before my internship program started, and now I have people my age to spend time with! My boss’s daughter, Sachy, even introduces me as her sister at school. So far I have visited the Palacio of Bellas Artes filled with different types of art from statues to contemporary with her, her boyfriend, and my boss. The building itself looked like a piece of art with beautiful architecture.

Sachy and I at Palacio of Bellas Artes.

Sachy and I at Palacio of Bellas Artes.

We spent the afternoon browsing the paintings in a place that topped my “to see” list in Santiago. Little things like going to the supermarket is an adventure for me here because I see a new part of the Chilean culture. I am looking forward to seeing more of Chile with Sachy and Gladys.

Eating 'completas' with Gladys's and family!

Eating ‘completas’ with Gladys’s and family!

My Chilean homestay family consists of Maria Elena, Paola, another student, Loes, and two poodles. Due to the long hours I work, I don’t get to see them as much as I would like to, but we make use of the time we have together. Maria Elena makes amazing traditional Chilean meals and we spend our weekend lunches socializing. Although I have yet to be able to explore Santiago with Loes, I know I will soon. She loves to go to discotheques in Bellavista, her favorite part of town. During my Bridging Cultures Program I actually visited Bellavista with two fellow ISA interns, it was very cute! I haven’t spent a lot of time with the other interns in Santiago after our Bridging Cultures Program, but I am sure that they are just as busy getting to know their homestay families and coworkers as I am!

My Chilean homestay family!

My Chilean homestay family!

I love my homestay in Las Condes, a neighborhood of Santiago. On the weekends I spend some time relaxing by reading a book with a view of the Andres Mountains out the window. Soon I will be skiing on those mountains with my boss’s family! I am hoping for rain, which will bring snow to the mountains so we can ski. My attempts at reading are usually foiled after a while by my family’s two poodles.

I am very happy to be interning with such an amazing group of people. Next week I will meet the other ISA interns who are participating in six week internships in Santiago! I have already been e-mailing some of them and I know they are just as excited to be in Chile as I am, so we will explore Santiago together. In fact, I have already started making plans with one of them! My time here is only getting more exciting!

The World Awaits…Discover it.

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