Santiago, the capital city of Chile, is a gorgeous urban center nestled at the center of the Santiago Basin, between the Andes and Chilean Costal Range mountains. As the capital of one of South America's most prosperous nations, Santiago is incorporating new construction and development alongside its traditional Art Deco and Neo-Gothic architecture. Santiago's economic growth can be symbolized in the rise of the Gran Torre Santiago, a skyscraper that, when completed, will be the tallest building in South America.
The city has a sportive culture; home to many bike trails, such as the Providencia comuna, and many residents commute to work on bike. The city has a cool Mediterranean climate and proximity to both the mountains and ocean. With ski resorts to the east, wineries to the west, and a vibrant city center, it is no surprise that the Central Station, designed by Gustave Eiffel, welcomes visitors with diverse interests to Santiago.Photo Credits: alobos Life.
Business: Chile has one of the most stable economies in South America, and its capital, which generates 45% of the Chile's GDP, is the site of a lot of recent entrepreneurial development. The Costanera Center currently under construction, whose Gran Torre Santiago will be the tallest building in South America, serves as a monument to the city's economy and will make room for new businesses to move into the city. Santiago is also a city that is currently very welcoming to people getting started in business; the Chilean government is currently operating a program called Start-Up Chile, which aims to attract entrepreneurs and encourage them to start their careers in Chile. A business internship in Santiago will provide the opportunity to get hands-on and in-depth experience in the business world, as well as develop international contacts and potentially life-long connections.
Medical: As a large city, Santiago provides a variety of opportunities in the medical field. From shadowing practicing professionals to working behind the scenes in clinics, there are many ways to do a medical internship in Santiago. Interning in the capital city of Chile also means that there are a greater variety of hospitals to work in and allows you to become familiar with the unique challenges and rewards of practicing medicine in an urban center.
Social Development: Despite its strong economy, Santiago remains an economically divided city with several at-risk populations. Social development internships in Santiago provide a meaningful chance to work with financially disadvantaged families and individuals, children and adults with disabilities, immigrants, and other underserved populations. These internships teach valuable skills essential to social and NGO work while also allowing you to make the most of your time abroad and cause a real difference in peoples' lives.
When and Where to Look for an Internship
January and February are high summer in Chile, and while this provides an alluring chance for those in the Northern Hemisphere to escape the cold, Chileans also are drawn to vacation during the warmer months, and business tends to slow down.
While many internships in Santiago are partnered with the university, there are also private sector internships available in the medical, engineering, and marketing fields. Santiago is in the process of redeveloping its urban centers to draw more business to the city, particularly on an international scale, so the city is particularly welcoming to interns at the moment.
Cost of Living in Santiago
Be sure to keep an eye out for youth and student discounts while in Santiago. Cost of living, while not exorbitant, is not cheap either.
- Rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in the city center: $405 US
- Utilities (basic): $134.78 US
- Monthly Transit Pass (Regular price): $48.71 US
Work Culture in Santiago
- Etiquette: The University of Michigan provides a useful guide to Chilean business etiquette. Dress for a professional environment is conservative and formal; business casual is not appreciated. Business associates are referred to by their titles and last names. However, despite the formality of some aspects of the work life, are warm and affectionate in conversation, making more frequent eye and physical contact than Americans.
- Language: Strong Spanish is helpful. Many Chileans do speak English, particularly in Santiago and in professional environments. However, Chileans do appreciate being able to converse in their native language, and knowing Spanish will open more professional and personal doors than English alone.
- Networking: As the capital city of Chile, Santiago plays host to many conferences and trade shows throughout the year. The International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement recently held their conference in Santiago. The Americas Society/Council of the Americas holds a Latin American Cities Conference in Santiago and provides regular information about conferences happening in or about Chile
Work and Labor Laws in Santiago
Most internships in Santiago are unpaid. The bright side is that an unpaid internship makes the visa process much easier. According to the US State Department, unpaid interns have only to obtain a tourist card upon entry, which is good for 90 days and can be extended through the Immigration Office or by leaving the country and returning. Paid interns must apply for a Temporary Visa, good for up to one year. The Chilean Embassy provides even more information about traveling to Chile.