How do Bridge Abroad internships stand apart from other internship providers in Chile?
Kate: Bridge has been present in the business world since its initiation in 1990 as a language school in Santiago. This gives us 20+ years of strong network connections in many booming industries in Chile. These connections give us the advantage of being able to provide you with more internship options, even tailoring the programs we can offer you depending on what your specific needs are in an internship program.
How does interning in Chile compare to interning in other Spanish speaking countries?
Kate: Chile enjoys the privilege of being South America's economic powerhouse. Its stable economy and foreign-friendliness makes Chile an easy market to break into for foreigners and offers the chance to quickly gain experience you might not be able to get in your home country, putting you ahead of the competition and setting you apart from others in your field. Chile is also known for its technological advances in the sciences and in mining, which provides a virtual playground for entrepreneurs and highly innovative people. Santiago is an incredibly safe city and enjoys the lowest crime rate of all capitals in South America (CITE). And, above all, Chile is a country that offers something to explore for everyone. From its Mars-like deserts in the north; lush, verdant forests of the Lakes region in the south; and UNESCO world heritage sites around every turn, Chile leaves you stunned by its impressive beauty and deep cultural roots.
What extra-curricular activities do interns enjoy while interning in Chile?
Kate: Our staff at Bridge keeps abreast of what´s happening in Santiago, so there is always something new and cool to do! Interns are welcome to join in on excursions that we run through the school on Wednesdays and Fridays for our Spanish students. These outings include famous museums, like the Museo Bellas Artes in downtown Santiago; wine tours at local vineyards, like the award winning Concha y Toro; theater events, cultural exhibits and much more! If you're looking for a trip to the beach, a day spent skiing in the Andes, or going to check out a soccer game, we can plan that for you, too!
What services does BridgeAbroad offer interns before and after their internship in Chile?
Kate: Interns receive a welcome and orientation at Bridge's headquarters in Santiago. They are given 24/7 in country emergency support through our staff. Bridge as a language school offers many opportunities to break in the language market once you're done, or while you're doing your internship. A student may choose to become TEFL certified through our IDELT program and go on to teach English as a second language. They may decide to do volunteer work at a children's orphanage or get involved in a local sports club. Santiago is very close to many tourist towns and cultural must-sees, offering lots to do on the weekends, and is a great home base from which to travel around the central region. And, of course, if you're looking to improve your Spanish, our friendly, experienced teaching staff can help you get to where you´d like to be. Classes are flexible and can even be taken online through our BridgeVirtual program as a supplement to in-person lessons.
What can you tell us about the business culture in Chile?
Kate: Though South Americans are often stereotyped as being "lazy" in the workplace by Western standards, Chileans are quite hardworking and spend long hours in the office – a typical work week is 44 hours, and many Chileans take work home with them. Conservatism in dress and office politics prevail, so it is important to follow suit (literally in a suit!). Emailing is very important, and it's imperative to have written documentation of important conversations or business promises. It's sometimes hard to get a written answer from Chileans, as once something is written down, it is treated as very serious and binding! Chileans take much pride in and responsibility for their work, and value others who hold the same work ethic. Chileans aren't always serious, however, and you'll find that jokes and plays on words are very common among friends and colleagues. As a young foreigner, you may find that you have to talk up your experience and expertise so that your Chilean workmates will take you seriously. Just remember that you have many strong advantages in the fact that you speak another language and come from a different cultural perspective! Employers value the dynamism that this brings to the workplace.