Hey there, my name is Hannah and I am obviously the new Intern here at the YFU Chile Office. Who am I? I am coming from a place called Wals-Siezenheim right next to beautiful Salzburg in Austria, spent six months in the Netherlands (in Almere) during my exchange and right now I can call Santiago my “home” for the next 4 months.
In Barcelona (taken by my amazing boyfriend) where it still was hot and cosy. I guess I just need to get used to the fact that it's winter here (almost spring) and way colder than it should be ;)
Some of you might be curious about my reasons to come to Chile or even to do an internship – thats simply: if the travel fever catches you once you won’t recover. Since I already spent my exchange year in Europe, I was really excited to experience a completely different culture down here in the south. Moreover does Chile preserve a stunning variety of landscapes like you can basically find everything here, from the desert to the glacier, what you prefer. The distances between the different cities are unimageable for me as an European, where everything is “close” compared to Chile (north and south). Another mentionable reason might be that my spanish is expandable and furthermore a fellow Austrian intern (Lisa) here in Chile told me how awesome it is to be an intern here.
So what´s been going on lately? Well, last week I participated in another promotional trip – this time to the city of Concepción. This time I traveled by myself instead of with Francisco like my last trip to Patagonia. It was fun to have a bit more responsibility and be more in charge. But of course that did not mean I was alone. I had a lot of support from the local volunteers here and especially from the local YFU-representative, Álvaro, who let me stay in his house.
So in Concepción the main reason for my visit was to attend a school fair organized by Lycee Charles de Gaulle, a school with a French profile. This suited us perfectly as it gave us a lot of opportunities to find host family for a French student we want to send to Conce. Since it was a pretty big fair we also talked with people from the other stands, like the police and navy to ask them if they wanted to be host families. The guys from PDI (Chilean version of FBI) where pretty interested in a student actually.
After this I and Álvaro went to talk on the university radio, Radio Udeconce. You can listen to the interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5Cg7POGWks&feature=youtu.be
Conce is more or less a university city, maybe a bit like Uppsala in Sweden, so after the interview I did some sightseeing around the campus. Who knows? Maybe one day I´ll end up studying there.
Recently I and my co-worker Francisco came back from our promotional visit to the Chilean Patagonia. We visited the cities of Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales with the objective of recruiting host-families, students and promoting YFU. So in this post I´m going to talk about this visit to one of Chile’s most beautiful regions. J
Day 1: We arrived first to Punta Arenas by flight from Santiago where we met up with the YFU representative Elena Burnás. Punta Arenas is the capital city of the region of Magallanes and the Chilean Antarctica, the most southern region of Chile. The city is situated just by the coast of the Strait of Magellan, the sea route separating mainland South America from Tierra del Fuego. This is the coldest region of Chile and has a climate a bit similar to my hometown Stockholm.
Our plan was to visit different schools in the city but because of some government order all schools were closed that day which complicated our visit. Instead we focused on talking with the media (radio, TV, press etc.).
Day 2: The next day all the schools opened again and since we were leaving Punta Arenas the next day it meant we only had once chance to visit all the schools, and that pretty much what we did. Like 10 schools in one day! I got really tired but I had to keep my spirits up since later in the evening we were going to organize and event called the Language Café. An informal gathering where students from different schools could practice their English. We organized different games and served some sweets and drinks to everyone participating.
Day 3 The next day we met up with our representative Marcela Suazo in Puerto Natales, a city the hours north of Punta Arenas. There we gave interviews to the radio and TV- stations and talked about exchange years and being a host family in Colegio de Puerto Natales. I also gave a class of Swedish to some students there.
Right next to the city is the national park of Las Torres del Paine. The park is one of Chile’s natural wonders, or so I´m told, because I didn’t actually have time to see it. Apparently this is some kind of a death sin because whenever I tell a Chilean that I visited Puerto Natales without seeing Las Torres del Paine they give me this strange look. I will go next time I´m in the Patagonia, I promise!
But the most important thing is that the visit seems to have payed off. I was told today that we have students applying from the region and most importantly we now have 4 host families ready to receive their student.
So what has been happening lately? For me I have mostly been visiting lots of different schools, like the Swedenborg College and Instituto Inglés de Rancagua. I have also started taking classes in Mapudungun; an indigenous language (will probably dedicate a blogpost to that in the future). Aside from that I guess I´ve been drinking a bit too much piscola and having a lot of once….
What is once? Well, in Chile many families don´t eat dinner but instead drink maybe tea or coffee together with bread, this meal is known as las once.
Las once, which literally translates to the elevens, could be compared to the British teatime or the Swedish fika. According to popular legend the word has its origins from the 19th century where the workers of the saltpeter mines would accompany their evening meal with a shot of aguardientes (type of alcohol of around 30-60%). Due to strict alcohol restrictions, but maybe more likely; to hide it from their wives, the men would say “once” as code word for “aguardientes” since the word has eleven letters. This could explain why Chile also has South America´s highest alcohol consumption per capita.
Hallulla and marraqueta, typical bread
In modern times however tea and coffee have replaced the aguardientes (well mostly…). Today las once is a time to relax and share time with your family and those close to you. In short: instead of eating dinner many families eat bread and tea.
So, this post got a bit educational but the more you know haha.
Next week I will be traveling to Punta Arenas in southern Chile so till next time!
The last few days have certainly been eventful. First I had my 15 minutes of fame in Chile´s most popular TV-program (More like 15 seconds but oh well…) then because of constant rain and flooding I missed my other television appearance on a local channel in Melipilla, a small town just outside of Santiago.
To begin; Last Thursday I was invited to participate in Mucho Gusto. Mucho Gusto is the most watched television program in all of Chile. It is kind of like a talk show with a panel of different celebrities, everything from singers, actresses to lawyers and chefs, discussing various issues. To be honest though I still have no idea of what the show is actually about even though I was on it. It was entertaining though. I also managed to get an autograph from Lucho Jara, the star of the show, on live television.
This week I was also supposed to be on TV in Melipilla but because of heavy flooding I couldn’t leave the city. Instead our local YFU-representative Solange went with three exchange students from Norway, USA and Sweden and did the interview. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2gwN0snxe4&feature=youtu.be (the interview starts at a 14.50).
On a side note: These last weeks natural catastrophes have caused a great loss of life in South America. Aside from the flooding in Chile, there´s been tornadoes in Uruguay and a huge earthquake in Ecuador. I encourage anyone reading this to donate to their national Red Cross/Red Crescent organization to help those affected (Or any other aid organization close to your heart).
Living in a new country also means living by a new diet. The concept of food is different from place to place and what is food in one culture might be completely unthinkable in another. There´s really a lot of different dishes in the world, something I got to experience first hand when YFU hosted the “International Dinner”…
The International Dinner is one of the biggest YFU-events of the year. Students, volunteers and others participate by bringing a traditional dish from their home country. The result is an abundance of tasty food with names most people can’t pronounce.
Representing my beloved Suecia I prepared a traditional smörgåstårta together with another Swede. It´s basically a cake made out of bread, mayonnaise and eggs, decorated with salad, tomatoes, cheese and shrimps and so on. Yes, Sweden is a weird country indeed.
However Chileans are pretty weird as well. They represented the majority of the guests and brought food like the pastel de choclo – a pie made out of maize filled with beef and onion, a piece of chicken and a boiled egg – and humitas, a Native American dish, that consist of grounded corn wrapped in corn husk leaves. Chilean cuisine is really a mix of many different cultures. All from indigenous cultures like the Mapuche to European ones like Spain and Germany.
Other entries on the menu included pierogi from Poland, mac and cheese from the US, kladdkaka from Sweden and a lot of other food with names so complicated I simply can’t remember them, but they sure tasted good!
Next week I will talk about my appearance on Chilean television so stay tuned til then!
Or well… actually right now we’re still in Semana Santa (Holy week) which is the week just before Easter. While I don’t know if my week has been especially holy there has certainly been a lot of fun stuff going on with YFU.
Tuesday I and my co-worker Francisco visited the Swedish embassy to get promotional material for Sweden. During my internship here I will do a lot of school visits in Chilean “colegios” to promote Sweden so it was really nice of the embassy to help me out with the material! It was also pretty cool to see an embassy from the inside. Like a little Swedish enclave right in the middle of Santiago´s busiest street.
Later I and Francisco traveled to Melipilla, a small community some hours outside of Santiago, there we met up with the local YFU-representative Solange to give an interview to the radio. It was a really great experience! The hosts liked a lot of Swedish artists like The Hives and The Cardigans so they got really surprised when I told them that the drummer of The Cardigans is my mom´s cousin, ha-ha small world right?
This week we also celebrated the birthdays of our co-workers Linnéa and Consuelo who turned 26 recently, so a big shoutout to them!
P.S. Just realized I´m doing the exact same pose in both photos, dang it! D.S.