As some of you might know, the 18th of september is the most important day here in Chile. Because the first national meeting of the government took place at this day in the year 1810 and it was the first step to the liberation from Spain. Nowadays not only the 18th is a big celebration but also the whole september people are happy and celebrate. Still it is usual that families or friends spend that day, 18th, together celebrating.
I went with my host family to a smaller village outside of Santiago called Paine to spend 3 days there with the whole family. In Paine they have a big house with a huge garden, swimming pool, lemontrees and and and! Well the whole 18th I spent with preparing food, eating food and drinking. We had a barbeque with a lot of meat, loads of different salads and a bunch of pies and sweets. At the end of the day I was so full, I didn´t even know how to walk. But i liked being with the whole family, everything was pretty chaotic, for example one where eating before the others which is really weird for me, because in Austria you always have to wait until everyone has their food in order to start eating. A lot of different things and a lot of MEAT. Bad luck for veggies, I had to eat meat and it was great. I forgot to mention all the fondas, which are the parties in September to celebrate 18th, where a lot of traditions are practised, for example shows with horses or chilean bands playing folklore. Really fun the september here!!
Lately we, Rosario, Francisco and I, travelled to the north, to the city Arica. Arica is the last city in Chile before the border to Perú and basically in the desert.We visited a lot of high schools and we also gave an interview on the radio. Eventually you get a really different insight in a city by visiting local school, because you watch the daily routine from the people living there.
Of course we did all this with representative of the area, Estela, she joined us and also hosted the lovely last evening with a couple of new volunteers in a house on the “campus” (like a bunch of houses which are protected by the same fence and doorman) where she lives. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and it was great to get to know new people. Especially holding presentations in front of different people all the times teaches you so much. Well in our breaks we went to the beach, where I hold my hand into the pacific for the first time. Furthermore we drove up the famous hill of Arica by night, so we could see all the light of the city down there by standing next to second largest flag of whole Chile. After work was done, the next day I started my journey to Perú.
Since I already got the chance to live with 4 diffrent families, I experienced some diffrences concering the family life but also a bunch of similarities. For example sunday is family day everywhere – a bit like in Austria (“Churchday”) – noone makes plans, just family. Also it´s really common here to live with your parents until you finished university, I was told because of the money, they want to save. Nevertheless it is really weird to me, because in my hometown or actually in whole Europe it is common to move out when you finished high school and work while being in the university. Also I experienced they never close doors, even while sleeping – ahh all those diffrent new things to discover, there are still a lot I guess :))
But I want to tell you guys about my first real family-birthday-party: My hostbrother recently turned 14 and then my hostsister 12 so we had a huge party with all relatives – a big once! Ok what? What is once? Chilean families usually eat once when they get home from school, work etc. basically it is milk and bread (with avocado), it is like a “inbetween” lunch and dinner. But that saturday, when the whole family came over to visit we had like loads of prepared sandwiches with meat, cheese, salmon, meat, meat everything!! Furthermore there was cake, chilean alfajores and profiterols. When those things were finished we had the REAL cake – I loved it!! – which was really big and filled with manjar! So much food, so much spanisch and so much family (louddddd), but I liked it!
A week ago I went on my first trip as an intern at the YFU Office to San Felipe and los Andes. 6 o´clock, my alarm went of, I got up and got myself ready for a long, but exciting day. After I grabbed something to eat and my camera, I left the house – still in the dark – and walked to the office. After Francisco and Rosario arrived, we got in the car and were on our way to the north. Before we entered the school where we were supposed to hold the presentation, we first met the area representative Rose Mary. All together we entered the school and went to the libary, where all students were waiting for us. I really enjoyed holding the presentation, because they were all really interested, attentive and quiet. And furthermore it was really fun!! After the presentation, taking picture with students and answering questions we left the school.
Me talking about food
With all the lovely students
streets of San Felipe
After that we also went to another school to leave some infomaterial there, but actually we were on our way to the local radio and TV studio of los Andes/San Felipe. It was really weired for me to see how basic the studio was, like no sign, no security, spontanious people and smalllll. But it was a great experience though and I even enjoyed it more that we got the oppurtunity to talk about YFU, in Austria this would not be possible, because “it is not important enough”. I am impressed by the chilean Radio/TV companies. After
Francisco on air
Streets of San Felipe again
After the Studio we finally got time to eat something😀 When we finished we got in the cars and hit the road to los Andes, where we visited one more school to drop of some infomaterial. I have to mention, this school is so beautiful!!! The area out there is really rural, i love that, furthermore it was sunny and clean air.
The beautiful school
On the road
Before we got back on the highway to Santiago we stop by at a church, but a special church, because there is the tomb of one of the saints of Chile – Theresa de los Andes – i figured out that chilean people are really religious and it is pretty important here! You can find a Jesus starring at you in almost every corner … But yeah after arriving at home I was so tired, I just went straight to bed. But I loved my first experience of the Real Chile
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.