Deanna joins the Green Team
Deanna’s arrival in Chile
Hello everyone! My name is Deanna and I am from Missouri, USA. I am studying International Business and Tourism Development at my university.
When I first started looking for my internship, I knew I wanted to leave my comfort zone and improve my Spanish, wherever it was that I ended up. What better place to do that than in South America? I heard about La Bicicleta Verde, a bike company that focuses on sustainable tourism. I thought this was a perfect match for me because I am very interested in tourism AND sustainability.
Arriving in Santiago
After a whole day of travel and a 15 hour flight from Europe, I finally landed in Santiago at 7am. When I left the airport, I was surrounded by chaos. Of course I looked (and was!) confused and tired. So many people were coming up to me asking if I needed a taxi. I had heard that some taxis charge you a lot of money and some aren’t legal taxis, so I was a bit unsure of what to do. I ended up finding someone who spoke English and trusted him enough to take his taxi service. I arrived at the hostel that I would be staying in for the next 2 days while I looked for a place to live.
I ended up finding a place about 1 mile (a 20 minute walk) from the office. I live with other international students from Europe and South America! Once I was settled into my new home, I went shopping because I only had a carry-on sized backpack. Since I came from summer in Europe to winter in Chile, I was in desperate need of some warm clothes! I went to the Costanera Center to shop, and it was huge! It’s the tallest building in South America.
In my first week, I also hiked to the top of San Cristobal Hill which gives a great view of the city. I loved seeing all neighborhoods of the city and was really happy to discover that Santiago has a lot of parks and green spaces for people to enjoy!
Starting the Internship
My first day, I took the morning bike tour with Iggy. I hadn’t been on a bike in over a year, but I got the hang of it in no time because as they say, “it’s like riding a bike”! I was able to learn more about Barrio Bellavista, the neighborhood surrounding the office, which has a lot of amazing graffiti art done by the locals. We made a stop at La Chascona, one of Pablo Neruda’s houses, before we made our way to La Vega, the huge fresh food market here in Santiago, and Mercado Central, the fish market.
Within the first week, I had taken all of our bike and walk tours around the city. I learned a lot about local life, politics, and history of Chile. I really think that walking and biking is the best way to see Santiago because it is sustainable and very user-friendly. There are many parks and bike lanes all over the city!
I am absolutely loving my time at La Bicicleta Verde so far! The people are amazing and love to see each other succeed and improve, especially when it comes to learning Spanish (I need all the help I can get). I get excited to come to work in the morning, which must be a good sign! I can’t wait to see what the next 5 months have to offer! I already know it’s going to be so hard to leave when the time comes.