Hi there ! I’m Kenza and I’m from Casablanca. No not Chile’s Casablanca, but Morocco’s !
It’s the second time that I’m planning to stay for a bit far from home : I lived a whole year in France (as I’m currently enrolled in a French school), and I’m planning to stay in Santiago for six months. I’ve chosen to go to Santiago for my six-month internship for three main reasons : the beauty of its culture, the warmth of its inhabitants, and its breathtaking landscapes !
And also, to speak spanish even though when I’ll go back to Europe people wouldn’t understand my Spanish jaja.
I was a bit afraid of being on my own so far from my family and my friends, and in a spanish-speaking country where nobody speaks French or English in the street (or very few of them do). But I felt, from the moment I arrived that Chileans tried to make me feel comfortable and were speaking less quickly and more clearly so that I would understand. It reminded me of my country as people here are welcoming, warm to strangers, and are always here if you need help.
- 6th of July : My arrival
After a 14-hour flight, and not much sleep, we were so excited to have landed. But when getting outside with our light clothings, we got a thermal shock : we left summer and got into winter within 14 hours !
Buenas Santiago como estai ?
- 7th-8th of July : Looking for a new home
We started to visit houses to find where we would live. At first we didn’t know where we could find information so we went on La Bicicleta Verde website, and we found there a lot of websites where we could find rentals. Especially ‘Comparto Depto’. So I got in touch with some people and it lasted two days before I could find my home.
- 9th of July : A new greenie in town !
So there we go. My first official day on the office…My first job ! Even though I was a little concerned about my first day, it went actually really well. I met a lot of people, and I had trainings which were great especially as it was my first professional experience and feared I wouldn’t have the skills for the job. But we were taking care of by the former intern, Camille who explained to us everything and introduced us to the “greenies team”.
I had been in Santiago just for a few days and didn’t really got to know the city. So, on our first day, we had a tour called “Santiago highlights” with Carlos. We visited La Moneda, the GAM, la plaza de Armas and got to know the Chilean culture, their love for the dogs…I also did a biking tour with Karla to the central Market, and La Vega…When I saw the colorful spices, the vegetables and the fruits, it reminded me of my country. Different people, but same atmosphere, same markets, same warmth and an open culture. I remember, Pablo, a butcher, asked me where I came from, when I told him I was from Morocco, he was really interested in knowing how I came here, and told me that I could come whenever I wanted to its butchery, whether to buy meat or have a talk. Chileans open-mindness and kindness made the tour even more pleasant. Even though at first, when I saw the city skyscrapers and the buildings, I thought that Chile was modern and looked like a big city. It was impressive! But now, when I got to meet and talk to Chileans, I was released, and I knew that these six months would be incredible !
- 10th of July : First Chilean meal !
What can I say? I don’t have the words to describe the culinary explosion in my mouth after having tasted the famous “empanada”. Qué rico ! Everybody talked about it like it was a holy plate. The “pino empanada”. You HAVE to try it. It is so good : onion, beef, olives, and an egg, and BOOM. It is a MUST in Chile (I’m even wondering whether I should learn how to cook here, starting with empanadas jaja). At that moment I understood why Camille – the ex intern – advised us and told us to be careful with food. Greenies can easily turn into piggies.. .
- 11th of July : Work work work work work
No it’s not Rihanna’s. Today it was my real day on the office as an integrated intern. Today I really began to work. I had been given my first marketing and sales tasks. I had to look for data and to assess our website and social media. It was interesting as I had never worked on a concrete case. I really likes the data search I found it really interesting and I learned a lot about the different marketing strategies.
- 12th of July : La Bicicleta Verde aka a combination of cultures
Well well well… Let’s talk about the scariest thing for me : the reception. First when I was told that I would have to take care of tourists It didn’t bother me. But when was asked to talk spanish with them, it scared me. I wasn’t fluent in Spanish, well I thought I was before arriving in Santiago and speaking with Chileans. But talking in spanish every day, and trying to improve and prepare the words beforehands helped me a lot. I prepared some sentences to give the adequate information, and the rest was about the feeling. You get to know people from all around the world, you talk about yourself, your experience. It’s an amazing experience. This is how, day by day, I got my wits back and was able to speak with english-speaking people in English, spanish-speaking people in Spanish, I haven’t already had the opportunity to speak with a tourist in Arabic (well not intentionally).
Santiago is a mesmerizing city. Not only for the warmth of its inhabitants, but also for the diversity of its territory : the city’s skyscrapers on one side, and on the other side the bohemian Bellavista ; not to mention its outstanding natural landscapes ! It’s a country full of surprises, and what a better way to discover it that with good food, nice people and the greenie statut ?