First of all, let me introduce myself: I’m Lucille, I’m French and my school gave me the opportunity, at the end of my first year to spend 6 months abroad as an intern in a company! My first thought was “I want to go far away from France!”. I’ve always liked nature and am drawn to the tourism industry, so what could be better than La Bicicleta Verde: an eco-friendly tourism company?!
I was impatiently waiting for the moment I would first land in Latin America and was so excited that even after a 14-hour flight and not much sleep I felt totally awake and ready to start discovering Santiago!
Rather than feeling lost for my first time alone on a new continent, I immediately felt comfortable! Indeed, I was greeted by really nice Chilean people who helped me not getting lost in the subway and carrying my luggage (full of clothes for 6 months!). A Chilean guy who was getting out from the same plane as me even offered to let me use his Bip card to enter the subway because the ATM was stubbornly determined to prevent me from retrieving money!
Speaking in Spanish was kind of challenge at the beginning. In fact, I had once had a Spanish teacher at school who was from Chile and I didn’t have any trouble in understanding his classes. But when I set foot in Chile it felt like all the Spanish words I knew had left me! Some people had an accent which sometimes made me wonder which language they were speaking and could lead to an awkward moment of misunderstandings (but no worries, I survived!)
The first few days I spent as an intern were dedicated to visiting the city through most of the tours offered by La Bicicleta Verde and Tours4Tips. As I had just arrived, I knew nearly nothing about Santiago, except that the few streets and places I had randomly visited looked beautiful. Going on all these tours was the best way to get familiar with the city and have a reminder of its history as I had almost forgotten my history classes! I was also able to get to know all the guides’ names.
With the help of Camille, the intern who had already been there for 3 months, I discovered how the company was working from the inside. I was trained on how to update the website, how to take care of the social media, how to improve the email marketing campaign, how to write a weekly newsletter and much more!
El Techo: this is the name of the bar where I spent my first night with my new team workers. I had been told a few times during the day that we would be having beers after work, so at 6PM I innocently asked, “so we’re going to a bar right now, that’s it?” and I was told “no, it’s not just A bar, it’s El Techo”, it felt like something big! We ended up having a really good time and I learnt my first Chilean word: “Chela”!
Everything went well on my first week, the days flew quickly and I was already getting used to my new life in Santiago! After a few days, I had already found my favourite place to eat empanadas, and fallen in love with the taste of the typical Lucuma Ice Cream and was already wondering how I would be able to find the same food when I come back home.
Knowing all of this, I hope that any potential new intern will not hesitate anymore and join us because after a week, I already know that I will learn a lot, have a good time and do things I like!