MC’s first few weeks at La Bicicleta Verde
My name is Marie-Catherine, but people call me MC, it’s fancier. I’m from France, originally from Paris but I moved a year ago in Lyon to study at emlyon business school. My first year as a business student includes a 6 month internship abroad. So how did I end up at La Bicicleta Verde ? Well, girls from my school were interns here two years ago and last year. I got in touch with them and asked them about their experience here. They said they had had a wonderful time in this company and gave me Peter’s email adress. I contacted Peter and we had our first Skype interview in February. A couple of weeks later, I had not sent any other internship request because I knew I would like it at La Bicicleta Verde, and Peter confirmed I had the job. Sooooo I booked my flights !
Nos vemos !
I got in Santiago on July 5th, it was one of the coldest days ever. I had a couple of days to find my house before I started working. My first contact with the green team was at lunchtime, the day before I started my internship. I had lunch with the team at La Vega Market. My first restaurant meal in the city ! It was really good. The nest day was my first day in the office. I was told I would work on a specific project and got trained by an outgoing intern. We spent the first few days on this training. The second day I was here, it was another intern’s birthday. She threw a party at her house, it was really good and a nice way to get to discover the team out of the office! (and to do an asado) My first impression ? The team is fiesta loca. We danced and laughed for hours, I said to myself « this is going to be a great internship ».
By the first week, one of my missions was to know all the names of the team, which was hard, as there are many people working at the office, plus the guides ! We had several despedidas parties during my first days in the company. My main thought was that I didn’t understand Chilean people. They speak so fast ! I really felt the difference between speaking Spanish in class and in Chile.
Another discovery during this first week was… Alfajores. Aka the reason why I should definitely join a sports club. This desert becomes an addiction, that’s a warning…
Then I had a couple of days off and I decided to go on a short trip with my friend and colleague Romane. We took a night bus for 7 hours and went to La Serena. From there, we took another bus to Pisco Elqui, a little town where they make hand-crafted Pisco alcohol. We visited a distillery and walked a lot with our backapacks on. We also went to Coquimbo and to Punta de Choros, where we saw the Pacific ocean for the first time in our lives !
I went back to work on the Monday and got trained for reception. I liked it because I love practicing Spanish and other languages, so I enjoy being in contact with customers. We learnt how to greet the customers and how to be of any help. I’m still working on it, there are lots of information and steps to remember but it is very exciting. I struggle when it comes to Spanish customers but they understand I am new and not a native speaker… Which is fine, everyone must start one day or another !
The same week, I took almost all the tours that La Bicicleta Verde offers. I thought they were all amazing. The explanations, the guides’ personalities, the locations… Even the weather was great although we were in winter. So I learnt a lot about Santiago de Chile, its political and cultural history, its artists and great places to eat. I also learnt a lot about wines when I took the bike and wine tour. I had never tried wine tasting (also because I hate red wine) but this was particularly exciting ! Now I finally know which white wine matches with my meals.
Today I am still learning a lot, I don’t think it’s ever going to stop during my internship. There is so much to assimilate. It is a very enriching experience. Also the people in the team are incredibly friendly and the company’s principles are to always question yourself and be humble about what you do. Peter wants us to do our best but to remember as well that we can always improve the process of our achievements. Let’s do it until December !