Hi Guys! I’m Franzi, 23 years old, just finished my Bachelor Degree in International Management.
Ready for a new adventure!
That’s why I left my home country Germany about 10 days ago, to discover something new. I’m doing an internship for 3 months at La Bicicleta Verde, an ecotourism company in Santiago de Chile.
How that happened? Well first of all, it’s not the first time for me going abroad. I guess you can call it a small addiction already, to move from one place to another getting to know different cultures, different people, different stories. I went on exchanges during High School to Spain, China and New Zealand and then again left, after I finished school to Guatemala and visited other friends I made during this time. Last I studied in Norway for my Bachelor Degree. Where we come to the point why I am in Chile now: One of the nicest person I met during my travels, is a Chilean. My roommate from Oslo. Also important to understand this narrowing story is, I have been to Chile before. And? I fell in love with this country.
And how couldn’t I. Telling you that I knew some Chilenos already before coming here, they didn’t think twice about picking me up on the airport. On a sunday. At 7:30 in the morning. And I will tell you later, how much they love to party.
So that’s how my adventure started: On a sunday morning, in a small car of a Chilean I’ve never met before, having a wonderful conversation about travels, the best food in town and of course the next parties. In the next moment I was sitting at the breakfast table gathering together with the whole family of my friend. There was no time for jet lag or culture shocks, while I was highly overwhelmed by the fast Chilean-Spanish conversation happening around me. I haven’t been in the country for more than 10 hours and I was equipped with a Metro Card (called bip! in Santiago) a new Sim Card, Keys to my apartment and two Birthday Invitations. I know, more than lucky- and I also know, a start in a new country can be way more rough. But on the other hand, as I mentioned, Chilenos are the most helpful people I met so far. And even if the language is an issue sometimes- it was indeed for me and still is– a smile usually turns back with a smile.
So I ended my first day, in a new apartment thousands of kilometers away from home and more than happy for taking this step. And with this view.
I came to Santiago a couple of days before my internships started. Which was a brilliant idea. I had time to discover my neighborhood, to got some orientation in the busy and hectic city, understand why it’s difficult to find pepper in the supermarket (Chileans use merkén, no pepper) and most importantly I learned how to celebrate. I arrived to Santiago at the end of October, so just before a long weekend as the 1st and 2nd of November are public holidays in Chile. It’s spring, it’s getting warm, it’s holiday, it seems obvious for what Chilenos are using these days. Plus Halloween is waiting! During my first week there were only a few nights where I actually got the chance to sleep. Crazy? Yes, but who can say no to a Piscola ( typical chilean drink)? And I tell you, Bars and Clubs don’t close in Chile!
So you can imagine, how my time in Chile started, before it even actually started.
I was strolling around the city, getting to know new faces every night and wondering when I would get used to the small things that surprised me everyday. Like what?
All the Art for example! I mean: How arty and changing can a city be? There is something new around every corner. And I have been to Santiago before. Doesn’t matter if street art, different exhibitions or museums. By the way, museums are free in Chile!
As well I know now, why I’m going to work for a Bicycle Tourism Company: No matter where you go, there are bikers, runners or whatever sporty activity you can think of people would do. In the middle of the city center! What still impresses me, that one of the main roads suddenly is closed on Sundays and opened for bikers, runners and people who want to start their sunday casually exploring the city.
I got to understand the meaning of bikes for the city and was looking forward to my first day of work.
And the contrasts! You could have thought from my photos I’m living in the middle of New York, well I don’t. But still Chileans call parts of the city their Sanhattan (Santiago’s Manhattan), it’s so modern, so ajar to a typical western capital. The scenery changes while walking through, the busy markets, the colorful lively neighborhoods, buildings with all different colonial influences green parks. I felt like a child, seeing something new around every corner- and still do.
Not to forget: The mountains. Snow topped, when I arrived, they are visible from every corner of the city. Probably will never have enough of this view, although the snow is melting now, of course. But sweating in the city center with 30 degrees trying to find some shade in one of the countless parks, having a view on snowy mountains is irreal and still so impressive. Can’t wait to explore the landscape around the capital a bit more.
And then I had my first day of work at La Bicicleta Verde. What I was expecting? Honestly I can’t tell you. This whole trip was more than spontaneous to me and I was just very happy to found an internship which got me from the beginning.
So what can I tell you, it’s colourful, it’s casual, it’s a lot of fun. Plus, I learned so much already. Coming from a tourism company in Germany I do have some experiences in the customer contact and daily tasks to be managed in the industry. Nevertheless it’s not comparable to the lovely, quirky Green Lifestyle. I’m learning something new every day and I mean really learning. I got the chance to take parts in the Bike & Walking Tours and to explore the city as well as to get to know the companies spirit.
I love it and it’s exactly what I was looking for. Gaining experiences in an relaxed atmosphere in the industry I love the most with awesome people on my side.