Hola Santiango, Chile! The diaries of an internship abroad in American Field Services Intercultural Exchange Programs

June 24th, 2013

It is incredible to finally be starting my internship in Santiago, Chile at American Field Services Intercultural  Programs.  I have been dreaming for the opportunity to have an internship with this organization since I was 18 years old. Through this organization, a few three years ago, I was able to participate in a High School yearlong exchange program in Chile. I cannot tell you how much this marked my life; not only learning a new culture and language, but also more about myself, and my place in the world. My exchange, and this organization, marked my aspirations in life to continue learning about Latin America. These passions that I discovered while living abroad marked me with another dream; to work for an international exchange program and give others the oppertunity to study abroad.

Throughout the next eight weeks I will be working towards this dream in Santiago, rewriting, translating and creating new materials for incoming and outgoing exchange students. Furthermore, I will be able to assist in orientations for incoming exchange students to Chile, and those embarking from Chile to other countries. When I was first assigned the task I was excited since I remembered me receiving the same exact materials when I arrived to Chile and the difficulties that I had understanding the material due to cultural differences. Now, as I am in the process of rewriting the welcome packet for exchange students arriving to Chile, I am able to understand the culture barriers and mistranslations that exist in the text.  Furthermore, by understanding both Chilean and other cultures, I am able to see other important aspects that should be included in the booklet. Being able to express these culture barriers to incoming exchange students, in one way I am benefited because I have lived the experience, but in another way I will be challenged since I must find the precise way to present such material that both can be understood by the Chilean culture, and also the culture of the incoming exchange student.

Throughout my time here in these next few weeks I have many goals. On a work level I hope to further explore the culture barriers that exist in order to create a successful and helpful material for exchange students. On another hand, I strive to further deepen my connections in this global community by taking the opportunity to talk to my co-workers about their experiences working in an international organization, and also understand the work environment in a Latin American metropolis city.

This new city environment will be another adjustment as well. While I have lived in Chile beforehand, I have yet to experience living in the heart of its capital. All sorts of obstacles and interesting things have accompanied me on my way to work and about the city; the bus system that does not operate on its schedule, the dancers on the streets, the empanada señor (vendor) who will have my order by heart by the time I leave, and all the beautiful international culture that is embedded in this lovely city! I am more than ready to explore!


2 thoughts on “Hola Santiango, Chile! The diaries of an internship abroad in American Field Services Intercultural Exchange Programs

  1. Danny Freeman

    Nice post…! Moving away from the comfort of your books and theories to a company, where putting your skills into practice and facing real challenges is really amazing. An internship is a absolute contrast to the student lifestyle that you are accustomed to and usually involves long hours and hard work. However, it is a great opportunity to gain experience in your chosen field and to see professionals in action. In short, an internship is a brief taste of real full-time employment. I also had such awesome experience when I was doing an Internship with theinterngroup.com . In short, taking an overseas internship offers many benefits. It promises to be a memorable and enjoyable experience but more than that it offers you the chance to impress potential employers by proving your abilities in a real working environment

    1. Erika Post author

      Thank you Danny! Yes you are completely correct. While it is quiet the adjustment, it also feels like a great accomplishment to finally apply your studies to the workplace, and feel like you are making a difference in the world. I checked out the link you sent me as well, I am always happy to see others have the same understanding of the great benefits that are available of an internship abroad. Not only does it improve your language skills, but you also gain a greater understanding of the work place in a foreign culture.


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