So far this week, two people have written to me asking for advice about moving to Chile. Since I believe that things happen in threes, I’m anticipating the third and writing this blog post.
When I decided to move to Chile, I didn’t ask anyone anything. I just decided. Then I did it.
Looking back, this probably wasn’t the best way to go about it. Granted, everything has worked out for the best, but I now truly believe that people shouldn’t make such big decisions without thinking it over first and making sure it’s the right decision. That being said, if you’re moving here for love, that’s a different story. I have my opinions about that as well but I’ll just keep them to myself for the time being.
So, why should you move to Chile, specifically, Santiago?
|One of my favorite classes|
If you love speaking Spanish and want to improve. Or, if you want to learn. I personally did not learn Spanish here in Chile (that happened in El Salvador) but I know plenty of people who have. There are lots of language schools in Santiago. Chilean Spanish can be tricky, but it’s by no means impossible. I caught on (with a significant background in Spanish) in about a month or so. Of course, I’m constantly learning new chileanismos (like this one), even today.
If you can telecommute or work from home, Chile is a great place to live, because it’s less expensive. Rent is significantly cheaper in Chile than in most places in the U.S. If you live in Santiago, there’s no need for a car. You can literally get almost anywhere in the country by bus. It’s pretty amazing. Some things are more expensive or the same, but overall, I live much simply and cheaper here in Santiago than I would in the U.S.
|The sobremesa is one of my most favorite of Chilean traditions. It’s when you sit around and talk after a meal, sometimes for hours. At my host family’s house, this often includes music and singing.|
If you’d like to live a slower-paced life, with long weekend lunches, lazy Sunday afternoons, and a looser concept of time, then Chile is great. This is probably the thing that has been the hardest for me to adapt to (I can be a bit impatient) but it has taught me to relax and enjoy life more.
|Lota, a city in the south of Chile, near Concepción, which I think looks very “Chilean”.|
If you’re open minded and willing to learn about a new culture, Chile will welcome you with open arms. It’s different from the U.S., but not so different that everything is 100% foreign. Parts of Santiago look so much like a U.S. city that sometimes I forget that I’m in a foreign country. But then again, there are many more parts that are 100% Chilean. Also, as a rule Chileans have a good attitude towards people from North America and Europe. There’s little anti-U.S. sentiment that I’ve felt in other countries. (On the other side of the coin, Chileans can be very prejudiced against their South American neighbors, especially Bolivians and Peruvians, but that is for another post).
So I hope these help anyone contemplating a move to Chile. Stay tuned for future posts on the subject!