Reasons to move to Chile

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 your life dream has been to teach English, then by all means, come on down. There are a plethora of English teaching jobs available. See my FAQ section or these posts for more info.

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!


14 thoughts on “Reasons to move to Chile

  1. >The first time I came to Chile (in 1994) was because the flight to Santiago was US$20 cheaper than Lima. And, I only knew three things about Chile… they speak Spanish (which is what I wanted to learn), the capital is Santiago (because that's where the plane lands) and there are huge mountains called the Andes running along side it (which I didn't see during the first two weeks due to the bad smog at the time).You could say I wasn't prepared either.

  2. >I often tell people that Santiago is a pretty easy city to live in if you're coming from the US – it's different, of course, but it's not like you've moved to the moon.

  3. >Rob: That's awesome. I knew next to nothing when I arrived for study abroad, but when I decided to move here I was much more informed (having spent 7 months here previously). Glad the flight to Stgo was less expensive than Lima!Emily: No worries, blogger didn't eat it, I just have comments moderation turned on 🙂 I totally agree with you about that. Very well put!

  4. >It took me ten months to decided to come to Chile. Then only three days in Buenos Aires to decide that I wanted to go back to the US. And then it took me only two days in Santiago before I realized that I wanted to stay! And now, I can't wait to discover more of this country.El Cisne Negro equals super intense! I keep grossing myself when I think of the hospital scenes.

  5. >Living here has definitely taught me to relax more as well. I think everyone goes through adjustments at first no matter where they are, but I also agree that I often feel like I'm in a US city sometimes.

  6. >I´ve been getting lots of emails like this too lately! The "I want to take the plunge, but what if it doesn´t work out for me/what if it´s not the right thing?" I also knew just about nothing before coming here (Came at the end of February and in April realized I came without a winter coat, so stupid!)When I was on exchange and when I moved here I really didn´t even think about it. It was Chile + success – no other option. Good post I´m gonna tweet it now/maybe copy you hahaha

  7. >Nice post. I agree with those reasons 🙂 I think Santiago is a comfortable city to live in. Most gringos who come would not be making a huge adjustment. Side note: Jeez…I hope things don't happen in threes. Once is enough for some things…

  8. Wow, great post! I might be one of those people that emailed you. lol. When I was in the air getting ready to land in Santiago I started freaking out. Not only because I was arriving at 5 in the morning and I was afraid my Spanish was going to suck which it did, I was scared about the city life. I come from a small farming community in Missouri and I didn’t know how I would handle it. Needless to say Santiago surprised me. Yes, it is a huge city but as you say you can live a slower-paced life with a looser concept of time. Santiago is so different from any city I would try to describe. I fell in love with it and I’ve fallen in love with Chile. The culture, the people are just so fun to be around and interact with. I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I will be back. Thanks for the post Abby, it is very helpful! Besitos desde gringolandia 🙂

    • Hey Anthony! Yes, you were one 😉 I came from a similar background (grew up on a farm) and I agree that Santiago is a manageable city, even if you’re used to country life. Plus, the countryside is close, so if you’re looking for an escape, it’s always possible. Come back soon! We miss you at the oficina.

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