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An Expat Talks about Living in Santiago, Chile

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Santiago

How long have you lived there?

7 months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Finding other expats here in Santiago is not very difficult at all really. Just take a stroll down Isidora Goyenechea or El Bosque and you´ll feel as though you found a street somewhere in the U.S. On one side of Isidora you have Bennigan's and directly across from that you find Starbucks's, Ruby Tuesday's and Hooter's. If you walk down the street just a bit farther you will come across TGI Friday's as well. In any of these places (especially at Bennigan's and Starbucks) you will find PLENTY of expats. You can also find, in the same area on Roger de Flor, a place called Cafe Melba which is run by a woman from New Zealand and caters specifically to the expat, English-speaking community. Not too far from there is the NY Bagel. There is certainly no shortage of places in Santiago to find fellow expats.

Expats living in Chile interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Chile interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Santiago is a very diverse city in terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural matters. They seem very accepting of any religious groups but I have noticed here a strong tendency towards "classism" and a definite prejudice (among some) towards any darker skinned people. There is a definite divide among different social classes. Homosexuality is also something that is not well tolerated here. Of course, this is not true of all people here, it is just an observation I have made about some general tendencies.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

The job market is a bit tough here just now but if you teach English, you shouldn't have a problem finding work. Also, anyone in the technical (computer) or health fields should not have trouble finding work either. Although it is possible to find work before you come to Chile, most employers prefer that you are already here in Chile before they hire you.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Here in Chile, I believe that I read that they have the longest work week in terms of hours than any other country. I can believe it. Work days can be very long. I've also noticed that days begin later here for folks but they also end later. Eating your final meal of the day at 10 or 11 o'clock at night is not an unusual thing at all. On weekends however, the city is virtually closed except for the major supermarkets and the big malls. Most weekends you will find Chilean families either going out to one of the many parks around the city or spending the day at one of the malls. Restaurants and pubs mostly don't open on the weekends until after 4pm.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

I would tell a friend looking to move here to learn a little Spanish first, don't bring everything you own with you because you can find all you need here and prepare to have a wonderful, new cultural experience because Chile is an interesting and beautiful place to live.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Aug 27, 2012 07:52

I lived in Santiago for 2 1/2 years - as a semi-retired Canadian. I can emphasize the comments above in the section labelled ".. religious, racial, etc.."I met Chileans, mainly well educated and professionals. In my opinion, they tended to be racist, sexist, classist and gay-intolerant.

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