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Living in Chile

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Chile Blog Reviews
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In the beginning, there was darkness. Then, Part I of Chilenoís never-ending guide to living in Chile.

T his article is designed for foreigners who want to try living in Chile. Experienced expats are encouraged to sound off, and Chileans are more than welcome to read along. One good place to start is with a very common question locals ask: "Why did you come to Chile?"

Why do people move to Chile?
When you go online, most sites paint a very limited picture of what it is that an expat in Chile does: study abroad or teach English.

But when I step back to think about what my expat/transplanted friends and acquaintances do here in Chile, and I rifle through my list of bloggers in Chile, the diversity of experience is baffling, as it should be. People currently come to Chile to:
  • Yes, teach English
  • Yes, learn Spanish
  • Yes, study abroad
  • Yes, travel
  • Yes, experience a different culture
  • But also
  • connect to their roots
  • save money
  • pursue business opportunities
  • be deployed by their government/corporation
  • be married
  • work in non-profit orphanages
  • make films
  • raise children
  • report news
  • bum around
  • be a celebrity blogger
  • do academic research
  • write books
  • And thatís just what Iíve seen.

    Work Opportunities Available in Chile

    Teach English
    This timeless, archetypal - perhaps the oldest occupation of the
    (young?) expat. Iíve never done it, but based on what Iíve heard from a close friend and a few other people who have spent plenty of time living and working in Chile teaching English, I wouldnít touch it with a 10 foot chalkboard pointer.

    According to those I spoke to, the typical day revolves around calls to studentsí homes, workplaces or public places like a bar or cafť. I havenít heard of anyone with the ďluxuryĒ of a 9-5 shift teaching English in a single location.

    Nor have I ever heard of anyone making more than $10 an hour.

    Add to that, youíre spending most of your day scurrying around the sprawling city of Santiago with a failed (and, relative to your teacherís income, expensive) transportation system, the now-infamous Transantiago.

    Top that off, itís not an exception to the rule, but rather a matter of course, that students will flake out on you. Anyway, if you really feel like hating yourself, go find out more about teaching English at Woodward.

    Much better is to do what I do:

    Freelance on the Internet.
    Donít depend on the Chilean standard of living, where a monthly salary of US $1,000 is ogled at and unattainable by most. Rather, go international.

    There are lots of expats who make a living off the Internet, in dramatically different ways. Kyleís a celebrity blogger and then thereís sluggers like Olivier actually a kids&mortgage-tier Internet entrepreneur, whoís taken his expat roadshow to all four corners of the world, and recently made the move to Chile.

    Then again, total squares can get a job at Met Life or, like Joel, the front desk of a hotel. That requires the whole Work Visa nonsense and more importantly, to me at least, the idea of moving to a foreign country to get a boring office job raises existential questions that jeopardize the clarity of this article.

    Wheel and deal
    Then there are a bunch of others schemes people have going on. I heard the guy who destroyed La Tercera website by making this clunky-ass flash program meant to simulate the physical experience of reading a newspaper Ė Iíd never seen anything so 90ís-tastic and, quite frankly, inhumane. He was a gringo and apparently made a lot of money.

    So keep your eyes wide open for opportunity, if thatís what youíre into.

    Thankfully, however, La Tercera has moved on.

    Other schemes include film production. Actually, thereís plenty of room for honest work there. All this talk of work is making me feel slightly nauseous.

    Well, that wraps up Part I of Chileno's Guide to Living in Chile. Here's a sneak preview of Part II:

    Cost of Living in Chile
    This is something I havenít actually calculated yet, and I wonít unless one of you kind readers would like to defray my own cost of living in Chile and sponsor a serious study, by me. In the meantime, Iíll just point to a price list on Page 4 of:
    http://www.teachingchile.com/pdf/cost.pdf

    There's lotsa inflation in Chile too.

    ...

    I haven't even scratched the surface of the cost of living in Chile. That's coming up soon.

    For now, though, Iím really tired and Iím about to take off for a couple of weeks Iím gonna bring this to an abrupt halt. Until I get back to this, what are ytour thoughts on the cost of living in Chile, renting an apartment, finding work, etc.

    © Copyright 2005 - 2012 Chileno