AIESEC PRAHA

Friday, July 23, 2010

One year after Chile trip

I can´t believe it has been a year already. On the same time but a year ago, I was in cold Chile in developed capital of Santiago talking Spanish and being surrounded by „latino“ people, eating „palta“ and seeing dogs everywhere.

I went to Chile for a CEED (Cultural envoy for exchange development) experience. Maybe most of you know it. To be sure, it is a kind of internship among AIESEC committees which has the purpose of sharing more information and using a helpful hand from another country. Part of my work was to lead a small team of sellers, thanks to which I got a great experience. First one was the team experience – it was interesting, difficult and challenging at once (Guess why - different country, language and with different personalities :) ) And the second one - I got to great company meetings and even got inspired by big bosses there. Some other stuff I did was to support and run education in incoming exchange area, discuss ICX strategies and cooperate with other TLs etc... What inspired me a lot was an opportunity to be a newies track facilitator in local conference, lead one LC meeting just in Spanish or participate as delegate on TtT track leaded by a German guy...

But it was not just about work but as well about people and things happening around me.

Before leaving, I was not prepared for something called „cultural shock“or for sadness, which was waiting for me. First days were really difficult. After some time something had changed and I started to feel more comfortable. Even in situations where I felt like a real stranger were usually funnier for me than embarrassing. I started to talk more Spanish (actually it was very needed because of low ability of Chile population to talk in English), eat more „palta“and I got used to on first moment strange habits of Chile.

„Palta” case

„Palta“means avocado. Chile plants a lot of avocados and consume as much as they can Avocado is part of any kind of burger, sandwich, hot dog. Very famous is hot dog called „Italiano“, where you find sausage with ketchup, mayonnaise and avocado. Now you can image how the name was created... Another tradition connected with palta is called „Once“. „Once“ is a late dinner which consist of home baked bread, cheese, ham, some vegetable and of course avocado, which is used instead of butter, mixed with lemon. Actually, “Chilenos” put squeezed lemon almost everywhere.

Shopping case

Shopping sometimes looks very easy, but with security rules of Chile it gets kind of complicated. When you want to buy something in small shop, you can see all the products they have and you can just ask what you want. Then you receive a paper with description of product you want to buy. With that paper you have to go to the cash desk. There you pay and afterwards you can go to another part of shop for your product, and you have to prove your new ownership by bill. So, if you sum it up, to buy something you have to stay sometimes in 3 queues. Nice

Employment case

Chile tries to provide as many working places as they can. Therefore you can find people packing your bought food in supermarket into bags, people showing you free place for parking on the street, people showing you if there is an empty street during reverse from parking lot. A lot of interesting work places, where people don´t have big salary and part of their earning are tips.
. That was just a few examples of differences I find out. I didn´t count the way of people talking, moving, living on the streets and out of capital city. I saw a lot of places and it´s interesting, how easy are to remember everything when you went through all of this thanks to your own experience.

I found great new friends there and surprisingly, I am still checking some their news on Facebook, I was thinking of them during the Chile earthquake with fare, I imagine how they are doing now during so strong winter.. Even it is already one year, I still take care.

To sum it up, I still remember the people I met very well. All the experience I had is also unforgettable. Finally, I am so glad to have a supermarket with avocado from Chile close to my dorms.

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