Lessons outside the classroom: volunteer or intern in Chile

Seize the opportunity to gain professional experience and an in-depth look at Chilean society with a paid or unpaid internship overseas.  

Studying abroad in Chile gives you access to a world-class education and unique research opportunities in one of Latin America’s most technologically advanced countries…but many alums will agree that most of what you learn from your semester abroad will be taught outside the classroom.
If you’re getting ready to make the big leap for a semester abroad in Chile, we’ve gleaned tips from former students in every discipline, to help make your study abroad experience the best it can be, with lessons outside the classroom.
First, we brought you Tip #1: Hiking & Trekking Clubs. Then came Tip #2: Academic and Research Opportunities. This week, we look at the ways an internship or volunteer opportunity can help complement your studies abroad.
Professional experience
Chile is home to some of the world’s most innovative social organizations and business models, exemplified by the entrepreneurial success of the Start-Up Chile seed money program. Gaining professional experience abroad is increasingly valued by prospective employers.
Such an experience proves you have: transferable skills on an international job market; the ability to work in a multicultural environment; and the passion to work on issues you care deeply about, no matter how far you are from home.
Personal connection
Internships or volunteer opportunities also put you in contact with broader Chilean society – not just your fellow students. You get the chance to collaborate with Chilean colleagues and see a different side of life outside the university.
Also, many internships offer the chance to serve the local community, whether it be low-income school children during volunteer English classes, or the elderly residents of a hospital, offering unique experiences to learn more about your host country.
Academic credit
Depending on your university and your interests, earning academic credit for your internship or volunteer work in Chile could be a piece of cake or practically impossible. Whenever possible, try to talk to your academic advisor before leaving campus for a semester abroad. It helps to give your university at home plenty of information about the organization you plan to work with and as much specific detail about the parameters of the internship as possible.
To pick the internship that’s right for you, review our guide to charities in Chile, here.