-Where were you born?
Los Angeles, California, USA
-In which country and city are you living now?
-Are you living alone or with your family?
With husband and three kids
-How long have you been living in Chile?
On and off for a year and a half and now moving permanently
-What is your age?
-When did you come up with the idea of living in Chile?
I have been working in the media in Santiago as a consultant for the past year and a half. I have been traveling to Latin America for the past 15 years for work and I find Chile a very easy place to live and work and have found an excellent school for my three daughters. It just seems like a perfect fit.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?
Not at all difficult to get a tourist visa and as long as you have a job, the work permit is straightforward.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
Again, this is not complicated if you have a job. After living in Scotland for 5 years, it is a shock to have to pay so much for medical insurance, but it is comforting to know I have excellent medical care and a pediatrican...something I took for granted until I moved to the UK.
-How do you make your living in Chile? Do you have any type of income generated?
I have accepted a partnership in a consulting firm in Santiago. I realize I may not be like the typical person reading this website. My husband is a freelance journalist and is working outside of Santiago a great deal. It isn't easy to find a job unless you are part of the international teaching rotation.
-Do you speak the local language and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
I speak Spanish fluently which is required in my line of work. Although many Chileans speak English, it is imperative to have knowledge of the language in order to find a well-paying job. Chileans by and large are well-educated and those that speak English are either well traveled or attended one of the many English standard schools. If you are traveling outside of Santiago or dealing with the average Chilean you will need Spanish.
It is important to note that Chile is still a very Catholic and traditional. There isn't a great deal of PDA on the streets and the club scene is mild compared to most other tourist destinations. Chileans dress more stylish and European than American and while some young women may wear revealing clothes, they aren't trashy. So it is best to respect that.
-Do you miss home and family sometimes?
LA is ultimately home but I have lived all over the world. Chile has so much to offer that I'll be too busy to get homesick. If you like the outdoors then you have one of nature's largest playgrounds at your front door.
-Do you have other plans for the future?
I'd like to see more of Chile, especially the south. For work I will be traveling a great deal throughout Latin America.
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
I am renting a home. It is quite large, but reasonably priced compared with a similar home in LA or a similar neighborhood in any capital city in Latin America.
A three-bedroom home in El Arrayan (Californians, think Topanga Canyon) can run between 1000- 1400 dollars a month. 500,000 - 700,000.
A similar sized flat or apt in Las Condes will run about the same.
You can find less expensive and possibly larger, older flats in Providencia for less, but anything lower than 400 dollars a month will not have amenities.
-What is the cost of living in Chile?
Again, this is NOT your typical Latin American city. It feels more like Southern California than South America. The cost of living is surprisingly high, especially for luxury items. The stores in the malls are pricey as well, but if you look around, there are great farmers' markets, good second hand furniture and great discount clothing stores.
Private schools are pricey if you are coming from Britain where you have good local schools, but the education is fantastic. The prices are similar to any good American private school.
-What do you think about the locals?
The locals are great and very multicultural. Big diversity due to the large number of European immigrants. There are large German, Italian and Spanish communities. Most Chileans are well-educated and worldly (mostly because of the european roots), but they do tend to stereotype Americans.
They are extremely courteous, although not as friendly as other Latin Americans. Unless you are in an area of only indigenous people, you will see many fair-haired, light-eyed locals so don't expect to stand out unles you are are in typical tourist garb and being obnoxious...or paranoid. Outside of purse-snatching, the crime is low.
I am surprised at a previous comment regarding the men in Chile (complaining that the construction workers make catcalls. This happens in any country! Have you been to NY lately?).
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Chile?
I'd say the earthquakes are definitely a negative!
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Chile?
Don't assume that Chile is like other developing countries. The standard of living is high, but you pay for it. Again, an issue with the previous reader who complained about the standard of living and has no heating: Who can live off of 600 dollars a month in ANY capital city and expect the comforts of the States? Heating is costly. I have wood burning stoves in my house because the heating costs are insane. There are stores everywhere selling every appliance, gadget, gizmo you get in the States, but they cost MONEY.
If you are on a shoestring budget, plan your journey or your stay well or you will run out of money quickly.
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about Chile?
For the lates news (in Spanish)
For regional news written mostly by citizen journalists: