Chile strikes the perfect balance between valuable internships that boost those ever important career credentials and travel destinations to satiate even the greediest wanderlust. Unless you’re a geography buff, you’re probably not too hot on the names of the main urban areas outside of the capital city of Santiago; but never fear, we’re here to give you the low-down on the best cities in Chile to find internships.
Although she looks long and skinny on the map, Chile definitely keeps her internship opportunities around her middle, in Santiago and the nearby urban mass that comprises the two seaside cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. That being said, internships in Chile in other parts of the country are possible, and grant access to the far smaller, but no less appealing, towns and cities.
Wherever you’re based, it’s a given that you fall in love with the country’s superlative landscapes while learning how to punctuate every Chilean sentence with a po as you grapple with a new form of Spanish.
1. The Country’s Business Heart: Santiago
Santiago doesn’t have the same relaxed, bohemian reputation as its Argentine cousin, Buenos Aires; instead, it’s a credible global business environment where interns cut their teeth in one of South America’s strongest and most stable economies.
Referred to in some circles as the catchy “Chilecon Valley,” Santiago is the obvious choice when looking for an internship in Chile to spice up your resume. As the commercial, political, and cultural center of the country, the past decade has seen the Chilean Government doling out financial initiatives to foster an atmosphere of innovation and enterprise, where small businesses and start-ups can thrive. This has also positioned Santiago as the innovation and entrepreneurship hub of South America, making it an exciting time for international internships in Chile in business and marketing.
Add into the mix the fact that various businesses from the U.S. and around the globe have strong links with Chile, and interns have the recipe for developing an impressive professional network alongside their business skills. With English spoken by foreign businesses and local start-ups where Spanish is the language of choice, interns in Chile will have no choice but to up their language game. Universities in the Santiago area are also some of the best in the country, and internship programs in Santiago frequently allow participants to continue studying alongside on-the-job learning.
But, Santiago isn’t just a place to learn shrewd business skills or a new tongue; the main business districts of Vitacura, Providencia, and Santiago Centro are located close to the colonial heart of the city, which is perfect for after work exploring. A mere few stops on the metro is trendy barrio Bellavista, the city’s epicenter, Plaza de Armas, and the scalable Cerro Santa Lucía with its unobstructed views across the whole metropolitan area. What’s more? The Santiago Basin is lined on one side by the magical backdrop of the icy-peaked Andes and the lush wine-growing Concepción Valley which continues to the Pacific coast. On your days off, you can be skiing in the mountains in the morning and paddling in the sea after lunch.
Need help getting your search started? Check out IES Internships Summer Placement in Santiago
2. Chile’s Coastal Jewel: Valparaíso
In a Chilean beauty pageant, the bohemian and hip harbor city of Valparaíso would win hands down. Its rambling cobbled streets are a jumble of exquisitely painted street art and significant cultural monuments; you can even check out the Nobel Prize Winning-poet Pablo Neruda’s third home, La Sebastiana, which represents the arty, relaxed atmosphere of the city.
An hour and a half by bus from Santiago, but feeling an entire world away, it’s the second largest city in the country (when combined with nearby Viña del Mar) and ranks as one of the best cities for internships in Chile. Thanks to its excellent location as a coastal hangout and short bus ride from Santiago, Valparaiso provides the ultimate blend of seaside tranquility and big city access for interns in Chile.
Built on a series of 44 hills and with the incredible, ancient, and uncomfortably rickety trolley buses offering passage up the steep hills, it comes as no surprise that architecture internships are popular in Valpo. Smaller businesses are on the lookout for marketing and legal interns, and choosing to work in Chile with these types of enterprises can mean more chances to get your hands dirty than with a standard internship program with a larger company. Previous interns, for example, have found themselves translating legal documents or even running a marketing campaign, proving that during an internship in Chile, nothing’s out of the question, if you show you’re willing to use your initiative.
With a number of vocational colleges and four universities, Valparaiso is rich pickings for educational internships (as well as opportunities for teaching English). Plus, your internship will go hand in hand with Spanish language lessons. Combine this with Valpo’s lively student nightlife and bar culture, and you’ll soon be chatting to locals keen to practice their English, making Valparaíso a no brainer city for internships in Chile.
Ready to call Valparaiso home? Check Out Valuable Internships in Valpo with Adelante
3. A Trendy, Modern Coastal City: Viña del Mar
A 20-minute bus journey along the white-sanded Chilean coastline and you’ll be in the more upmarket city of Viña del Mar. Literally meaning “Vineyard by the Sea,” it was once the hacienda of the Carrera family, but it is now a wealthy beach town. Apartments overlook flower-lined avenues and the azure waters of the Pacific, while the area is renowned for being a popular summer and weekend hangout for wealthy Santiaguiños. Located a mere stone’s throw from Valparaíso, Viña is one of the best cities in Chile for interns who want to live in comfort, but still be within striking distance of this charming, cultural city.
A nationwide push to learn English means a steady demand for English teachers, tutors, or classroom language assistants, so education internships in Viña del Mar are widely available; you could even say they are as plentiful as palm trees. These types of internships guarantee an excellent introduction to lesson planning and classroom management for those seeking a career in education after their internship in Chile.
Want to jumpstart your career? Check out ELI's Internships in Vina del Mar
4. Overlooked and Unexplored: Concepción
Although it’s the third largest city in Chile, few outsiders have heard of this unassuming city that was founded in 1550. Damaged significantly in the 2010 earthquake, Concepción has little in terms of attractions for tourists, but it makes up for this in elegant old buildings and its array of lively bars serving the large student population.
What makes Concepción ideal for internships in Chile is the surrounding countryside, which sets it up as one of the best cities in Chile for agricultural internship opportunities. Organizations instructing women in establishing their own sustainable farming businesses operate in this region and provide an excellent insight into the agricultural industry and the realities of life for women in a country where the legacy of “machismo” lives on.
Ready to explore the Chilean countryside? Look into Interning in Concepcion with South America Connections
5. City of Volcanoes: Puerto Varas
Definitely one for the bucket list, Puerto Varas is a mere minnow compared to the other cities in Chile on this list. Lakeside and towered over by not one, but two volcanoes, this city is the stuff that wacky internship dreams (after you’ve eaten a bit too much cheese) are made of. It’s the perfect antidote if a big city internship in Chile isn’t for you. Its more southern location is both ideal for visiting Patagonia and for interning with a local magazine to write about it. Prime nature, such as the beautiful Saltos de Petrohué, a set of beautiful waterfalls, and the captivating national parks of the nearby archipelago, Chiloé, give Puerto Varas the edge for interns looking for a small city that’s still bursting with life.
Want to experience life in a smaller Chilean town? Consider a Paid Internship with International TEFL Academy
Now that you know the best cities in Chile for internships, how do you choose between them?
While the majority of internships in Chile are crowded around the Santiago and “Middle Chile” region, internships in rural areas or smaller towns are available for those willing to do some digging. Regardless of where you wind up, the ease with which you can take an inexpensive overnight bus journey or even hop on a flight and be hundreds of miles away within a couple of hours makes the whole country accessible. Weekend breaks or short holidays to the Atacama Desert in the north or the hiking Mecca, Torres del Paine, in the south are a must, and will prove that Chile is the undeniable King of places for internships in South America.
It won’t be an easy choice to make. With these five stellar cities in Chile to choose from and countless internships, you’ll need to really sit down and give it some serious thought. What are you looking for? The overlooked and unexplored? The business hub? Make a wish list and see which cities in Chile check off the most boxes. Compare internship programs side-by-side with myGoAbroad, read reviews, reach out to past interns, and really do the legwork to ensure your time as an intern in Chile is well spent.