> Chile - Parallax: the life of media interns abroad
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Chile

During the summer months there is an annual mass exodus from Santiago, and every year on the first Monday of March everyone comes stampeding back, in a frenzy known as Super Lunes. The authorities have prepared for the post-vacation gridlock this year with 900 more buses while ramping up the frequency of trains on metro lines by 17 percent. As normal congested life kicks back into gear on the streets of Santiago I’ll be leaving, returning to my own normal life in Sydney.

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Poster from Chile's 1988 'No' campaign in our office

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For my last weekend in Chile, some workmates and I took a trip to San Pedro de Atacama, the driest desert on earth. I found myself awestruck by the landscapes before me, which brought to light my own futility in the face of the enormously powerful forces of nature.

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Lone flamingo feasting on brine shrimp.

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I’m writing this from the airport in Buenos Aires, taking full advantage of their free WiFi. I’m one hour in to my 11 hour overnight layover before my next flight leaves for Sydney, so I have a considerable amount of time to blog. My head is full of thoughts and emotions as my internship and my time in Chile have drawn to a close, and I’m going to write another post once I’m back in Sydney and have had a few days to properly reflect on my whole experience. But for now, I’ll write a first post about my final week as a journalist for I Love Chile

I finished my internship last Friday, after what can only be described as an incredibly slow news week. As a result I didn’t have as many articles as usual published, but I was able to do some interviews and work on some features before departing for the past five days on an amazing adventure to the town of Puerto Varas and the island of Chiloé in the south of Chile.

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Some pictures from my trip to Puerto Varas and Chiloé.

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Ever heard the saying ‘We make plans and Mother Nature laughs’? I now have an acute understanding of this dictum, as last weekend at the Wanderlust festival, Pachamama was in hysterics.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about Wanderlust , a three-day music and yoga festival that was making its Chilean debut in February. The festival giant was coming to the southern hemisphere for the first time, and I was chosen to cover it.

I arrived in Chillán, a popular ski destination 400km south of Santiago, doe-eyed and eager to begin work on my photo essay. Unfortunately the elements had other plans.

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The calm before the storm at Chillán.

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Ok I know, that's an extremely cheesy title for a blog post. But with Valentine’s Day, or as it’s commonly known here, Dia del Amor, falling in the middle of last week, signs of love were all around. From the scores of couples entwined in parks to an extent that would be considered inappropriate in most other countries, to hundreds of flowers, chocolates, oversized teddy bears and balloons saying ‘Te amo’, it was plain to see that Valentine’s Day is huge over here. I even found this on the afternoon before Valentine’s Day in the meeting room of our office!

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That’s what happens when you share an office with an online dating site I guess!

I got a chance to publish that photo on our website in a new section called ‘My View’, where journalists (and the idea is to get readers involved) publish an interesting photo each day from somewhere in Chile and write a short paragraph about it.

Read on for four other notable things that happened that Valentine's Day week!

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At 6.30am last Saturday morning (February 9), I posted the following status onto my Facebook page:

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This was just the beginning of what would turn out to be a crazy, confusing, but rewarding weekend spent covering an NGO event in the small city of Talca, about a three hour bus ride from Santiago.

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So I’m fully aware that it’s been two whole weeks since I’ve last posted. I meant to write a lot more regularly, but time has literally flown, and with researching and writing stories until past midnight, as well as spending time exploring Chile and hanging out with the other interns at work, I honestly haven’t had a spare moment!

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Some of the girls from work getting a well-deserved ice-cream on Friday afternoon.

Luckily my boss gave me the go-ahead to work from home today (I’m too sunburnt to leave the house!) and I’ve finished my stories a bit early, so I have some time to blog about what's gone on.

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It’s the end of my second week in Santiago and the longer I spend here, the more I’m convinced that if I had a little more money and didn’t have to go back to uni in March, I wouldn’t be coming home (for a couple more months at least). I feel incredibly settled here and I love this city and the people, especially all the friends I've made at the office.

What’s more, everything great is happening in April: the Lollapalooza music festival is coming to Santiago, and with it about 10 of my favourite bands, who are all also doing sideshows. And if that wasn’t enough, artists unrelated to Lollapalooza, like Regina Spektor, are also performing in Santiago around that time. What’s more, the first H&M store in the Southern Hemisphere is opening here this autumn! Yes please!

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The interns at my work

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The Santiago Times daily Pauta (news meeting) is all about choice. We review the stories of the day that need to be covered, and assign ourselves to the ones that most interest us. I feel so fortunate to have already covered an enormous diversity of topics in my writing here, ranging from national politics to arts, human rights, the environment and even finance. This has given me a taste of almost everything, helping me to decide what sort of news I might aspire to specialise in later on.

Last week I attended a press conference of President Sebastián Piñera at the Presidential palace, interviewed some of Chile’s most prominent artists, and covered some of the main stories of the day, be it water cuts, earthquakes or protests. The best part was that these stories were completely my own. I have never been given this much responsibility at an internship before and I feel one in Sydney might only have me running coffees, shadowing other reporters, in charge of social media or covering cat fashion shows.

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Riding bikes in the vineyards of Mendoza, Argentina.

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So when I last left you all, I was asleep at the airport in Buenos Aires, waiting for my flight to board to Santiago. Since then it’s been a whirlwind week of discovering Santiago and starting work as a periodista (journalist).

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On my flight over to Santiago I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous about what awaited me. To my right sat a young Brazillian kid who was trying to explain, in English, the dynamics of Facebook to a middle aged Australian man: “A Timeline? Of your life? … but who has the time to do that?” While trying to contain my giggles I looked out of the window, and suddenly all my trepidations melted away as I gazed down to the snow-capped Andes beneath me. I knew I was exactly where I should be, and couldn’t wait to touchdown.

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The Andes Mountains range, view from the plane.

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It's hard to believe it's only been a week and a half since I left Sydney, as so much has happened since then! So I'll start with a post about the four days I spent in Buenos Aires last week, and I'll then upload a new post about my time in Santiago so far.

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About the Blog

Parallax records the experiences of final year students of the B.A. (Media & Communications) degree who have won competitive overseas internships to work in Asian, Indian and Latin American media organisations.
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