How To Fall In Love On Your Chile Vacation by:Gary Sargent
Chile is an amazing, diverse, beautiful, mind-blowing, thought-provoking country. If Chile was a person, you'd really, really want the chance to get chatting to it in a bar. However, just like breaking the ice in a bar conversation, it's difficult to get to take the plunge and get to know a country properly. Most people make do with being a spectator, rushing between different tourist sites to take photos. But there is another way. You can end your Chile vacation knowing that you're a different person for your travel experiences, that you've fallen head-over-heels in love with the country. How do you do it?
The key lies in getting to know the Chilean people as much as possible before you leave. The more that you can strike up a connection with it's people, the more Chile will deliver. Try the following four steps before you get on a plane.
1) Break down the language barriers
Spanish is the most widely-spoken language in Chile, and you won't have much hope of connecting with people if you don't speak it. Tapes, books and videos are good, but no substitute for real conversation. Book yourself onto an evening or weekend class a month or two before your trip, roll your sleeves up and get chatting pronto!
2) Get some background on the Chilean mentality
A great way to get in touch with social themes and the attitude of a population as a whole is through its art. Try reading; books by some well known Chile authors such as Isabel Allende or poems by poets like Pablo Neruda are a good start. You could also get your head around some lyrics by listening to musicians such as Violeta Parra. In many examples of these people's work you can see representations of a national mind-set that transcends words and will give you a greater affinity for Chileans.
3) Do some digging on what Chileans like
We've all got points of national pride and beloved topics of conversation, and the people of Chile are no different. Try subscribing to a Chilean news website - you'll be able to find sites that discuss articles and features in English. Armed with a clear picture of what's holding people's attention in Chile and what Chileans love to talk about, you'll find yourself getting into a lot more conversations.
4) Try to meet a Chilean before you leave
This can be tricky, but you'll be able to cover all three points above at once if you can meet a Chilean living in your local spot. Try searching for international associations, language schools in which Chileans might work, or clubs and societies related to Latin America. It'll be a great opportunity to try and bend your ear around the notoriously difficult Chilean accent...
Imagine getting into an enthusiastic conversation with a Chilean about their local history, or the state of their national football team. It's not as hard as you think, and more rewarding than you can imagine! Chileans will open up to you if you take an interest in them and their country, and have the courage to break the ice in conversation. Tour companies can provide you with great destination opportunities on your Chile vacation, but only you can make the difference between being a sightseer and falling in love with Chile and Chileans for the rest of your life.
How do you prepare for a Chile vacation? Do you have any amazing experiences to share?
About the author
Gary Sargent is the Managing Director of the tour companies Escaped to Peru and Escaped to Latin America and has lived in South America for over 10 years. Gary is passionate about Latino life, people, customs and places. To learn more or to book your next adventure please visit http://www.escapedtolatinamerica.com