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Annalise Carrington (Spring 2014, Middlebury College) CORPORACIÓN LAGUNA VERDE

This semester I worked with a local non-profit called Corporación Laguna Verde (CLV) based in Valparaíso, Chile. CLV works to connect children, their families, and the greater community of Valparaíso with the unique flora and fauna of Chile’s central region. By providing opportunities for the people of Valparaíso to engage with their local environment, CLV hopes to promote an appreciation for, and ultimately a desire to protect, this ecologically important region.
     This is an incredibly dynamic internship. Carlos and Paulina (the co-heads of CLV) are often involved in several projects at once, and it seems that each semester brings something new. The main projects this semester included: processing the Biodiversity Risk and Opportunity Assessment (BROA) in conjunction with Biodiversity International in selected tobacco plantations managed by British-American Tabaco in Chile and planning and organizing el Primer Encuentro de la Red de Pequeños Ornitólogos, an educational seminar for schoolchildren in the Valparaíso region focused on the native and endemic birds of Chile. Other long-term projects include work in a native plant nursery managed by Paulina’s father, and organizing and leading outings with la Red de Pequeños Ornitólogos, a bird watching group catered to local kids and their families. If nothing else, I would recommend this internship to learn from Carlos and Paulina, two incredibly inspiring and passionate people in the environmental sector in Valparaíso.

 

Evan Smith (Spring 2014, Middlebury College) EXPLORA CONICYT

During my semester abroad, I did an internship with the EXPLORA program, which is part of Chile’s National Commission of Scientific Research and Technology. With this program, I served as an ambassador between the central office in Valparaiso and the various high schools in the region with whom we worked. Our mission was to provide these high schools with the resources they needed to develop and carry out a project that would contribute significant knowledge to the scientific community or a new technology. I began my internship researching the high schools and creating a comprehensive summary of each of the projects they would be doing for the following year. Once I had a solid understanding of their goals, I began my visits to these schools. I traveled to many towns and cities where I would meet and converse with the teachers and students of these schools. My mission was to ensure that they had the tools and support necessary to carry out their projects or experiments. At the end of each of my visits, I would write a summary of what I had encountered so that the central office could document the progress of these schools and provide them with any necessary materials or advisers. Not only was I able to support these high schools and strengthen the Chilean school system, but I also had the opportunity to note some of the differences between the school systems of Chile and the United States.

Emily Hochman (Spring, 2014, Bowdoin College) Obsnatura

I spent my semester in Chile conducting a for-credit internship with
Obsnatura, a holistic health center in Viña del Mar, Chile. While Obsnatura offers a variety of treatments and services to their patients, the center primarily provides maternity care. As an aspiring nurse-midwife, my internship with Obsnatura allowed me to participate in prenatal educational classes, yoga for mothers-to-be, mother-baby yoga, as well as to familiarize myself with the work schedule and lifestyle of an Obsnatura midwife. The midwives I worked with at Obsnatura showed me it takes full dedication to do meaningful work as a midwife. Their openness with me and excitement about their professions reaffirmed my interest in the field.
     Another important component of my internship was a self-guided series of
interviews I realized at Obsnatura. I conducted informal interviews with ten
patients of Obsnatura and prompted them to share with me their conceptions of
natural birth (vaginal birth with limited to no medical intervention) in Chile and its
reception by Chilean society. Speaking with these patients confirmed, but also
complicated what I had learned about natural birth in Chile through my internship and my independent research. Many patients who opted for a natural birth intimated to me a feeling of alienation from their relatives and “others” that did not share their birthing ideals. As a midwife, I will need to maintain great sensitivity and empathy for couples that believe in natural birth but feel unsupported by those around them. My work with Obsnatura gave me the opportunity to learn closely from professional midwives and furthered my studies of natural birth in its Chilean context.

Rose Pozos-Brewer (Spring 2014, Swarthmore College) EXPLORA CONICYT

I interned with EXPLORA CONICYT, an organization dedicated to non-formal science and technology education. The mission of EXPLORA is to increase and strengthen scientific culture in Chile by developing scientific abilities through community participation in informal science and technology learning activities. Among the many activities that EXPLORA organizes, the one I worked on was a series of weekly talks, Viernes de Cultura+Ciencia. The talks are given by local experts every week in the Museo Francisco Fonck in Viña del Mar, are free and open to the public, and are about topics that range for the cultivation of certain species of fish to architecture to the culture of Easter Island.

 

Ezera Miller-Walfish (Spring 2014, Middlebury College) Southern Nature/Manos Verdes

During my semester abroad in Valparaíso, Chile, I worked with Southern Nature/Manos Verdes. Southern Nature is a non-profit organization that provides field trips and educational activities for elementary and middle schools in the region with the mission of increasing environmental awareness and providing students with the tools to work towards creating a more sustainable future. Manos Verdes is a branch of the organization, originally established by a Middlebury study abroad student, which offers the same opportunities and activities free of charge to under-funded public schools in Valparaíso. Throughout the semester, I assisted in the execution of the field trips (modifying educational materials, leading student groups, making lunch for the activities) as well as completed office-related tasks of the organization. I also worked with a school in the neighborhood where I lived to plant a garden in the school patio, a project which consisted of working to get trees and other plants donated, designing the garden with the students and a few days of planting. Overall, I highly recommend this internship; it is a very hands-on experience given that the team at this organization is small and the intern is given responsibility and the opportunity to participate directly in rewarding activities with the students.

Brian Brown (Spring 2013, Haverford College) EXPLORA CONICYT, Coordinación Regional de Valparaíso

During my semester in Valparaíso, I worked with EXPLORA CONICYT, an organization responsible for making scientific education more accessible on a national level.  My internship required me to assist during weekly talks the organization presents at the Museo Fonck in Viña del Mar.  These talks, which are free and open to the public and bring in a variety of local experts, involve a variety of topics ranging from the history of tsunamis and earthquakes in central Chile to repression, rebellion and social change on Easter Island during the twentieth century.  My job was to pass on informational materials about other EXPLORA activities, assist in the organization’s Livestream broadcast of the talks, and produce notes and rough drafts for articles on EXPLORA’s website.  I also acted as a support to the EXPLORA and museum staff by helping prepare the space for talks and using the Museo Fonck’s social media accounts to publicize each event.

Fiona Rodgerson (Spring 2013, Middlebury College) University of Santo Tomas Veterinary Clinic

The internship at the Veterinary Clinic of the University Santo Tomas is an excellent opportunity for a student studying abroad with interests or future plans in veterinary medicine. As its main function is a veterinary university, Santo Tomas provides an environment that welcomes interns and encourages learning. With its large, small, and exotic animal clinics, an intern is able to experience diverse cases, from small animal diagnostic and surgery, to Chilean racehorses, to the occasional penguin, sea lion, or even tiger. The internship involves assisting veterinarians, technicians, and other students in consultation rooms, surgery, and hospitals, and tasks vary from day to day. Not only does an internship at the University Santo Tomas Veterinary Clinic provides a learning opportunity in veterinary medicine in Spanish, but also an excellent window into Chilean culture and a way to meet Chilean students with similar interests. Interns should have some sort of foundation and knowledge about animals and veterinary medicine, but a long history of veterinary-related experience is not necessarily important as much learning can be done through observation, and tasks will become more hands on as the intern continues to learn.

Elizabeth Foody (Spring 2013, Middlebury College) Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes

During my semester abroad I worked at the Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes (National Council of Culture and the Arts) in Valparaíso.  The Council is a government organization that seeks to promote cultural programs at the local and national level in Chile. The Council has evolved from being a sector of the Ministry of Education to gaining the approval in May 2013 to become a ministry of its own. The council has a number of programs and grant opportunities around the country. They work on the local, regional and national level with the support of other government and independent organizations.
During my internship I was exposed to the public service atmosphere in Chile. I had the opportunity to attend various meetings in different departments and I was able to see the first hand reaction to the decision to transition the Council into a ministry. At the Council, I conducted analyses for the Internal Management Unit concerning delays in implementing the Council’s projects, additionally, I summarized and translated communication material into English and French and developed and presented communication material on the Council’s history, national and regional programs, budgets and goals for a best practices seminars with members from other public institutions.

Cliff Bueno de Mesquita (Spring 2013, Middlebury College) Corporación Laguna Verde

During my semester abroad in Valparaíso, Chile, I had an internship with a local environmental organization called la Corporación Laguna Verde. I worked on three projects with this organization. One was working in a nursery, planting, transplanting, and caring for endemic species as part of a larger reforestation project. Secondly, we went on field trips with kids to teach them about ecosystems and species, with a focus on observing birds. Lastly, I worked on an atlas of endemic species that are found in the Valparaíso Region. Future interns will probably work on all if these projects too. If you like working outside and are interested in learning about the biodiversity of Chile, this internship is great. The team at this organization is small and has its hands full, but they are great people and I enjoyed working with them.

Lizzie Gooding (Spring 2013, Middlebury College) Laboratory of Geomatics

This internship with the University of Valparaiso is a great opportunity to work with a profession cutting edge team of geographers from the area, practice GIS and other special technology skills and interact in an academic setting with graduate students and professors from the area. The principle task of the intern is to act as a teacher’s assistant to graduate students for the Laboratory’s class “Diplomado en Geomática”. This class is designed to teach not only geography students, but also students and professional from a variety of backgrounds, including biology, economics, and the environmental sciences. Depending on the semester, work may also include involvement with the university’s sociology department in their project Empleo360, which looks to start an online spatial based employment service in conjunction with the department of geomatics. Solid GIS skills (particularly in the latest version of ArcGIS are a must and previous courses or professional work recommended; additional skills that would be useful include experience with remote sensing, photogrammetry, GPS, geodesy, GoogleEarth, and MapSource. 

Liza Pine (Fall 2012, Wesleyan University) CESFAM Concón

This semester I have been interning at CESFAM (Centro de Salud Familiar) Concón.  This public primary healthcare facility treats patients within the municipality of Concón and focuses on family health.  The facility offers dental care, a minor surgery office, radiology, a women’s reproductive health doctor, a clinic for respiratory infections, kinesiology, a psychologist, a small emergency room, a pharmacy, pediatric nurses, and a staff that makes house calls to patients.  I have been working with Director Yasna Fernández Barrera each week to rotate to a new office to learn about patient care and to study how the public healthcare system functions.  I am directing my observation here towards a larger study of global health and of the healthcare system in Chile. With the information I gather here, as well as with additional research, I hope to propose a plan for a global health program for Middlebury College in Chile.  This program would help direct future Middlebury students with an interest in pre-medicine or pre-health professions in their study of global health and the Chilean health system in a socially-conscious manner, and would provide them with internship and research opportunities.