Fall 2017

Kate Bird (Wellesley College) Centro Tecnológico para la Sustentabilidad (CTS)

During my semester in Santiago, I had the opportunity to intern at the Centro Tecnológico para la Sustentabilidad (CTS), a center focused on agroecology, renewable energy, ecotourism, and other topics in sustainability. The center is located in Buin, a city to the south of Santiago. The CTS aims to promote natural resource conservation through education and community outreach, particularly in the Maipo province surrounding Buin. The CTS is also a practical example for students at the Instituto del Medio Ambiente (IDMA), a technical institute based in Santiago. My work at the CTS was focused in agroecology, and I primarily worked in the greenhouse, raised beds, and field areas of the center. I had two supervisors at my internship: Santiago Peredo Parada, a professor at Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH) and a partner of the CTS, and Claudia Barrera, the director of the CTS. Every Wednesday, when I was working at the CTS, I also met and worked with many other employees at the center, an aspect of the job that I loved.

My primary task was assisting with the agricultural aspects of the CTS, through which I was able to learn about the sustainable agricultural techniques the center implements for pest control, fertilization, and more. The CTS is completely organic and does not apply any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. Instead, the center implements practices such as compost fertilizer, ecological corridors, and crop rotation to perform these functions. On a weekly basis, I helped with a huge variety of different tasks at the center. Some weeks, I harvested crops such as chives and lettuce or, in the greenhouse, oregano. Other times, I transplanted lettuce seedlings in the raised beds or sowed bean seeds in the field. I was frequently weeding and preparing the soil for a new crop. One of my favorite aspects of the internship was how, every day, all the employees cook and eat lunch together. I loved the welcoming community of the CTS and admired the patience and dedication of everyone at the center!

Laura Dillon (Middlebury College) Museo de la Memoria y Derechos Humanos

I worked at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in the international relations and production areas. I helped coordinate a conference that took place at the end of my semester. The event was centered around Dr. Farhad Khoskohavar, a professor from Iran who studies the radicalization of Islam, especially in Europe. I learned a lot - especially how to coordinate a conference from beginning to end, including attending meetings, inviting academics, and planning logistics. I also gained much understanding of human rights in Chile and the issues that the museum works to resolve and present. At the end of my internship, I felt comfortable and familiar in the museum, I learned many different things, and saw how the different museum areas work together to keep the museum going.
One of the most interesting and surprising things I did was the research at the beginning of the internship, looking for relevant academics and professors from Santiago to invite to the event. I discovered many centers of study of religion and very active religious society in Santiago and learned that Santiago is a center of religious coexistence - with very large and influential Islamic and Jewish communities, as well as the majority Catholic community. Another of my favorite things to see was the role of marketing and communication in the production process of a conference and the social tools they use to advance knowledge of the museum and human rights. The work that the museum does in these areas is very important and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to help, even if only for a few months.

Mike Nunziante (Middlebury College) FOSIS (Fondo de Solidaridad e Inversión Social)

Because I knew that the city had been experiencing an influx of immigrants over the past several years, I wanted to use my internship as an opportunity to learn about communities with high numbers of migrants and experience firsthand how Chilean organizations were helping to integrate the different cultures that were arriving to Santiago. Through my work with FOSIS and the Chilean state’s Ministry of Social Development, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the logistics of community development work from the administrative, state-sponsored end in Santiago. With my supervisor, I visited working-class communities with large immigrant populations from Haiti, Peru, Colombia and other countries.  I learned firsthand about FOSIS’ focus on interculturalism and how they are working with NGOs and other partners to facilitate their community development initiatives with cultural integration at the forefront.
    I also had the fortune to split time between FOSIS and one of their partners, Colectivo sin Fronteras, with which I participated in the field. I spent about 10 weeks working with Colectivo in a marginalized community called Población 6 de Enero. In this time, with the support of Middlebury’s Sustainable Study Abroad grant, I was able to purchase five ukuleles for music lessons with the kids. After a few weeks, the kids decided that they wanted to make a music video about the effects of drugs in their community. It was an absolute privilege to, through this part of my internship, share with the children a creative way to speak up about issues in their community. Overall, I can confidently say that I have grown immensely through the balance of administrative and field experience and the knowledge of community work that I gained through my internship in Santiago.

Audrey Pan (Middlebury College) Fundación Caserta

Fundación Caserta is a non-profit organization that works to create a well-rounded and comprehensive education. For this, it implements programs focused on a vision of human development that integrates the corporal, emotional, cognitive and spiritual domains. It works in a systematic way with  school communities - management teams,  professors, parents and students - of various educational units in the country, privileging  those in vulnerable situations. They are inspired by the quote, “To inspire humans to cultivate their well-being and happiness” and work to achieve this goal by continuing to improve their programming.
As an intern, I got the privilege to work with an amazing team of directors, professors, and  students. Each week, I accompanied a class to a park outside of the city and taught a valuable lesson to the students. I helped develop programming as well as give feedback each week to strengthen lesson plans. I was also invited to meetings at the office where my voice was heard and my opinion was asked for. The team I worked with did an amazing job of  always making me feel welcomed. I was always asked to share my thoughts and although my Spanish isn’t perfect, they encouraged me to speak up and express myself, helping me fill in vocabulary that I didn’t have. I had a wonderful time during this internship and learned important skills such as professionalism, communication, and lesson-plan developing.

Spring 2017

Nicole Bañales (Swarthmore College) Museum of Memory and Human Rights

During my time as an intern at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights I researched a topic of my choosing using the museum’s collection of books, video testimonies, archives, and journal articles. I was given a computer to complete my research in the Center of Documentation in the museum and worked alongside another intern from Brazil and two research librarians who guided me in finding all the resources I needed. I also had two supervisors, María Luisa Ortiz, the director of collections and research, and Walter Roblero, the research archivist and manager of the oral archive of the museum. They would routinely check in on me to make sure I had all the resources I needed and to answer any questions I might have.

For my own investigation, I decided to follow the museum’s 2017 theme of syndicalism, focusing on the experiences of female labor unionists during the dictatorship in Chile. I spent the first few weeks learning about the history and policies of labor unions throughout the twentieth century in Chile, particularly during the dictatorship when they were severely repressed. After choosing to focus my investigation on the female experience, Walter, my supervisor, led me to four video testimonies of women who had been labor union leaders clandestinely during the dictatorship. After watching their testimonies, I decided to focus my investigation on their experiences as well as the processes and policies throughout the twentieth century that contributed to their discrimination as female labor union leaders. I recommend this internship to any student who is interested in the themes of memory and human rights who want to investigate a specific topic related to these themes. The museum has an abundant supply of resources and people who are always willing to help. 

Olivia Collens (Middlebury College) CoLab - Pontifica Universidad Católica

I worked at CoLab, a social innovation laboratory located at the San Joaquin campus of Universidad Catolica. I was involved in the organization of the Alto Impacto program, which acts as a start-up accelerator for specially chosen entrepreneurs, and also researched ways in which the lab could integrate science into their methods. The CoLab team was very friendly and gave excellent guidance. There are many different areas and projects available to work on, so it was important to be self-starting and have a clear idea of the outcomes of the work. Social Innovation is on the rise as it becomes ever more necessary to find holistic solutions to social problems, and CoLab was a great opportunity to surround myself with exciting new ideas and try to contribute to the betterment of society.

Natalie Figueroa (Middlebury College) FOSIS (Fondo de Solidaridad e Inversión Social)

During my semester abroad in Santiago I had the pleasure of interning with FOSIS (el Fondo de Solidaridad e Inversión Social) with their Intercultural team. FOSIS is a governmental organization that provides social programs in over 15 regions to provide the skills for its users to overcome situations of poverty and social vulnerability. FOSIS in recent years has taken a multidimensional approach in how its functionaries interact with its users as their cliental has broaden through the years. It's Intercultural team works with directors of their other regional offices to educate their workers on the growing migrant population that is appearing in the demographics of users. As part of their Action Plan for the following two years, FOSIS is working to make migrant education a priority through workshops and programs for their migrant users as well as educational workshops and activities for the employees of FOSIS to inform them of the reality of the migrant situation in Chile.

During my internship, I created a contact list of over 70 organizations based in Chile that work with migrants for FOSIS to contact and coordinate future projects (one which will begin in July 2017 with Colectivo Sin Fronteras). I also evaluated Excel data from four sessions of their educational workshops (Taller de Sensibilización) for their employees to see its effects on providing a just understanding of the reality migrants face in Chile and diminish preconceived notions  that affect relations between the functionaries and migrant Man sits at the end of a long table with files on it, listening to headphonesparticipants of FOSIS programs. I was able to attend the following version of the workshop done in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Migration to see their work in person. With all the information I collected I created a 30 page diagnostic report on my findings and suggestions. I also contributed to making graphs of demographic data of their migrant clientele for their first office wide diagnostic report on migrants in FOSIS programs.

I loved being a part of the formation of a project meant to bring people together in a better understanding of the recent and growing migrant population in Santiago. The team welcomed me with open arms and made sure I had different facets to explore my interests. I value my time spent with FOSIS because they valued the work that I contributed to and will incorporate it into their national reports. My experience helped me shape my future career plans and helped me gain more of a global perspective on the topic of migration as it plays out in the Americas.

Alice Roberts (Middlebury College) Red Campus Sustentable

During my semester in Santiago, I worked in communications as an intern for an environmental agency called Red Campus Sustentable that´s goal is to implement sustainable practices and make changes that promote sustainability in the administrations of Chilean universities. I worked every Tuesday and Wednesday 5 hours a day at the Facultad de Economia y Negocios building a communication plan for the organization. My hours were spent learning about the office atmosphere, researching other environmental organizations across the world, researching sustainability at a university level across the world, and analyzing the platforms of communication that RCS has. Throughout the semester I used my research as a basis to evaluate the external and internal communication of RCS and create a communication plan, that consisted of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), the specific messages and goals that RCS wants to portray, their ideal audiences, and the strategies and actions that RCS will need to use to better their communication to reach a broader audience. Not only have I learned a lot about what it means to work in the field of communications but what it means to work within a small organization.

During this semester, I was the first person from Middlebury to have this internship I did a lot of work and research that can be used later as a basis for the next person to work in this internship. My tasks included conducting interviews with directors and associates of RCS, analyzing the organization´s website, and researching other environmental organizations to create a SWOT that I later presented during a semiannual meeting with representatives from all the associate organizations and universities and directors of RCS. Following this, I created a list of some of the best players in university sustainability across the world, analyzing their websites and forms of communication to use as a basis for my next task. My final task with RCS was to create a communications strategy plan that the organization based on other plans that I have seen and researched but specialized for RCS. This plan includes definitions of the key messages that RCS wants to communicate and definitions of the direct and indirect audiences of the organization. This also includes strategies and activities that RCS can use to communicate their message and definitions of the communication platforms and how to best use them to reach the most people and bring in new people. There was also other day to day tasks that I completed that included translating the RCS website to English to allow RCS to reach an international audience and research and translate other environmental organizations like AASHE so that the directors at RCS can have a base of information to help them better their company.

Fall 2015

Isabel Gross (Haverford College) Museum of Memory and Human Rights

The Museum of Memory and Human Rights has multiple functions: to preserve and examine the history of the Chilean dictatorship, to educate the public about human rights, to provide a space for victims and relatives to share their stories. Often, these functions intertwine; thus my internship, while focused on research, will also contribute to education efforts, as the report will be publicly available via the Museum’s digital library.
    During my internship at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, I investigated the participation of women’s groups in the resistance to the dictatorship. I focused particularly on those groups from the Chilean regions, rather than Santiago, as these have not been studied as thoroughly as the groups from the capital. The culmination of the project was a fifty-page report detailing my analysis of ten different organizations.
    The majority of my research consisted of reviewing primary source material—mainly audiovisual interviews, but also public speeches, open letters, pamphlets, founding documents, written testimonies, letters, photos, and telegrams. Moreover, toward the end of the internship, I participated in an interview with a community organizer of indigenous and rural women. Drawing from all of these sources, I formulated an analysis of the structure, rhetoric, and specific actions of each group and generated comparisons between the different organizations.
    While I passed much of my time doing research in the library, I was also invited to attend my colleagues’ lectures and presentations, and to participate in the discussions that followed.

Sophie Kapica (Middlebury College) CoLab - Pontifica Universidad Católica

The CoLab is an organization which serves as an incubator for social innovation in Chile. It located in the Pontifical Catholic University’s Center for Innovation, a very high-tech and modern building. In the CoLab, everyone sits around a communal table in an open office space; there are no walls. It was very different from any work environment I had previously experienced. Through this internship, I learned a lot about the social innovation space, specifically in Chile. I was able to speak and work with innovators in the field, including the CoLab’s leader Sebastian Gatica. The work is fast-paced, and there is never a dull moment.
Specifically, my work entailed helping to create a prototype for a Latin American social innovation platform. I worked with a Chilean intern as well as the CoLab’s director, Sebastian. The work was very open-ended, and the other intern, Cris, and I often had to think outside the box to figure out the best way to complete the project. Additionally, I worked to create evaluation metrics for social businesses, which had been part of the CoLab’s social entrepreneurship competition, Alto Impacto. Lastly, I helped translate the CoLab’s website from Spanish into English.
Overall, the best aspect of my internship was being able to get to know a group of really smart, caring, and welcoming Chileans. I truly enjoyed getting to spend time with the CoLab team and getting to know them better. While many of my classes had other international students, which made it hard to get to know Chileans, my internship was an amazing opportunity to make friends with other Chileans.

Spring 2013

Arantxa Gallegos (Wellesley College) Crea+

Crea+ is a non-profit organization dedicated to the academic improvement in mathematics and development of special skills through the implementation of school based programs for children in first grade to eighth grade. Crea+ hosts two programs (Math Program and Skills Workshops) every Saturday in select schools that are located in social-at-risk communities. The goal of the organization is to offer extra mathematical support and encourage the development of a variety of skills, such as cooking and writing, to the extent of their will and not their reality.

My internship with Crea+ stemmed from the necessity to investigate the low attendance rates in the education programs offered every Saturday. With the use of research tools such as surveys and interviews aimed at the students, parents, professors, and volunteers, I was able to develop a guideline for the investigation. The investigation seeked to determine overall the following: what obstacles did individuals face to attend or be allowed to attend the programs, was there knowledge about the programs and its hours of function offered, the impact of external and internal support, improvement recommendations, and reactions to the possibility of changing the date and hour of Crea+. Using a margin error of 5%, the surveys were conducted to a select number of students, professors, and parents during school hours and meetings. The purpose of the internship was to utilize the investigation results to improve accessibility and knowledge about the programs offered and to increase attendance. The internship required a full-year intern to complete the process and analysis of results. My accomplishments with Crea+ were limited to the creation and implementation of the surveys for the first semester of the school year. Nonetheless, the internship exposes the intern to the different areas of the organization and the education system in Chile. It also enables contact with the students, professors, volunteers, and parents and to carry out ethnographic work when plausible.

Micaela Palermo (Wellesley College) Crea+

Internship Video
Internship Video

During my semester in Santiago, I volunteered for an organization called Crea+ dedicated to the growth and development of the mathematics programs in the public schools. They send a professional math tutor into the classrooms during the week to help the teachers improve their techniques and then hold Saturday sessions for the students. I was a co-teacher in the first grade classroom on Saturday mornings where we worked on things such as counting, simple adding and pattern recognition to name a few. In the afternoon most of the volunteer taught a workshop of their choosing to the kids ranging from kung-fu to English. I taught a creative writing course with mostly fifth graders in the class. It was such a rewarding part of my abroad experience. I loved the people that I worked with, and seeing the growth in my student's learning over the course of the semester was truly amazing. I would recommend this volunteer option to anyone who enjoys working with kids or has an interest in someday becoming a teacher!

Erica Van Sciver (Bates College) EXPLORA

EXPLORA is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting a culture of science and technology across Chile, especially among students. Their goal is to provide fun, educational opportunities outside of the classroom by organizing events such as debates, museum expositions, and science fairs.  My responsibilities were varied, depending on the day and the project I was working on. Day-to-day I would assist with the coordination of any events-whether it meant working as a monitor for a neuroscience exhibition at La Moneda or calling schools across Santiago to invite them to participate in a debate. I also had larger projects that I worked on over a longer period of time. I helped organize a city-wide science fair for high school students, primarily by coordinating the review of their projects by professionals in science and tech-oriented fields. I also pursued my own independent project of organizing an excursion for a group of Santiago high school students. Working in conjunction with the Valparaíso-based (and Middlebury-founded) organization Manos Verdes, we brought a group of 45 students to Quintay to learn about the science of coastal ecosystems. This internship provided me with wonderful opportunities to work both in and outside of the office setting. I would recommend an internship with EXPLORA particularly for people who are interested in education and/or STEM-related fields.

Georgia Whitaker (Bowdoin College) Museum of Memory and Human Rights

This internship with the Museum of Memory and Human Rights (el Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos) in Santiago provides interns the opportunity to learn about Chile’s recent history and gain practical experience in archival research. The goal of the Museum is to provide a public, educational space that commemorates and sheds light on the thousands of human rights violations committed by the 1973-1990 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship. The internship is in the Archival Center (el Centro de Documentación, or the “CEDOC”) of the Museum, and provides interns access to a specific archive that they will review, document and analyze throughout the semester. Though the specific archive will likely vary each semester, in my internship I reviewed a digital archive kept by the Argentine police and the Argentine Embassy in Chile during the early 1970s to monitor the flow of leftist political dissidents who gained political asylum in Argentina after the Chilean coup d’état of September 11, 1973 and who were assumed to pose a threat to the Chilean dictatorship and/or to the Argentine state. I reviewed these immigration records and compiled an Excel document that tracked the names of all the individuals recorded by the Argentine government and a brief description of why the Argentine police perceived them to be a political threat. In the last several months of my independent study, I also wrote a 30-page research paper that used these archival records as evidence of the early roots of the infamous Operation Condor in Chile and Argentina. This internship is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in archival research, to learn about Chilean history, and to interact with a body of international Spanish-speaking interns and supervisors. A solid background, or at least a strong interest, in recent Chilean history (and preferably South American Cold War history more generally) is necessary in order to make sense of the primary documents. Previous archival experience is not necessary, though would likely be helpful.