Spring 2016

Rebecca Freeman (Spring 2016, Wesleyan University) MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

During my internship at the Museum of Natural History, I spent time familiarizing myself with the museum- the space, the employees, and the different types of work conducted there. The museum is small but very well designed and dynamic, and the employees are all passionate about the privilege of conserving and showing the V region’s biodiversity and culture.
Half of the internship consists of getting to know the museum and interacting with the public, and half realizing a specific project related to your interests that will benefit the museum. The public aspect included assisting guiding tours of the museum for groups of elementary school children. I also attended several interesting museum guest lectures and workshops. For my project, I collaborated with the science department to develop a proposal and procedure for creating a DNA bank of the museum’s organisms, if they achieve this it will be the first of its kind in South America!

Julia Shumlin (Spring 2016, Middlebury College) SERPAJ

This semester I completed an internship at the Servicio de Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ) in a sub-section of their organization called PIE Pablo Neruda. PIE Pablo Neruda assembles teams of psychologists, social workers and tutors to offer support to youth in high-risk situations such as familial violence or substance abuse.  The support teams carry out their work with the participants by way of individual and family sessions in the office, home visits, and occasional informative workshops. All of the participants received a court mandate to participate in the program.
    My job within the organization was to run weekly workshops on gender studies and sexism.  My supervisor gave me a lot of autonomy with the project, so I was able to plan and execute the workshops independently. The workshops took place over the course of six sessions, each focusing on a particular theme related to sexism.  Some of those themes were: the learned elements of gender identity; sexism in education, in work environments, and in relationships.  Because many of the participants were not able to attend every workshop, the participants changed every week. Even so, I was able to establish continuity with some of the participants who came several times to the workshops, and these participants especially showed huge growth in the ways that they conceptualize gender and sexism. Although it was a challenge at times to make the workshops both engaging to and relevant for the participants, I ended up not only learning a lot about sexism in Chile, but also feeling that the workshops were enacting positive change in the lives and education of the participants.

Fall 2015

Mikaela Gillman (Fall 2015, University of Michigan) LA ESCUELA MUNICIPAL DE BELLAS ARTES

This semester I had the opportunity to do my internship at La Escuela Munipal de Bellas Artes.  La Escuela is a municipal art school in Valparaiso located on Calle Camila in Cerro La Loma. Students at La Escuela work toward a degree in fine arts. The students must complete eight semesters to complete their degree in Sculpture, printmaking or painting. Additionally, the school offers classes in drawing, sculpture, print making, art history, esthetic, composition, cultural management and technology of materials, all of which are required of the students so that they have a background in studies outside of there area of focus. La Escuela is small and lacks sufficient funding as all funding for the school comes from the municipality. Therefore, as an intern, I had a lot of autonomy and was able to play a very active role in the school.
    As is expected when working in the arts, my role as an intern was not extremely structured. I had three projects as an intern at La Escuela Munipal de Bellas Artes. My first was to connect the school to the world, the second was to connect the school to the community and the third was to lead English classes for the students. As is evident, the first two projects were very broad and I had a lot of input on how I would go about carrying out the projects. For me that was how I learned the most. I could choose how to go about completing my projects and when I was finished with them. I ended up setting up an art therapy workshop at a local hospital lead by one of the students. Additionally I set up an exchange with the San Francisco Art Institute and 10 students from California will be arriving in January to visit. As someone who is interested in the arts, I loved getting to work with such creative people. I also really felt that my work had value and that I was needed as an intern at La Escuela.

Spring 2015

Anna Mei Gubbins (Spring 2015, Davidson College) ESCUELA REPUBLICA ARGENTINA

This semester, I had the privilege of working at the Escuela República Argentina in Valparaíso, Chile.  I was a teacher’s aid for two separate workshops about environmental studies (5-8th grade and 2-4th grade).  The students were avid learners and it was a joy to work with them.

I helped plant seeds, built a large planter box made from donated wooden palettes, and wrote and designed the set for a play about saving the environment that the 2-4th graders preformed.  I also attended both of the weekly workshops where we would have a section of reading-based work and then break into smaller groups to put the new information into action.  For example, one day we read about recycling, and that day the students washed out the plastic bottles in the waste bins and properly sorted them into the recycling bins.

Claudio von Nostitz (Spring 2015, Wesleyan University) MANOS VERDES / ESCUELA PACIFICO

My name is Claudia von Nostitz and I am currently studying at the University of Valparaíso in Chile through the C.V. Starr-Middlebury College School Abroad in Chile Program.  I’ve had the privilege of interning with the Middlebury-founded organization, Manos Verdes, for the last few weeks, working with fourth graders from Escuela Pacífico, a local community elementary school, in an after school sustainability and environmental program.  We are working to teach the students the foundations of sustainable living, recycling, and green conscientiousness. I have worked extensively on studying the pedagogical methodology of lesson plan construction, resulting in the implementation of a field trip with Escuela Pacífico to a local cost so that the students could contextualize the theoretical lessons learned inside the classroom in an outdoor, hands-on, exploratory experience.  This lesson consisted of exploratory observation and a written and artistic based activity, incorporating themes of sustainability.  Through the investigation of ways to incorporate tactile styles of learning into through artistic expression, I have learned that environmental studies can be conducted with much more efficacy and leave long lasting impressions on the students when integrated with artistic teaching styles and strategies.  In terms of tactile or plastic artistic expression, there arises a very real way of reinforcing the themes of sustainability lessons through the execution of tactile, hands-on learning.  Through artistic education, students will have a way to contextualize and directly relate to themes of recycling, constructing, maintaining, and interacting with nature and the environment.

Claudia with Manos Verdes at the ocean

Fall 2014

Estefania, Hecht-Toltl (Fall 2014, Haverford College)  MUSEO DE LA MEMORIA Y DDHH

The Museum of Memory and Human Rights (Museo de la Memoria y Derechos Humanos -- MMDH) is a museum dedicated to the history and memory of human rights violations that were committed in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship between 1973 and 1991.  The Museum of Memory and Human Rights deviates from the typical museum, by providing the public with the necessary information to understand the various aspects of human rights and the space to reflect about Chile’s past. The museum seeks to create a space of solidarity, learning, and commemoration of the lives violated during the Pinochet dictatorship, through the use of historical archives, a center of education, and their exhibitions.
    The internship with the Center of Documentation (el Centro de Documentación -- CEDOC) provides interns with the opportunity to work with a collection of archives related in some way to the human rights violations committed by the Chilean state between 1973 and 1991. During the fall semester of 2014, I worked with a collection of archives from the provincial police of Buenos Aires, Argentina (el Servicio de Informaciones de la Policía de Provincia de Buenos Aires -- el SIPBA), to continue the register of names and information in an Excel sheet started by a previous intern. The majority of the information previously recorded focused on exiles and refugees who had arrive in Argentina from Chile, following the military coup of 1973. I focused heavily on the clippings from local and international newspapers saved by the SIPBA.
    Internship projects will vary based on the needs of museums. Other interns develop research papers based on topics of interest to the museum. Projects will most likely coincide with the focus of the upcoming exhibits that will appear at the museum. It is not required that interns know about the history of Chile, but it would be helpful for internships to read the museum website beforehand. The website provides a good summary of what it offers and what its aims.

 Reta Gasser (Fall 2014, Wesleyan University) EXPLORA

This semester I did an internship with Explora in Valparaiso. Explora is a government program under the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Investigation (CONICYT) that seeks to promote science and technology education for kids and the general public through events, talks, exhibits, meetings. It also acts as a multi-institutional coordinating body between the local schools, universities, museums and various science and technology foundations.
    Every fall they have a weeklong themed celebration of science and technology where they coordinate a bunch of events, talks, movie screenings, science competitions etc throughout the Valparaíso region. The event culminates in a celebration at the Botanical Gardens in Viña del Mar. One of my main tasks during the semester was creating a aesthetically-pleasing master document of ALL the events that were going to occur the entire week—each event with a short description. At the celebration in the Botanical Gardens I took photos and videos and compiled a short promotional video to show to those involved in Explora’s work. I also created other flyers for a variety Explora’s other events, maintained a physical file and excel document of mentions of Explora events in the press, input events into the calendar on Explora’s website and contributed to Explora’s twitter account. The work was diverse and changed with the changing needs of the team.

 Leila Schochet ( Fall 2014, Middlebury College) PPF GANDHI (SERVICIO DE PAZ Y JUSTICIA - SERPAJ)

    This semester, I worked with a social work organization called PPF Gandhi, a sub-organization of SERPAJ Chile (Servicios de Paz y Justicia en Chile). PPF Gandhi works to protect the rights of children living in medium risk situations who experience physical abuse, psychological abuse, familiar dysfunction, neglect, and substance abuse. About half of these families have court mandates to participate in the program, and the other half are usually recommended for the program by their schools, social workers or extended family members. PPF Gandhi uses a multifaceted approach to aid the children in their program; they provide psychoanalytical therapy for the children and for their families, make home visits to observe and improve their living situations, and put on themed workshops that are both informative and recreational for the children and their parents.
    My role as an intern was both active and passive. I helped to prepare and facilitate the workshops, by creating and setting up the necessary materials, and helped out during the bi-weekly events. I was able to really get to know the children that I worked with, as we would see each other several times per week. I also had the opportunity to accompany the social workers on home and school visits, where I was able to observe interviews, therapy sessions and home evaluations, and then later discuss and reflect on them with the psychologists and social workers. As a psychology major, this was a very enriching and interesting internship, where I was able to learn about a possible psychology career path, while familiarizing myself with the social work system in Chile.

 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.

Spring 2014

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.

Spring 2013

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.

Fall 2012

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.