Surf School / Chile
(cortesy translation from German)
I started my program (1 month at a language school + 6 month working in a surf school) in November 2014.
Randomly, during a internet research, I found the company Chile Inside. I wrote them, got a really nice answer directly and liaised into the program. In Germany, I was in my apprenticeship and I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to do that my whole life. I always had in mind to try something different so I decided to go for the Working Holiday program. Why for such a long time? Why not? I finished my apprenticeship and I thought I could do something different and think about what I would like to do in the future.
A Word and a blow – I booked the program. Chile Inside helped me with all, booking the flights, insurance etc. (Many thanks for that again!)
My flight was on 31 of October 2014 and the following day I arrived in Santiago de Chile. There at the airport I got transferred to the bus terminal. Arriving there, I had the first problem. Related to the fact, that I didn’t speak any Spanish it was really difficult to express what I need. Even if it was just asking where I could buy a bus ticket to Pichilemu. However, I worked it out and soon after I was sitting in the bus to Pichilemu. About Pichilemu, there isn’t much to say. It is located about 3,5 hours south-west of Santiago. I like it immediately. A small little town, located by the water, beautiful weather and lovely people.
At first, I went to a language school for 4 weeks. The teachers were really helpful and kind. If you didn’t understand something they tried to explain it in a different way, so at the end you got it. I had school from Monday to Friday three hours per day, either in the morning or afternoon. Related to this I had enough leisure time to do surfing, explore the village and relax. On the weekends, I went to Valparaíso with people I met in the hostel. (the same hostel where I was living during the Spanish course). However, in Pichilemu during the summer you can do lots of stuff. There are surf contents at Punta de Lobos around 6 km to the South. Apart from that, there are so many lovely places where you can go to drink “Pisco Sour” and enjoy the amazing sunset. Afterwards there are lots of opportunities to go out and party or relax in a bar or you just stay longer on the beach.
The month at the language school passed quickly. Before I started my Working Holiday program I was a little scared if my Spanish skills would be good enough…as I had just started learning it for about 4 weeks. And then the Chileans.. they all speak with a very weird accent – so I thought.
Arriving at the surf school they received me with open arms. The staff, all youths around 20 years old supported me a lot to improve my Spanish. They couldn’t speak English, I couldn’t speak Spanish. So I got thrown into the deep end. It wasn’t a problem at all, as they took the time to explain me everything. The owner Elvis speaks English and sometimes he helped me out if I didn’t understand something at all. I also lived in his house. He has a lovely place just 5 minutes away from the beach by bike. I was living there for the first month until the “Cabañas” got finished.
From the middle of December until the middle of February I worked there with another German. If I wanted to switch to German, he was my only option. All in all I was happy, that I had to speak Spanish every day, like this you understand it faster.
The work at the surf school consisted in serving the national and international clients. Apart from that you had to take care that the equipment was in a good condition. Moreover I had enough time to surf every day, too. Except for the high season, as it got busy from January until March because the Chileans were on holiday, too.
Many Chileans take holidays and spent their time on the beach in Pichilemu. So it is the place to be to get to know Chileans and to learn Spanish. During that time I had one day off per week. But no worries, you travel a lot. Almost every second weekend we did a surf trip to different beaches around Pichilemu. Elvis lives here since 25 years and knows a lot of people. In the north of Viña del Mar he has Friends, where you can relax in the amazing beach house. In the South he knows someone who leases a beautiful house with sea view.
If we were going somewhere else we just camped on the beach.
I went to Pichilemu to practice surfing. In Germany I live a lot of kilometers away from a good surfing beach and never had the opportunity to practice this lovely sport. For Elvis, this wasn’t important, he took me with him to every trip. Moreover he knows a lot of people in Santiago. Most times when he went there to buy stuff for the surf school I could go with him. Due to this I got to know a lot of people who work in retail with surf equipment and brands.
In Pichilemu we made lots of “asados” (Barbecue). A lot of people from the surf school attend as well as a lot of Elvis’s friends who he has known for years. Sometimes I was invited to their houses, too, and we drank tasty Chilean wine or Pisco till the end of the evening. Unfortunately, at the end of May my time finished. How fast time passed I didn’t realize until now. During this time I learned Spanish and got to know so many lovely people. I will never regret that I decided to go for 7 month to Pichilemu. It was the best time of my life. I do not regret anything! With many people, I keep contact and we text almost every day. I am pleased to have made this experience.
Many thanks to Chile Inside for this perfect arrangement. But also to the team of the language school and my surfing school for this unforgettable time.