I was surprised I had not met more Italian immigrants in Chile.
Judging solely on the displeasure about life in Italy that I feel while surfing social media and online magazines.
In two years in Chile I did meet a bunch of Italian expats.
But in small numbers compared to the Spaniards, favored by the language, followed by English and French.
Santiago, in the bottom left corner of your map, offers a relaxed lifestyle, eight-months long summers, perfect waves two hours away – if only the water wasn’t freezing – and the best ski resorts in south America.
Chile also sports the highest quality of life amongst south American countries.
Despite the students protests of the last couple of years the city is very safe. Cops are everywhere and the Chilean Carabineros allegedely are the only policemen in the continent that do not accept bribes.
Chilean Spanish is not easy at first and locals indulge in the use of slang terms.
Cost of living is slightly lower than Italy and allow around 300E for a room in a shared apartment in one of the best hoods in Santiago.
Return flights Milan-Santiago will set you back 750E so coming home for roast dinner on sunday is just not feasible and do not get me started about long distance relationships.
Living in one of the east comunas of Santiago is not different from living in any given European capital.
You will find the same top level infrastructures and facilities and the ubiquitous shopping malls with the same shops and same fast foods joint we are used to.
In the further comunas crime thrives and life is very rough.
But for the lucky ones there is any type of amusement and since a few months smoking indoor has been banned.
Bellavista is the major destination for latin music and street art and you will find the Chascona, Nobel-prize Pablo Neruda’s home in Santiago.
Hipsters ride fixed bikes on Avenida Italia where the trendiest design shops shine.
Electronic-music fiends and reggae-lovers will dig Downtown party scene.
Chile offers job opportunities for the specialists of the mining industry. World’s biggest mining companies run offices in Santiago’s business district and operations in the north of the country (the Calama-Antofagasta-Copiapó triangle) and pay high wages.
Workers of agriculture and farming will find better luck in the south. Some of the fruit people eat daily in Europe comes from Chile. Same goes for some of the world’s best – and cheapest – wines.
Digital industry is one of the most dynamic of the continent following the lead of Start-up Chile, a program of the Chilean government to attract world-class early stage entrepreneurs to start their businesses here.
Getting a working visa is straight forward once you sign a contract and the process is usually facilitated by the employee.
Before leaving the country foreigners can get their tax back, usually around 10% of the monthly pay.
Best online resources for jobs are:
Same rules for finding a job abroad apply here. Sending CVs from home has very low chances of success.
You have to hoop on a plane and go for it.
I got lucky. Took me a month to find a job for a financial newspaper and got offered a spot as online advertising account executive for the largest Chilean media conglomerate a year later. For way better money than I used to make in Milan.
Plans sometimes do not run as smoothly and you might find yourself broke and unemployed calling mom and dad at home begging for money to pay a flight home. After three months spent settling down and sending cover letters. But during that time Santiago will have got under your skin, with its pink sunsets from Cerro San Cristobal and the neverending beers in Parque Bicentenario.
The legend tells that when God created the continents he ended up with many leftover pieces. And he placed them one on top of the other to form Chile. Along the Pan American highway you are bound to see glaciers, forests, lakes, beaches, rivers, fields as far as the eye and the driest desert in the world.
Dear friends think about moving to Santiago.
It is one of your best chances to work and detox from the stress of living in Italy.
Forget economic crisis and Serie A soccer.
In a warm and relaxed country.
It is not as glamorous as Australia or California but waves barrel here too.
And you’ll always have social media to bitch about Italian politicians.
Stefano Frigerio, last seen in Santiago seven months ago but missing the Capital a whole lot.