Culture Shock in Chile



Expats in Chile will not have a hard time adjusting to the Chilean culture, as their lifestyle is very similar to the Western culture with a Spanish streak. Santiago, one of the major cities, is highly westernized, but managed to retain its rich Latin American flavor. 

Spanish is the national language, so an expat moving to Chile is better off if he or she could learn the language. Chileans are proud of their history and culture, so adopting their language is well appreciated, especially in the business world.

Chileans approach business in a very personal way, often finding jobs through third party referrals. Most of your business dealings will be done with third party introductions. Titles are important. Address everyone according to their profession, for example, one with a PhD or a physician should be called "Doctor", teachers like to be called "profesor", engineers should be called "Ingeniero", architects go by "Arquitecto" and lawyers are called "Abogado". Everyone else without a title should be called "Senor" or Mr., "Senora" or Mrs., and "Senorita" for Miss, followed by their surnames.

Most Chileans are punctual in meetings, and you are expected to do the same. Their conservative demeanor is reflected in the way they dress. Don't wear anything flashy and colorful, and stick to more formal attire. 

When attending social functions, greetings are done with men giving each other hearty hugs and women kissing each other on the cheek. Chilean wine is considered a national treasure, and remember to never hold a bottle of wine with your left hand. Always keep your hands above the table during meals. Chileans stand close to you when they talk so don't look surprised if they do so.

Living in Chile provides you a slower pace to enjoy more of life, as Chileans like to do things in a relaxed manner.


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Moving to Chile



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