Chile, the southernmost country of the world, was once described by Chilean Nobel Prize Winner Pablo Neruda as the "country made for poets." From flamingos in the world’s driest desert, to penguin colonies in the southern Patagonia region and the towering presence of the Andes, Chile's variety of natural wonders is enchanting. You will learn about Chilean culture by sharing your host student’s special traditions as they practice and teach the customs of their various ethnic groups.
Like Latin Americans in general, Chileans are friendly. Chile is a vast mixture of races and nationalities such as Mapuches (the native Chileans), Aymara, Palestinians, Jews, Italians, Asians, Yugoslavians, Greeks and Germans. Because of this great ethnic diversity, Chileans are open to many different types of people. Life in Chile is very family oriented and children are taught to have a strong respect for their parents. Most families are patriarchal but mothers do have an equal hand in decision making. Sons and daughters are treated differently with the rules for girls being more stringent.
In their spare time, young Chileans like to get together at friends’ houses or go to movies. They also like to gather in the town square, go to parties, or just hang out in the local café. Most schools have the option for after school sports and activities.
Chilean dress is very similar to Western style of dress. Students are required to wear uniforms to school. Chile goes through most of the same weather conditions as we do in the U.S.
Lunch is the main meal of the day. A typical dish includes meat (beef, lamb, pork or chicken) or fish with rice or pasta and vegetables. Dinner is served after 8 and is normally smaller portions of lunch. Food is often steamed, fried in vegetable oil, or barbecued. Fruits are varied and abundant in Chile throughout the year.
Spanish is the primary language in Chile, but English, German and Mapudungun are also commonly spoken. About 70% of the population is Roman Catholic.