LINC Santiago | USC Student Blogs
Chile On My Mind - KJ

So our final presentations have been presented and our LINC course has officially come to an end. It seems like just the other day when I was hurriedly packing, in a constant debate with myself between not bringing too much stuff (over-packing) yet at the same time creating the scenarios when I would need a particular article of clothing or outfit. Though there were a great deal of similarities between Santiago and Los Angeles, nothing can quite be compared to being in a different country. Chile brought with it having the opportunity to meet people who grew up with people of all different backgrounds and colors, yet are still united by a language, Spanish. Reflecting back now, one of the things that surprised me the most was that on the streets, it didn’t matter what you looked like or what color you were, those who lived in Santiago would automatically assume you spoke Spanish and that says a lot about the culture; it’s broad-minded, welcoming, and embracing diversity not only of its people but it also shows in its food. Within a walking distance of our hotel was restaurants of all different cuisines, all side by side, and all Chilean owned. There have definitely been many days when I crave the delicious Peruvian-Asian fusion food I enjoyed on the final night of my time in Chile and more so I think about all the unexplored restaurants I hope to be able to come back and try. Being able to travel to Chile was nothing short of eye opening and great, and with just a short yet packed week being spent there, I definitely want to come back later on to further explore and sight-see.

And in regards to business, my time in Chile really opened my mind to entrepreneurship and when establishing a business overseas things to consider. Throughout our company visits we were exposed to a lot of different industries and how it didn’t take a new invention to be a successful business owner but that it can be something like producing toilet paper or a sustainable type of wood and marketing it well to gain market share in a country. Getting to tour these companies and hear from the speakers opened my mind in such a way that just as I would walk around parts of Santiago, I would think “oh, they don’t have this or that” and plan how I could bring that to Santiago and integrate it. It was a very valuable experience because prior to visiting Chile, I didn’t have those same ideas of running a business internationally.

That being said, all in all, I loved Chile and our adventures are far from being over.

Hasta Luego!

Missin’ Chile - Justine

We’ve been back for over a week now, and Chile has been on my mind. I kept my pesos in my wallet and now I’m reminded of the trip all the time. We’re all preparing for our trip presentations that we’ll turn in on Friday which will include all of our take aways from the trip. 

Obviously, spring break being long gone is disappointing because classes have revved up in preparation for finals (only one month left of classes!) But I’m also finding myself missing being in country. Chile was unlike the US in the obvious ways — no one spoke much English, the dollar was no where to be found, not too many American cars on the road — but it also still had the familiarity of the US experience (they had a 5 story mall which played English pop songs of the past 5 years, I also had a donut from Dunkin’ Donuts before getting on the flight to Lima.) Chile is coming into its own by following in the steps of other developed countries. Before this class, I had no idea how capitalistic the country was.

Planning that began six months ago came to an end last week, and it’s still surprising just how much we accomplished in that time. I know I’m very thankful to USC and Marshall to have had the chance to go abroad as a freshman and even get learning done. Well this is all from me for LINC 2014. Thanks for reading!!

-Justine 

Santiago = City of…Dogs? -KJ

Throughout the many explorations from all around Santiago, what seemed to be a common finding was the abundance of stray dogs that would freely roam the city. These dogs ranged from German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, to even smaller mixed breeds that all sought out shade or food near many highly populated establishments. I couldn’t help but feel sad for these dogs but was also very surprised to see how those around seemed to be accustomed to the dogs.  And they could literally be found ANYWHERE. During one of our trips to the highest point in Santiago which overlooks the entire city, we found at least 3 dogs including a Husky at the top.

As much as I wanted to adopt these dogs, and as friendly as they were towards people given that they’re exposed to so many throughout the day, the 13 hr flight as well as dorm room accommodations wouldn’t quite be the environment fit for them. Attached below are pictures of some of the dogs I came across as we toured different places in Santiago. I definitely miss seeing them around and only hope that in the future they’ll be able to find a proper home.

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Adios, Santiago! - Sneha Chug

So it’s Saturday and our flight is in about nine hours. It feels unreal. This trip has been so much fun and so informative. All of the speakers have been so wonderful to listen to. Personally, I must say that I took a liking to the factory visits because I loved walking around them and seeing the process as it happened.

We visited ArchQuimetal, which is a company that takes advantage of the abundance of copper in Chile and processes it further. This adds value to the good as they create chemicals, solutions, fertilizers, pesticides and more. We also visited a CMPC paper factory. Their business covers forestry, pulp, paper and tissue. We saw the entire process of them developing pulp into toilet paper, paper towels and diapers. 

It has been very enlightening to meet people from different industries and holding different positions in their respective companies as it helped me develop ideas on what I want to do in the future and how I want to do it. A lot of the companies mentioned that sustainability and CSR were very important and I definitely value and respect how much they are doing to help the community and the environment. 

All in all, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my spring break any other way. I actually kind of wish we had some more time here!! 

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A compilation of pictures from the week!
-Justine

So now what? - Justine

It feels like we’ve been in Santiago for a year and only three days all at the same time. With how packed our schedule was, we did more things here than I thought was possible over the course of a week. Today’s our last day and I’m headed to Marcado Central for shopping and dining. I could be more excited to get out into the city just as a tourist for the first time this week.

It’s shocking to think that we visited over 10 companies in less than 7 days, but there are still more people to talk to and connections to make. This trip helped me understand so much what it is like to do business in another country and how their culture and customs can seem alien.

The main theme of this week was definitely that Chile is open for business and they’re hungry for it. Chile has fantastic opportunities and currently is looking to showcase it’s power globally. Copper, food products and forestry are their top three exports which put Chile in a fantastic global position for expansion because they have stable footing than can launch them into the future.

So as the title of this post says, so now what? So now, we return to LA tonight to create presentations for LINC. It’s very bittersweet leaving the busy, Spanish speaking streets of Santiago for Los Angeles, but you can only escape classes for so long. So now, we return to share our knowledge of what Chile has to offer the world and maybe someday come back to help this country reach new economic levels.

Until next time, Chile!

¡Hasta levista, baby! -Justine

It’s almost over :( -Sneha Chug

I can’t believe it’s already Friday! The fact that we fly out tomorrow seems kind of crazy. It feels like we’ve been here forever but it also feels like we just got here yesterday. We’ve been extremely busy the entire trip and getting sleep whenever and wherever we can has become a skill that many have now acquired. 

Every day has been very unique, both in the sense of what we’ve done and who we’ve met. We’ve gotten a chance to explore a bit of Santiago, visit museums, see the changing of the royal guard, and other tourist-y things, while also spending one of the days in a conference room in the hotel listening to a very diverse group of guest speakers from different backgrounds in business. 

More detailed post to come, but here are some pictures to give you a glimpse of what we have seen. imageimageimageimage

Throwback Thursday: Chile Edition -KJ

These past 5 days sure have been full ones. The amount of appreciation I’ve come to have for naps is insurmountable and the dawning of the end of spring break is starting to set in. The four hour time difference has been a bit difficult to get use to as well as meal times (you end up eating dinner between 8-10 at night because it feels so early) but all in all I don’t regret coming on this trip to Chile!

As someone who is interested in entrepreneurship as a career field, one of the companies that came to speak to us that really interested me was Fundacion Chile which aimed to promote innovation and new business within Chile. The fact that the company’s mission was to actually help companies succeed by providing them with tools and resources to make it, particularly for foreigners, was great and I could definitely see myself being a part of something like that.

But it hasn’t been been just all suits and ties (okay 89% of the time it has been but…at least you always look important), we’ve gone on a lot of touring around the city as well (more details to come). Everyday has been greetings of sunshine and 80° weather, even the nighttime has a nice enough temperature to not need a jacket. Santiago has been like a Los Angeles away from Los Angeles and I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for us.

The Trip That Wouldn’t End- Justine

STORY TIME! 

Flash back to Saturday: We arrive at LAX perfectly on time and made it through baggage check and security safely. The buzz around the students is all concern over the 13+ hour plane flight with no layover. Will our laptops/ iPads/ Kindles/ phones/ electronic device of choice last all of the flight? Will we be fed? Are we allowed to get off the plane to eat? How long until Lima? Can I really sit next to someone for that amount of time without killing him/her? How different is Chile going to be? Can I sleep for the whole flight? Clearly, we were all excited, for our international flight. The answer to the first question came immediately — USB chargers and power outlets were at every seat allowing for ALL devices to remain fully charged for the 8 hour flight to Lima. The in-flight entertainment also held hours of movies that allowed for us to even save our devices. Quite a few of us slept and most of us watched movies to pass the first flight. We arrived in Lima on time with few complaints after being fed. 

We arrived in Lima around midnight (which is 2 hours ahead of LA but 2 hours behind Chile) ready for a quick refuel, more passengers to get on board and then a short(er) flight to Santiago. After waiting an hour for the other passengers, we were starting to get a bit of cabin fever (plane pun fully intended). However, they arrived soon after and all seemed well as we took our seats. Then we waited…

and waited.

and waited.

UNTIL after we’d been at the gate for more than two hours in total, the pilot announced that they were doing a “safety check” of the airplane and it might be possible that we may need to change flights, but we couldn’t know for another ten minutes.

So we waited ten minutes…. and then five more when we hear him announce, “Necesitamos cambiar el avión. Por favor desembarque…” and all of the native Spanish speakers quickly start to gather their belongings as the pilot announced the need to change planes in English. 

I’m sure you can imagine our excitement of deplaning a flight we’d been on for 8 hours and we were perfectly comfortable in, walking through a foreign airport to another gate just to get BACK on an airplane to sit for four more hours. We were ecstatic.

They hoped to have us off the ground by 2:50 (that’s 12:50 in LA and 4:50 in Santiago). But as 2:35 quickly came and went as we stood in line watching first class get on, it became apparent that it wouldn’t quite be the case. The time moved back to 3:00 as we boarded. Thankfully, we were able to quickly board and push back from the gate with hopes of arriving in Santiago around 8. 

So we made it safe and sound (but over an hour late) to Santiago airport on Sunday morning. The exact time I’m not sure of, but I do know we all cleared customs and immigration with all of our bags. We arrived at the hotel around 10 (where breakfast was being served until 10:30) and made it to the first bed we’d seen in at least 20 hours.  

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Sneha and I were not amused. 

-Justine 

¡Vamos vamos vamos! Santiago here we come!- Justine & Sneha

¡Vamos vamos vamos! Santiago here we come!- Justine & Sneha