Santiago….it’s big, it’s unknown and it speaks a foreign language. Also, it does the latter in an notoriously fast way using lots of Chilean specific words. In fact Sid, my solo local friend, sent me a crib sheet with so called Chilenismos (Chilean Slangs)….hmmm rather worrying.
Not speaking the local language really isolates a newcomer so…..Chilean Spanish I must conquer you soon but firstly lets build a social network here to help me integrate and connect with local startups, opportunities and fun activities.
I’m using a number of different channels to do this including Facebook, Internations, friends of friends (good old face-to-face way), Foursquare, Meetup and a A Small World. Let me tell you a bit about the three I found most useful:
I found that there is a number of ways to leverage this global social network.
- Message friends that have roots in Chile
- Write status updates to let people know I am are here which may lead to someone being referred to me or one of my friends actually being in Santiago and
- Join facebook groups related to Santiago or other fields/activities I am interested in such as Startup Chile.
This social network is proving itself indespensible to me in so many ways including flat hunting, finding a bicycle to buy and connecting with expats. Two key features:
- There is a powerful member search function in Internations that allows one to search members by profession, education, residence and origin. For instance, I connected with Simon Forgacs, a Hungarian who is here being funded by SUP Chile to startup Kipu Linguas (an online education platform).
- This platform has lists of local expat groups such as A Horseback Riding group which I joined and will go horseback riding with this Sunday. I can’t wait!
I cannot emphasise enough how amazing this site is. This platform provides access to tons of meetup groups which meet for a wide variety of reasons. In London there are thousands of meetup groups ranging from tech to cupcake baking groups. In Santiago I joined a couple of tech meetups which will hopefully get me integrated into the local startup scene.
So far I am attending a Startup Chile event (using Meetup), a horseback riding day (using Internations) and I’ve connected and arranged to have coffee with 4 people in the coming days (using various social networks). Should be a fun week 🙂
Thanks for reading 🙂
- Flying to Santiago – the beginning of a new chapter (miklosgrofblog.wordpress.com)
- Time to find a flat! (miklosgrofblog.wordpress.com)