Possibly moving to Chile

All things related to Moving to Chile, tips, tricks, FAQS. Here is where to exchange information between those that have already moved and those planning to move to Chile so you do not need to learn the hard way. Please also check Living in Chile forum for related information.
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Kyla
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:56 am

Possibly moving to Chile

Post by Kyla » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:35 am

Hello! I might be moving to Chile where my boyfriend lives, and I was mainly wondering how long it takes to become conversational in Spanish- I know next to none. Or how much you can get around at least for awhile speaking English. Santiago, specifically Lo Barnachea.

thisisreallycomplicated
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Re: Possibly moving to Chile

Post by thisisreallycomplicated » Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:30 am

Kyla wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:35 am
Hello! I might be moving to Chile where my boyfriend lives, and I was mainly wondering how long it takes to become conversational in Spanish- I know next to none. Or how much you can get around at least for awhile speaking English. Santiago, specifically Lo Barnachea.
I've been here since 2011, and I still don't speak any Spanish.
“Now it’s conspiracy – they’ve made that something that should not even be entertained for a minute, that powerful people might get together and have a plan. Doesn’t happen, you’re a kook, you’re a conspiracy buff!” – George Carlin

Donnybrook
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Re: Possibly moving to Chile

Post by Donnybrook » Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:21 pm

It very much depends on individual ability with languages and how much you interact locally. People from the USA sometimes find it more difficult as they are exposed less often to other languages - aside from the states where there is a high Spanish speaking population, Europeans are more used to hearing other languages and seem to be more at ease with learning. Not speaking a language which surrounds you is isolating and you miss, or misunderstand, a lot of what is happening around you. Basic Spanish, being able to express needs and opinions and be understood, should be achievable in a year. Ability and vocabulary grows from there.

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admin
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Re: Possibly moving to Chile

Post by admin » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:33 pm

I know people that have been here 10+ years, and still speak little to no Spanish.

On the other hand, I know people that speak totally fluent Chilean Spanish, and Chileans still treat them like they don't know what they are saying just because they are a foreigner. Chileans have a tendency to hear even a slight foreign accent, and they will just mentally shutdown. You can see it their eyes, as the light just goes off upstairs. It happens mostly among the low educated, never travelled, type Chileans; but, I have also seen it among some fairly rich, well educated, well travelled Chileans.

I like to take those people, corner them, and keep talking to them to the realize the only way to escape is to give you what you want or otherwise deal with you.

I would go with, don't worry about it. Yea, day to day things get a little easier as you speak more Spanish, but surprisingly not much.
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hlf2888
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Re: Possibly moving to Chile

Post by hlf2888 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:52 pm

Yes admin. I have witnessed that phenomena. Would call it gringosis. fear of accents.

mem
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Re: Possibly moving to Chile

Post by mem » Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:09 pm

hlf2888 wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:52 pm
Yes admin. I have witnessed that phenomena. Would call it gringosis. fear of accents.
GDS - gringo derangement syndrome

Julito
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Re: Possibly moving to Chile

Post by Julito » Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:59 am

I´ve struck it too. I put it down partly to the fact it´s a mono-culture. Unlike multi-cultural societies where we´re used to hearing all sorts of accents every day and from time to time having to slow down and speak clearly to be understood by immigrants, many Chileans shy away from foreigners, or alternately simply don´t realise they need to slow down and speak clearly to be understood, so give up and avoid them.
There´s also a genuine shyness in the culture, unlike say the Argentinians with their effusive outgoing Italian influences. They often comment on the cultural shyness among Chileans.

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tiagoabner
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Re: Possibly moving to Chile

Post by tiagoabner » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:46 pm

Spanish should take around 24 weeks to learn to a basic level. Source: https://www.state.gov/key-topics-foreig ... -training/

Although yes, Chileans can shut down when hearing a foreign accent. My strategy is usually to bulldoze through their shyness, although I don't face this too often.

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