After five years in Chile, I firmly believe that the best thing a Chilean can do to better his or her life is to leave Chile. Traveling is ok, but to get the full benefit, a Chilean should live and work abroad, ideally for at least a year. Working in another Latin American country is ok, but to get the full benefit, a Chilean should try to live and work in the US, Europe, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand or another well developed country with a completely different culture and set of values. It’s easy to see the difference in attitude in a Chilean who’s been abroad and one who hasn’t.
Both upper class Chileans and non upper class Chileans should leave Chile, but for different reasons. For non-elite Chileans, their lives get instantly better getting out of Chile’s classist system. They instantly have more opportunity, are more likely to get evaluated for who they are, how smart they are and not their skin color, where they went to school or their last name. Non-elite Chileans quickly realize that lighter skin and blonde hair isn’t always aspirational in every part of the world. (more…)