Week 1: Meeting Colleagues
By Elizabeth Pietanza
Starting any new job can be a source of anxiety, but I found that feeling a bit exaggerated going to work for my first day at Deloitte in Santiago, Chile. This is my first time in Chile, and my first time to function professionally in a Spanish-speaking country. The typical worries of learning a new organizational system, demonstrating competence and getting to know a host of new colleagues were intensified by insecurity in speaking the language and lack of knowledge of cultural particularities in the work place. However, by the end of the day I was already distant from the fears and worries that had crept up on me that morning. Everyone in the office was incredibly welcoming and I felt comfortable in my surroundings. Except for kissing everyone on the cheek upon meeting for the first time, as is customarily done in Chile in most contexts, the environment seemed similar to what I know from my experiences at law firms in the U.S.
At about the same time I traveled from San Diego to Santiago to begin work as an intern, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos traveled from Santiago to San Diego to pursue his diplomatic duties. While I was studying provisions of the recent Chile-USA Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Lagos was speaking about the necessary cooperation between government and businesses to encourage free trade as a means to benefit the poor. Part of my job as an intern is to focus on particular provisions of the FTA and the effect they will have on Chilean businesses. One of Lagos’ responsibility as President is to focus on how the effect on businesses will in turn affect the poorer people in Chile.
In the coming weeks I look forward to learning more about the intricacies of the FTA and will gear my efforts toward trying to determine its impact on Chile’s economy, and in turn, society.
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