What is a VSP Intern?
In past years, Valpo Surf Project has accepted short-term volunteers ranging from recent high school and college graduates to study abroad students and young adults in transitional periods of their careers. The VSP formalized the internship program in 2013 and now periodically selects a small group of recent college graduates and young adults to join its team as interns. Once selected, interns are expected to spend 12 months assisting with the daily operations of this multifaceted organization as in Valparaíso. In assisting the VSP full-time, interns not only gain valuable work experience in areas such as media and development, but also develop sincere, long-term relationships with the VSP students and other members of the team and the greater Valparaíso community. Interns help to provide consistency within the program and contribute to the sustainability of the organization itself.
It is important to note that VSP interns do not need any prior surfing experience to become actively involved with the organization. Also, having a strong command of the Spanish language is not required but highly recommended. VSP volunteers come from all backgrounds; many have recently graduated from college, while others have taken a break from their careers or studies. Interns have demonstrated diversity in their personalities, studies, work and life experiences, and future aspirations. Most importantly, each individual has something different to bring to the table.
To learn more about past and current interns, click here to read their personal bios and testimonials.
How Do Interns Support the VSP Team?
Interns are crucial to the daily operations of the VSP and form a significant part of the organization. Past interns have been generally involved in all or most aspects of the organization, with some even carrying out their own projects. Based on strengths and individual interests, interns have the opportunity to work directly with specific aspects of the VSP, dedicating their time to helping develop one of several facets within the organization. Interns work closely with our student populations in the English classroom, surf sessions, and educational activities, but are also expected to contribute to the organization in other ways. Other responsibilities may include (but are not limited to) assistance with communication & media, curriculum development, organizational development, volunteer recruiting and coordination, and budgeting & financial planning.
Life in Valparaíso
Valparaíso (known by locals as Valpo) is one of Chile’s most important port cities, one which is characterized by steep hills, aging buildings, winding streets and stairways, and colorful graffiti art & murals. As Chile’s third-largest city, the population pours out of the concentrated city center, the plan (basic, organized lower part of the city), and up into the cerros (hills) where typically the people with the lowest income live at the highest elevations.
The city itself is easy to navigate with the ocean and hills acting as easy points of reference. Public transportation is ubiquitous, affordable and easy to use. Micros (buses) and colectivos (shared taxis) will not only get you around the plan and up into the cerros, but will also take you to neighboring locations along the coast.
Valpo’s climate is similar to San Francisco with a morning fog and otherwise Mediterranean-like climate. The months of November through March bring warm and dry summer conditions, while the rest of the year is characterized by cooler temperatures, a morning marine layer which burns off in the afternoon—more so in the winter months of June through August. The Chilean winter of June-August consists of rainier conditions and an average temperature of 54° F (12° C).
Interns will not be paid directly. The VSP does provide housing in Valpo, and certain work-related expenses will be covered. However, ultimately the interns are responsible for paying for other living expenses and personal activities/travel. Interns should anticipate funding their entire stay in Valparaíso with a total of $10,000 (this amount includes estimates for airfare from the United States and visa fees). If fundraising is necessary to meet the $10,000 to cover the duration of the internship, please contact the Valpo Surf Project for advice, assistance, and best practices to raise the necessary funds.
Please contact Chile Country Director Claudio Vilches (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any further questions concerning the intern program or the application process.
Click here to download the VSP Internship Application. Please follow the instructions and submit to email@example.com. Only complete applications will be considered.
The VSP accepts and processes applications for internship positions on a rolling basis. Accepted candidates begin work with the organization in Valparaíso according to a timeline that fits their timeline and the organization’s availability. Typically interns travel to Valparaíso to begin work within 3 months after their acceptance into the program.