After a rollercoaster of missed connections, cancelled flights, Business Class upgrades and luggage lost and found, the new VSP interns arrived intact in the first week of January, excited for the start of an incredible experience here in Valparaíso. Max, Martha, Natalie and Bea are thrilled to be the pioneers/guinea pigs of the VSP’s new internship program. Max and Natalie will be working until the end of July, and Bea and Martha (along with all future interns) will be sticking around for a full year. We will not only get our hands dirty assisting the VSP full time with everything from teaching and programming to media and development, but will also develop sincere, long-term relationships with the students, the team and the greater Valparaíso community.

In our first two weeks, we have already started getting to know the many moving parts that encompass the VSP. We have washed wet suits and stacked surf boards; romped with kids in the water and visited new communities; we have budgeted, blogged, accounted and brainstormed. As we fall into the rhythm of the summer, we have also begun to identify individual roles and responsibilities, such as social media specialist and volunteer coordinator. But the best part has been meeting the kids! Surf sessions started last week and we have all loved getting into the ocean with our students. Already we have worked with 5 groups, with 3 more on the way!

Aside from work, we have been having fun exploring the city and bonding with the whole VSP crew. Intern Coordinator/Encyclopedia of Valpo Knowledge Billy took us on a walking tour to point out the best parts of the city. We went surfing and camping in Quintay at a sweet local spot, danced in the streets at a moonlit music festival, and met the whole extended VSP family at a Saturday night asado at the casa. We’ve are also getting to know our local shop owners and neighbors, including the resident street dogs and cats. Valparaíso is already starting to feel like home!

Until next time!
– Natalie