Our latest member interview – Chile Inside
Interview with Marion Ruhland – Founder
Tell us your story. How did Chile Inside get started?
I am originally from Germany and I arrived in Chile in 2003 with the idea of staying for only six months. I quickly realised that there was a need for special services for foreigners. I really wanted to do an internship in Chile, but I could not find an agency that could help me with this. So, a few months after my arrival, aged 24, I set up an agency offering internships, volunteer work and Spanish courses. Over the years, the agency grew, and we added many exciting new offers. We were the first to introduce the popular Working Holiday and Farm Stay programmes into the Chilean market. In addition, we were the first agency to standardise and promote au pair programmes in Chile. In 2009, we expanded our programmes to other countries in Latin America and today we are proud to offer 13 amazing destination countries throughout the continent, still with a very strong focus on Chile. Now, 16 years after starting Chile Inside, it has become a prestigious agency, with close to 1,000 customers per year.
How is Chile Inside different from your competitors?
Chile Inside is right there on the scene. We support our participants personally and comprehensively on the ground. Chile Inside’s employees are mostly foreigners living in Chile. We know the country, the people and the culture well. Thus, we can empathise with our valued participants and understand their needs, concerns and joys. We speak several languages and can serve our participants in their native language, while we communicate with our local partners in fluent Spanish to avoid any misunderstandings. Chile Inside is the agency with the widest range of different programme types in Chile (Au Pair, Internship, Volunteer Work, Farm Stay, Work & Travel/Working Holiday, six different Spanish course locations) and we offer the widest variety of single programme places in Chile.
What is a great success story from your organisation?
Our most popular success story is undoubtedly our great array of programmes, even though Chile is a small country. We have been able to work out and, above all, maintain this wide variety of programmes for almost two decades now. We have been especially proud of our Au Pair Chile programme. This required a lot of educational work within Chilean society because for many host families, the term au pair was still unknown.
In the near future, what can we expect from Chile Inside?
We will continue to work on maintaining our strong customer service and programme diversity. Chile Inside is looking to grow its existing programmes and we are always on the lookout for new opportunities. Since we intend to grow in the field of group travel, for example, cultural trips, volunteer travel, study trips and faculty-led trips, we are looking for strategic partnerships with sending organisations, mainly in the USA, Canada and Europe.
Which trends do you see for the youth travel programmes you work with?
We are experiencing a growing interest for our Au Pair Chile programme and our volunteer work opportunities. We also see more students asking for internships in Chile that are compatible with university studies.
WYSE Travel Confederation offers a variety of resources, but which have been most useful to you?
We regularly read the WYSE newsletters to stay informed as well as the news section on the WYSE website. This is very useful information for us. We also like the opportunities identified by WYSE staff in terms of analysing potential partnerships and to share experiences.
What was your experience like attending WYSE Travel Confederation events?
We attended WYSTC in Montreal in 2017 and very much enjoyed meeting with other global market players. The event gave us the opportunity to share ideas with existing and potential partners. The seminars and workshops helped us to stay in the loop of market trends, industry challenges and information about our industry sector.
Is your organisation currently facing any interesting challenges?
We have some long-standing and very loyal international partner agencies that really do a great job promoting our Chile programmes in their respective markets. However, and this is more of a location challenge than an industry challenge, we see that many international agencies are reluctant to include Chile programmes in their offer. Chile is still in the shadow of its well-known neighbouring countries such as Argentina and Peru, However, Chile is a breathtaking and diverse country, politically stable and safe, and offers everything you need for an enriching and meaningful stay abroad.
Chile Inside is an agency offering au pair, internships, volunteering, working holidays, and language courses in Chile. The agency sets itself apart by providing comprehensive support and excellent service to participants. Chile inside is looking to grow its existing programmes, particularly in the fields of volunteer, cultural and study trips, as well as group travel and faculty-led trips.
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