Charlotte Macchi Watts

Charlotte is in Chile on her year abroad with Project Trust. She is linked with Largs Academy in North Ayrshire.

Welcome To Chile



As we haven’t yet met, I’ll briefly introduce myself, my family, and finally my Chilean family. 

I finished school in Edinburgh this year, and as you all know, I’m now living in Chile until I move to London for university in 2018. Back home, I have my mum (Sabrina), dad (Paul), and 14 year old sister (Sofia).

My family is a mix of different nationalities, ranging from my Italian mum, to my Slovenian grandma, to my English extended family, so being surrounded by different cultures is second nature to me. In Chile, although the country is very well developed in terms of social structures, politics (to some extent), and technology, some values are very different to back in the UK. In terms of the importance of family, it resembles what I see in Italy, where meal times and family share equal importance. You’ll find yourself eating 4/5 meals a day, followed by an hour or two of conversation with family, which is equally exhausting as it is rewarding and fun. Families stretch to about 20 members on each side, so there won’t be one day where you don’t meet someone new.


My family in my new house consists of mother Catalina, father Hector, sister Maite (aged 6), sister Francisca (aged 17), and grandma (nicknamed Tata). Right now, some of the extended family are also living with us. Chileans are one of the most welcoming nationalities I’ve met, and do try to understand my slightly wrong Spanish when I speak to them. Knowing Italian helps massively in understanding Spanish, however, the older members of families tend to speak incredibly fast in Chilean Spanish, which is difficult even for other family members to decipher. 


As I was told the class wanted to know about football, you’re in luck, because football in Chile is up there on the list of important values in life. The most recent game was Chile v Paraguay, which resulted in a shocking ‘autogol’ (own goal), and Alexis Sanchez taking pretty much every corner in the game. He is practically a god to Chileans. Colo-Colo, the most popular Chilean team, did much better in national games, winning against Universidad De Chile (much to Hector’s joy). Again, football is a family activity, accompanied by ‘Chorrillanas’ (a heavenly dish of chips, topped with fried onions, beef and Chilean sausages, and fried eggs).


Whatever it may be, it is almost impossible not to get involved with any aspect of family life. You’ll find yourself becoming a massive football fan even if it never interested you, or volunteering to dance in the school celebrations for the 18th of September (Chilean Independence Day). The most important thing is saying yes to anything people ask you to do - you won’t regret it. 

Interesting Facts:

  • Because blood donor centres in Chile are not really a developed sector of health, there is nowhere near enough to give to people in hospitals. For this reason, if you are injured, your family (at least 5 members) have to donate blood for your operation.  
  • Luis Fons (singer in the song Despacito) lived in Chile for a while, and therefore uses the little Chilean words (adding ‘ito’ onto the end): 'poquito a poquito’ 


P.S. If any of the class are interested at some point, Dorien (my volunteering partner) and I have an English club with students of similar ages, who would love to do some penpal style writing to you in Scotland. Let me know!

P.P.S. Dorien and I will make a vlog in the next month for the classes - I will send the link as soon as we’re done. 


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