Patriotic & Hospitable

As varied as Chile's topography are its people. But what unites them all, from the copper miner in the north to the coastal fisherman from Chiloé, to the office worker in Santiago, to the sheep rancher on Tierra del Fuego, is a strong feeling of patriotism, which reaches its most obvious pinnacle while discussing neighboring countries, or watching the national soccer team play.

If, despite all the regional and social differences, there is anything like a Chilean national character, it is characterized by two extremes. On the one hand, there exists a strong inferiority complex stemming from the isolation, the traditional insignificance of the "country at the end of the world" in international terms, and the poverty and the pessimistic outlook on one's own options. On the other hand, there is their pride in Chile and everything that Chileans have achieved and are achieving despite these adverse conditions, thus nurturing the extreme cult with which the (few) Chilean stars in soccer or tennis, TV or literature are celebrated.

Having to compete in a market economy has so far not been able to destroy a basic trait of Chilean mentality: their pronounced support among each other , which is not only limited to the immediate family clan, but reaches beyond that, too. One proof of that is the success of the numerous charitable campaigns for a host of foundations or aid organizations in the social arena. This 'solidarity' is contrary to an apparent insouciance when it comes to planning and saving for the future. Chileans have learned to live with disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, etc.) and to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep going.

And finally, one absolutely has to mention the cordial hospitality of the people. European immigrants were received here with open arms, and they were accorded the same civil rights. Especially travelers from Europe or North America can count on being welcomed cordially and politely. Si vas para Chile, if you go to Chile, is how a sad folksong starts in which an exiled singer asks a traveller to take his greetings to his loved one at home. And then it goes, Y verás como quieren en Chile/ al amigo cuando es forastero. And you will see that in Chile they love a stranger like a friend.