Lauded for its economic stability and entrepreneurial opportunities, interns and career changers alike are looking to Latin America to launch their careers.
Courtesy of Ignacio Espejo
Mexico City; and Santiago, Chile
When Tara Roberts lost her job as a magazine editor in the midst of the recession, she decided to start her own business. The American from Atlanta wanted to create a social networking company that connects women around the globe working to improve their communities.
But when it came time to choose a base from which to launch the site, the United States was not the logical place in her eyes. Instead, Ms. Roberts went south – far south, to South America's southern cone.
"I had been the victim of the downsizing, the madness of the US economy, and the idea of exploring another place – living in another [country] was also really exciting to me," says Roberts, who began developing GirlTank in November as part of a Chilean government-sponsored program called Start-Up Chile.
"One of the great things about being [in Chile] is that there is such an opportunity to do anything," she says. "You can really start projects here, and there is a need for them."
As Europe and the US have suffered economically, Latin America has been lauded for its stability. It has experienced its fastest sustained growth in decades. While oil companies, big agricultural outfits, and factories have long invested in Latin America, attracted to looser laws and cheap labor, young people now see the region as a new economic frontier. It's a place to launch a company, get a competitive edge, or spruce up a résumé. They are seeking – and finding – opportunity, at a time when they see little at home.
"Compared to Europe, where everything is slowing down, South America seems to be doing the complete opposite," says Toby Donnison, a young Briton who is heading to Argentina to do a three-month internship with an investment bank. "I definitely want to know how business works over there."
One path: internships