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Chao Pescado

Time July 24th, 2009 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

After more than a year of planning and 5 incredible months in Chile, my study abroad experience has come to a close. It is sad, but at the same time, I am happy to be home. I didn’t realize how much I missed my family and friends, and just my life in the United States, until I came back. I feel like I have closed one chapter in my life and now am ready for the next one. Maybe that is why I am not as sad to leave Chile as my other friends who came back from studying abroad in different locations around the world. For me, this experience was not a vacation, in the sense that I did not join the Chile study abroad program to party (although it is hard to get used to the fact that Americans don’t stay out partying until 5am—but this is the only issue I have reverse culture shock with hahahah).

If it makes any sense, I basically lived my life in the United States, but, while studying in Chile, I lived with a family, I attended classes and spent time studying, I hung out with my friends, and I volunteered and traveled to nearby destinations on weekends. And I am happy with this experience because I felt like I was truly living like a Chilean. I would like to think that I did not perpetuate the American stereotype in Chile, that I just came to the country to party and travel to locations that are too expensive for most Chileans to visit. Unfortunately, due to the cost of the trips and the time needed to travel, I never made it to Easter Island, San Pedro de Atacama, or Tierra del Fuego like I had planned before coming to Chile. But I’m okay with that because I think there is a lot of value in staying in Santiago and getting to know your city and forming friends with the local people. And I really don’t feel like this is the absolute end of my study abroad experience. I am going to look at this as the beginning, and someday I plan to return to Chile to visit these places.

I am also determined to maintain my relative fluency in Spanish by continuing to practice speaking with people. Actually, while I was studying Spanish in Chile, I met a girl who is coming to study abroad at my university this coming semester. Small world, huh? I don’t know if it just because I just went there so now I am more aware of all things Chilean, but I feel like I am getting reminders of Chile everywhere I go. For example, the other day I went to the grocery store and they were selling wine from the Concha y Toro vineyard which I visited. And then when I went to my friend’s apartment warming party, someone was making a special Chilean drink that they saw on TV. It’s called a terremoto (which means ‘earthquake’), and it combines beer, wine, pisco, and pineapple ice cream. I know these are small things, but they all remind me of my time in Chile.

This experience has opened the door for me to travel, not just in South America but all around the world, and try new things and meet new people. I feel like I have finally stepped outside of my box, and that is something invaluable that I can take away from my time in Santiago.

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What’s the Difference Between Me and You?

Time July 8th, 2009 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

No. Unfortunately these are not the lyrics to Dr. Dre’s song. Instead I’m talking about the difference between Chilean youth and American youth, as I feel that it is important to understand the differences between the two… or rather the lack thereof.
From the minute that I met my host sister, I knew that we would be friends. Even though she was only 16 years old, she is very mature, and we have a lot in common, especially in terms of our personality. We are both responsible and studious, but at the same time, we like to have fun. Furthermore, the composition of our families is the same. Just like her, I live at home with my mother, and I have a sister who is married and lives in another city. However, from what I have seen, this is an exception in Chile.
In general, I feel that the youth of Chile is somewhat different from that of the United States. In the first place, Chileans are much more dependent on their families. In turn, this affects all other aspects of life. A big difference is that in Chile, students do not live on the university campus like they do in the United States. Moreover, it is normal for sons and daughters to live at home until they are 30 years old. This almost never happens in the United States. Due to this ingrained dependence on the family, most young Chileans don’t work to pay for their own expenses. This also means that they don’t have much extra money to spend. As a result, it is quite rare for couples to go on formal dates. Instead, in Chile many couples spend time together in public places, such as parks or museums. Unlike the United States, it is normal to see multiple couples kissing on the Metro as if no one else was watching. This surprised me because before coming to study in Chile, I had thought that this country was more conservative and Catholic. But in reality, it is not. The Chilean people are very liberal and not especially religious either. To be honest, the Santiago nightlife is sometimes too much for me. I like to go to bed by 3am, you know? At the same time, these are generalizations, and not everyone can be grouped into one category.
Ultimately, my experience studying in Chile has taught me the importance of being open-minded to different people. Furthermore, all youth have things in common despite the existence of cultural differences. We all have a love-hate relationship with our families. We all experience the same heartaches, and we all laugh at the same jokes. And even thought there is sometimes a language barrier between us, one can never go wrong with a smile because in the end we are all the same.

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Is it June already?!

Time July 8th, 2009 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

The view from the top of Cerro San Cristobal is nothing short of breathtaking, with the Andes Mountains standing majestically behind the Santiago skyline. I have now had the pleasure of living in this Latin American metropolis for the past few months, and this city landmark has become my preferential location when I need time for personal reflection. Before coming to Chile, I knew that this country was a major exporter of fruit and vine, and I vaguely recognized the name Pinochet. But to be honest, that was the extent of my knowledge. Four months later, my concept of Chile has been completely transformed, as I learn new information about this South American treasure each and every day. Although my knowledge of this country prior to this experience was admittedly scant, my main reasons for coming to study abroad in Chile were to improve my Spanish-speaking ability and show my capability to live abroad and be independent. But in the process of accomplishing these goals, I have undergone a significant transformation, in the personal, professional, and academic sense.

For the first time in my life, I have stepped outside of my comfort zone to try something new, and I couldn’t be happier about that decision. I left behind all of my friends, family, and classmates to go to a relatively unpopular study abroad location, without having any idea what to expect. But in all honesty, I didn’t experience any type of culture shock upon my arrival. Ever since I landed in Santiago, I have been meeting new people all the time, and I feel that I have become more confident and social because of this experience. In the IFSA-Butler study Chile study abroad program, there are 16 other students from all over the United States, and the group is quite eclectic, in terms of personality, background, style, and interests. But everybody, including myself, has been extremely friendly and outgoing from the beginning, making this experience even more enjoyable. During this time, I have also been living with a host mother, who is an art teacher, and her daughter, who is in high school. The idea of living with a host family made me a little nervous, because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to adapt to their living situation. However, I realized that I was more adjustable than I thought. Moreover, I have developed a wonderful relationship with my host mom and host sister, and they are both very considerate and helpful, making me realize that I had nothing to worry about. In addition to this, I have also had the pleasure of meeting many Chileans, and I have concluded that the cultural divide between the United States or Chile, or any two cultures for that matter, is not that big. My Chilean friends and I like the same music and laugh at the same jokes, showing that we are really not that different from one another. But I have also had great experiences through my volunteer program.

Through the English Opens Doors Program, which is run by the Chilean Ministry of Education, I have had the privilege of teaching English to high school students. This was an interesting opportunity for me because I was the first volunteer that had ever come to this school, meaning that these students had never interacted with a native English speaker before. Needless to say, they were extremely interested to talk to me because I could teach them the colloquialisms of the language as well as the grammar. Furthermore, since I was around the same age as them, I was able to become friends with these students. Unfortunately, the teachers at this school are currently on strike because the municipality has not properly distributed the funds to the local schools, leaving the teachers without the necessary resources to perform their jobs. But I am looking forward to the resolution of this strike so that I can return back to the school. In addition to this professional volunteer experience, I have been taking academic courses in the history of contemporary Chile, the poetry of Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, Spanish language, and intercultural health. The process of picking classes and adjusting to the styles of the professors, who teach in Spanish, was slightly difficult at first because I had to learn the workings of the Chilean university educational system. But this has also been a learning experience for me. Essentially, I had to be independent and deal with any problems that I had in my classes on my own because there was no advisor or tutor to help me along the way.

As the program comes to a close, I feel satisfied because I have proven to myself that I can survive in another country on my own. As for my other goal, I still wouldn’t say that I am completely fluent in Spanish, but there is no doubt that my language skills have improved drastically. My pronunciation improved because I was forced to speak Spanish everyday, especially considering the low percentage of Chileans who speak English. Most importantly, I now have the confidence to speak Spanish, and I am able to communicate successfully with any Spanish speaker.

My only regret about this experience is that I didn’t travel as much as I could have because of my academic course load. To be honest, I have spent quite a bit of time studying, which is not what I expected before coming. But in general I tend to be more serious about my academics, and at times, this can be a fault. It makes me sad to think that in a few weeks, my study abroad experience will be over. But at the same time, I hope that I can share my experience with others upon my return to the United States. There is so much to learn about the world in which we live, but we will never know until we step outside of our own backyard, and this step is crucial for our development as human beings.

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Hasta… nunca?!

Time July 8th, 2009 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

9 days and counting till I return home to the United States. I guess time really does fly by when you’re having fun. But to be honest, saying goodbye to Santiago is bittersweet.

Things I will miss:

-Host family—I just used the word ‘host’ for clarification, but I truly feel that Monica (mother) and Antonia (sister) are my family. They have treated me like a daughter and sister, respectively, since day one and we have only grown closer with time. When I am sad, they are there to comfort me. When I am sick, they are there to nurse me back to health. We have learned a lot from each other as well. Telling them about my Indian culture has opened their eyes to the diversity of the world, and they have taught me a lot about the dynamics of Chilean families and the overall culture of this country.

-Friends—The 16 students in my study abroad Chile program are now some of my best friends, and this experience would not have been as incredible without them. We are all characters, with our own little quirks that define us, and when I had to say goodbye to some of them last Thursday, I ended up crying almost the whole evening… it was pathetic, I know. I am also going to miss my Chilean friends. Without them, I would only have experienced Santiago as a gringa, rather than a Chilean. They taught me all the chilenismos, and they showed me the nightlife of the city, and to them I will be forever grateful.

-Chilean culture— For example, I went to a club last night for my friend’s party, and when I left the place at 5am, it was still packed. That would never happen in Chicago! People here stay out sooo late, and in turn, they often wake up late the next morning. Shops will be closed on Sundays, and if they are open, they won’ t open until later in the day. It is a very relaxed lifestyle, and this is something that I will miss when I go back to the “hustle and bustle” of the United States.

-Speaking Spanish— There is no way my Spanish could not have improved when I was living with a host family that doesn’t speak English. I am afraid that I will lose my speaking skills when I am out of this environment, but I am determined to practice Spanish in the United States. Maybe I can make friends with exchange students and show them my culture!

But I am still happy to go back. I have missed my family and friends very much, and I am looking forward to seeing them. I am also looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life. Going into my senior year, I need to seriously start thinking about my future after college, and I am excited to explore my options. I will also be happy to take a shower for more than 10 minutes, to watch American television, to drive, to eat healthy, home-cooked food, and to have central heating. It’s not that I am complaining about these relatively insignificant things, but the last two are especially important. In general, I feel that Chilean food is not the healthiest. A lot of the food is fried (i.e. most of the empanadas) or contains large quantities of salt and/or mayonnaise. Chile is also the second biggest consumer of bread in the world, as “pancito” is eaten at almost every meal. Additionally, it is now winter in Chile, and there is no central heating in the majority of places. That said, even though it is nowhere near as cold as Chicago, it feels just as cold because you can never really get warm, even when you are inside.

Not everyone gets to study spanish in Chile, and for that I am more than appreciative. Santiago is a very complex city. There are just as many supporters of Pinochet as there are of Allende. And in going from one comuna to the next, the different in economic status of the residents is unbelievable. Needless to say there is a high rate of crime— several of my friends have gotten mugged or had valuable items stealthily stolen from them. Basically, I have now seen both sides of Santiago, from the beautiful Andes mountains in the distance to the homeless people protesting along the banks of the Rio Mapocho. In conclusion, this experience has taught me more than I could have ever learned from any book, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have had this opportunity to live in Santiago.

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Life in Chile

Time June 2nd, 2009 in College Study Abroad | 2 Comments by

Hola, como estai? Bien, po’. Cachai? Needless to say, with all the slang in Chile, I have definitely added to my castellano vocabulary. But beyond the mere language, living in Chile has truly taught me a lot about my life and the way others live, as cheesy as that sounds.

My host family is relatively small (I have a host mom and a host sister), and I feel so lucky to have been placed with this family. My host mom, Monica, treats me like her own daughter, and we really do spend a lot of time together. Right now she is teaching me how to knit. She is very artistic, and she actually knits quite a few of her own clothes. She is always concerned about the well-being of others, and she has a positive outlook on life, no matter what is going on in her own life. Ten fe (Have faith). When I go back to the United States, I will always remember her saying this to me.

But in other news… what has been going? Well this weekend I went camping in Cajon del Maipo. Actually it was just for one night because it was too cold to stay for two nights. But regardless, it was an interesting adventure. Between the glaciers, lagunas, and rolling hills, the scenery was absolutely spectacular. My only critique is of the false advertising, in my opinion, of the thermal baths. From all the minerals, the two pools were a murky brown color and were terribly cold. But other than that, I had an amazing time this weekend. When I looked in one direction, I saw the snow-covered mountains (just like the Swiss Alps!), and when I looked in the other direction, I saw mountains with all different colors due to the mineral deposits within. Oh and did I mention that I saw a volcano too? The thing is, considering the geography of the country (longest north-south country in the world), there a number of different climates in Chile. In the north there is the driest desert in the world (Atacama), and in the South there are… (hmm… where to start?) snowy mountains, glaciers, forests, volcanoes, lakes, and much more. But there is no way I can do justice to the beauty of this country with a simple description. One must come to this country to experience the marvels of Chile.

Oh yeah, and there’s school. To be honest, my classes have been taking up most of my time lately. Between papers and quizzes, there is quite a bit of work to do. But I am trying to get organized, and I don’t want to bore anyone with the mundane details of my classes.

As for now, I need to start working on an activity to do with my students in the English Opens Doors program. I am working with a group of seniors in high school, and not only are there limited resources for teaching in this school, but there is also limited desire to learn English. Nevertheless, I am hoping I can at least instill a desire within them to learn English.

Until next time…

Besitos,

Megi

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El Viaje Al Desierto

Time June 2nd, 2009 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Are we there yet? Ya llegamos?… After six hours on a bus, we had finally reached our destination: La Serena.

It was a Wednesday afternoon, and I was just waking up from a nap on the bus. To be honest, I was quite tired because my mom, brother-in-law, sister, and her friend came to visit me the previous week. I was very excited to see them, and they had a great time sightseeing, sampling the local cuisine, and exploring the nightlife of Chile. Among other things, I took them to Los Dominicos Handicraft Village, Bellavista, Cerro San Cristobal, and La Moneda. La Moneda is essentially the White House of Chile. The only difference is that no one lives there, not even the President, Michelle Bachelet (yes, Chile elected a female president before the United States). Actually, Chilean history is quite interesting, but if you’re not in the mood for a brief history lesson at the moment, please skip the following paragraphs:

Economy–
The Chilean economy developed much more rapidly than any other country in Latin America because after the War of the Pacific (around 1880), Chile gained control of a region that had nitrate. The war was against Bolivia and Peru, and there is still bad blood between these countries over this (as well as whose national drink is pisco….). Chile was the only producer of nitrate, until the Germans became producing it artificially during WWI, killing the economy. That is until copper came to the rescue! Phew!
Politics–
Salvador Allende was the president of Chile in the early 1970s but then he started pushing an extremely socialist agenda, so with U.S. support, Pinochet led a coup on September 11 (how ironic), 1973 against Allende, even bombing part of La Moneda. This essentially put Chile on the political map for the rest of the world. Pinochet ruled for the next 17 years. He started his rule by setting curfew, but he ultimately took away human rights like no one could have ever imagined. He arrested and killed thousands, resulting in the disappearance of countless people. And yet, Chileans today are still 50/50 over whether they approve of Allende or Pinochet.
Back to the story…. this was our main trip through our study abroad program, IFSA. With its sandy beaches and rolling hills, La Serena has become a popular tourist destination, especially during the summer months. But it was not summer anymore, and I would often feel that when we would walk around as a large group of gringos, we were a spectacle for the local residents. We did a little sightseeing on our own in this city, as well as in Vicuna. But the main points of interest that we visited were two observatories, Cerro Mamalluca Observatory and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, as well as la pisquera Capel.
The view from the observatories was incredible. In the same shot, I could see the barren desert, with clusters of cacti interspersed between the sand, and the snow-capped mountains. And using the telescopes at the observatory, I was able to take see (and take pictures of!) the moon and Saturn, including its rings!!
Vicuña, a city in the north of Chile and the birthplace of the famous Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, is known as a major producer of pisco. CAPEL has a distillery in this zone, and we toured the facility, seeing all the different types of pisco products.
In the end, I had a wonderful time on this trip, but as usual, I couldn’t wait to return to Santiago. This is my home away from home.
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Semana Santa

Time June 2nd, 2009 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Conejitos, conejitos! Huevitos, huevitos! It was finally almost Easter (aka Semana Santa), and the sidewalk was completely packed with vendors selling chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs. Ironically, in the market on the other side of the street, vendors were selling skinned rabbits, as well as almost every type of seafood you could possibly imagine. After all, this was Valparaíso.

As I looked out into the ocean, I could smell the salt in the air. It was Easter break, and I had come to this city with 9 friends from the Chile study abroad program to absorb the culture that is…. Valparaíso. This city is a historic port town, dating back to the 1500s. Even today, Valparaíso remains a beloved city, known for its funiculars and colorful houses in the hills.

Walking through the streets of the city, I could an artistic vibe all around. Around every corner there was another mural on the walls. Even the graffiti, which would normally be considered a defacement of public property, was beautiful. And of course, La Sebastiana, one of Pablo Neruda’s 3 houses in Chile, is located in this city.  Each day, as I was climbing up and down the cerros, I felt a creative inspiration… to draw, to write, anything would do.

This was also a time of bonding with my fellow friends on the study abroad in Chile program. Well, with 3 beds, 1 bathroom, and 10 people, there was no other choice but to bond. But we all had a good time, taking turns cooking meals for each other and helping out with household chores (we rented an apartment). Although I must admit that I was relieved to return back to Santiago at the end of the trip.

During this time, we also went to Viña del Mar. This city is also called La Ciudad Jardín, or The Garden City. While it is a neighbor to Valparaiso,  Viña is much more mmm… posh. With beautiful beaches, casinos, festivals, and shopping, it is easy to see why  Viña is such a popular tourist destination. Unfortunately, with the seasons changing, it was too cold to go into the water when we went. Actually it was too cold to even wear a swimsuit— I was curled up on the beach in my fleece and jeans still trying to keep warm.

But I can’t complain. I was in an internationally renowned resort town with my new friends whom I absolutely love. Life is wonderful right now, and I’m always excited to see what tomorrow will bring.

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My Adventures in Torres del Paine

Time April 7th, 2009 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Patagonia. Before coming to study in Chile, I was aware of this region. After all, even the name of this southern portion of South America (in Chile and Argentina) is related to Magellan’s expeditions and encounters with the native people of this land. But despite this historical significance, Patagonia was still not on my list of places to see during my semester abroad. To be honest, I was probably more familiar with Patagonia Outdoor Clothing company, rather than the actual region.

Nevertheless, when my friends began planning a trip to Torres del Paine National Park, I decided to go along with them just for fun. This Chilean national park is in the northern park of Patagonia, containing mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers. To get there, we flew from Santiago to Punta Arenas. We then had to take one bus from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales, as well as another bus from Puerto Natales to the park. It essentially took an entire day to travel to our destination and the trip was definitely not cheap, but I must say, it was worth it.

Where do I even begin describing this experience? Hmm…. well, two days before the trip, my 7 friends studying in Chile and I decided to get together to figure out the details of our trip. At that point, all we had done was book our flights. Just before I met up with them, I went to my friend’s house to borrow some of her hiking equipment and camping gear (oh yeah, did I mention that we would be camping in this park?). She insisted that I use her sleeping bag, backpack, and hiking boots—especially after I told her that I was planning on hiking Torres del Paine in my rainboots. It’s not that I’m not an outdoors person, but I’ve never had the opportunity to do these types of activities so I was completely unprepared for what was in store for me. Anyways, we ended up not really planning any of the details of the trip. We figured we’d just show up in Patagonia and wing it. And surprisingly, that worked.

For example, when we got to Puerto Natales, there was only one bus left to go to the Torres del Paine National Park, and we made it just in time, or else we would have had to wait until the next day when we only were staying for 3 days total. And when we reached the park, we hiked up to the camping site, but by this time, it was almost dark. And there we were trying to set up two tents in the dark with two small flashlights when it was ridiculously windy outside. Needless to say, that did not go very well. Luckily, the park ranger let us use 5 tents for free that night. That incident summarized our entire trip.

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Gimme them bright lights, long nights

Time March 25th, 2009 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

My song of the week: “Top of the World” by the Pussycat Dolls. In my opinion, this song perfectly describes the challenge of taking on a new city, and to be honest, that’s how I feel now. I’ve been in study spanish in Chile for 2 weeks now, yet it feels like it’s been soo much longer. In a good way of course. My Spanish is slowly but surely improving, and I am learning new things about the Chilean culture everyday. I must admit, it will be hard to go back to the cornfields of central Illinois after living in this South American paradise for 5 months.

What have I been up to? Hmmm…well I have more or less finalized my class schedule. I am taking 2 courses through the IFSA-Butler study in Chile program, including Spanish and History & Contemporary Society in Chile. We have the choice of taking classes in 3 universities: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), Universidad de Chile, and Universidad Diego Portales. I am taking a class entitled Salud Intercultural at PUC, which basically teaches about the cultural differences in the use of medicine. I am also taking a class at la Universidad de Chile, but I still haven’t officially signed up for anything yet. More on classes later.

Before arriving in Santiago, I had a picture in my mind of a city with a proper downtown surrounded by the suburbs, like most U.S. cities. But Santiago is actually composed of many comunas, which are comparable to the boroughs of New York City. I live in the comuna of Providencia, and it’s only a 5-minute walk to a major subway stop (Pedro de Valdivia). Interesting fact– Pedro de Valdivia was a Spanish conquistador who founded various cities in Chile, including Santiago. Even Santiago’s famous Plaza de Armas dates back to this time. But I’ll explain more about the city after I take a tour of Santiago tomorrow.

Sadly to say, I am still trying to keep up with the Chilean nightlife. Parties, or carretes as they are called here, don’t begin until at least after midnight. And they go on for many hours. And somehow, people still wake up early in the morning. Que raro, no? Oh well, I’m sure I’ll be used to it soon enough. I am just so happy to be here and experiencing this wonderful culture. So far, everyone that I have met has been extremely kind and helpful, and I am looking forward to a semester of great experiences.

Besos,

Megana

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Bienvenido a Santiago

Time March 25th, 2009 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Holaaa!

After months of planning and preparation, I am FINALLY in Santiago, ready to begin my Chilean adventure. Between the overnight flight from Dallas to Santiago and the numerous orientation activities, it has been a whirlwind past few days, but I am having an incredible time. During the first few days, our entire Chile study abroad group, composed of 15 or so people, are staying in Hotel Manquehue in Las Condes, an adorable area of the city. Initially, I was slightly nervous about meeting the other people in the program, but all my fears went away as soon as I began talking to them. Despite the differences in our characters, we have all become friends and are exploring Santiago together.

The IFSA-Butler study abroad in Chile program has done an excellent job arranging the accomodations and explaining all the important information that we need to know. On Thursday, we met our host families for the first time! I was overcome with excitement and nervousness to meet my host mom and her 16-year-old daughter. They were both very friendly and excited to show me around Santiago. I have also already met several members of the extended family, and with each meeting, I am seeing how friendly and helpful Chileans are!

On Sunday, my host mom and I went to the Centro Artesanal de los Dominicos. Los Dominicos represents the historical sector of Las Condes, one of the various sections of Santiago. At this location, there is a beautiful church called Parroquia San Vicente Ferrer, a remnant of the colonial era. In addition to the tourists, many local Chileans come to this church to attend Mass. This site serves as a major cultural center of Las Condes, combining traditional dances and music with the arts and crafts typical of the Chilean culture.

And did I mention that the city of Santiago is gorgeous? The city lies in a valley surrounded by the Andes mountains as well as beautiful beaches. And it’s surprisingly clean. ::sigh:: I could honestly live here forever.

Tomorrow is the first day of orientation at the local university. And for once, I am actually excited about starting school. Here’s to a great semester. :)

Besos,

Megana

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The Start of Something New

Time February 23rd, 2009 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hi Everybody!

My name is Megana, and I am looking forward to a exciting semester in Santiago, Chile. But before I go, I would like to share a little bit about myself. I’ll make it quick so I don’t bore anyone. :)

I am a junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am majoring in International Studies, with a concentration in pre-Med. I am still not entirely sure about what career path I’d like to pursue, but I’m looking into all my options.

I live with my mother in a suburb of Chicago, but I also frequently travel to New York to visit my sister and her husband. I have become very close with my family, especially in the past few years after my father passed away.

Currently, my favorite shows are “How I Met Your Mother” and “30 Rock”. To anyone in need of a good laugh, I would definitely recommend watching these shows. And I will try to continue to watch this show in Chile. Thank you internet. However, this season, these shows have been slightly sub-par. Maybe try season 2?

I don’t read too many books, but I make sure I keep myself updated on current events by reading news magazines and internet articles. I love listening to music, as long as it’s not anything too depressing. And I also enjoy dancing and singing (mostly in the shower in order to avoid making a fool of myself due to my lack of talent). But I feel that when a song has meaningful lyrics, music truly has the power to inspire those who listen to it. Hence, the High School Musical reference in the title of this post.

Anyway, as I embark on this Chilean adventure, I look forward to documenting my experiences and sharing more about myself.

Besos,

Megana

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