Gimme them bright lights, long nights
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.