Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Adventures in Chile and a little more

It’s been a little while since my last post- life gets pretty busy here, and it’s sometimes hard to find any down time to blog! When I posted last, I was about to leave for an excursion to Chile for an extended weekend. It was a super fun trip, and it was great to get to know the people in my program even better! We started by taking a bus through the Andes mountains (literally through  the mountains) on a beautiful mountain trail that winded every which way and that.  We got into Santiago and had a “noche tranquila” in the hostel before exploring the city the next day. We took a free tour and walked all over the town, and then we went to a Dive Bar called “La Pirujana”, where we tried it’s famous drink, “El Terremoto”. I wasn’t a big fan of it (it consists of fermented wine, Pisco, and ice cream- a unique combination, to say the least :) ), but it was good to experience a Chilean novelty. Then we went to the “El museo de la memoria”, a museum dedicated shedding  light on the atrocities of the military dictatorship in Chile. It was pretty heavy but fascinating- definitely one of the highlights of the trip. We also went to San Cristobal, one of the highest points of the city where you can literally see everything. The next day we went to Viña del Mar, a city on the coast. We hung out on the beach and took a dip in the ocean and had a very relaxing day. The following day, we went to Valparaíso, a town about 15 minutes away from Viña that’s worlds apart. It has winding streets that go every which way, and there’s street art and graffiti on every building. We went to the house of Pablo Neruda and wandered around the town- a very fun day! All in all, it was a very fun trip.

As much fun as it was to take a little vacation (although, let’s be honest, this entire semester has been a vacation for me 😉 ), I was very glad to return to Mendoza. I’ve been having a blast here, and I’m really glad I chose this program. I can’t get enough of the great outdoors, so being this close to so many mountains has been heaven for me. Last Friday, some friends and I from the program went to Potrerillos, a mountain range about an hour away from Mendoza. We took a bus early in the morning and spent the day exploring trails and swimming in a beautiful lake we found. We also made some new friends- after getting dropped off by the bus, we found some dogs just hanging out near the bus station. For some reason they really seemed to like us, and for the entire rest of the day we had about 8 or 9 perritos following us around! It was pretty funny- our favorite we named “San Martín”, after the great liberator of Argentina. It seemed like a fitting name 😉  The next day, I decided that I hadn’t had enough hiking, so I went out again. I went with a group from the University of Cuyo to “Quebrada de Los Berros”, a really pretty trail in the Precordillera mountain range. There were a ton of international students that came, so I met a ton of people from all over the world- México, Brazil, France, and everywhere in between! We hiked up early in the morning, and when we got there around lunchtime, we started a fire and had an asado- a crucial part of Argentine culture. Everyone brought Chorizos, and we hung out for several hours chatting, eating, and just enjoying each other’s company. It was a really fun time, and I can’t wait for the next excursion- the group does this once a month, so between these excursions and the ones I plan myself, I’ll get my fair share of hiking during the semester :)

Classes are in full swing now, and I’ve had to slowly change into “student mode”, which has been a little hard considering I’ve had 4 months of vacation :) I’ll be taking a History of Argentina class, a tango class (with a lot of pretty Argentine chicas), and a class or two in the Tourism department. The tourism class I’m taking is called “Important Tourist Destinations in Argentina”, so I’m hoping to take good notes and use this class to plan my adventures for the month after my program ends :) The students in this class are also SUPER friendly, and after going to just one class they invited me to go out with them- I guess you could say they’re the epitome of Argentine friendliness :) Anyway, I went to a bar with them on Friday night, listened to a rock band, and danced the night away at a boliche (dance club). They’re “muy buena onda” (literally, good waves/vibes), and I’m really excited to take this class with them- I’m taking it more for the social aspect than any of the actual class material, but I’m okay with that :)

That’s all I have for now, although after next week I’m sure I’ll have more than enough to share; I’m going to Patagonia!!!! On Friday, 6 of us will take a plane to Calafate, in the very south of Argentina, where the world-famous Perito Moreno glacier is located. We’ll spend a day there doing ice-trekking (I know, right???) before going to El Chalten, one of the hiking capitals of Patagonia. We’ll spend 2 days exploring the great outdoors before taking a bus to Bariloche, another must-go destination for trekking enthusiasts. We’ll spend 3 or 4 more days there before heading back- maybe by then I’ll be tired of walking 😉 Needless to say, I’m pretty excited. This was one of the main reasons why I wanted to study abroad in Mendoza, so it’s pretty exciting that this trip is actually about to happen! I don’t know how I’ll be able to focus on my classes this week 😉

Anyway, with that being said, it might be a little while before my next post; I know all my avid followers will be devastated :) But you can all rest easy knowing that I’ll be having some wonderful adventures with some wonderful people- I can’t wait!! Ciao ciao- hasta luego.

-Ben

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