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

Getting Comfortable

Now that I’m getting to the end of August I feel like I’ve definitely developed some form of a routine and am feeling right at home here in Chile.  My typical week is filled a random plethora of activities ranging from typical things such as attending classes and going on runs along the beach to just going out to explore new places.  On Mondays I only have one class that’s the social psychology one and I although the walk to school is essentially a twenty minute hill I love that at the end seeing the beautiful view of the lagoon just as the sun is coming up in the morning.  On Tuesdays it’s my longer day where I have four out of my six classes back-to-back starting at 8am in the morning but it’s actually not as bad as I expected.  My more relaxed Mondays allow time for me to catch up on all of my homework and it’s helpful that the 8am class that there is always coffee and tea to generate some energy for the day.  Then I have my traditional dances class which is a great way to wake up as well and although it can be a little awkward sometimes dance class is always fun and I feel like I’ll be ready to practice some of the dances when the independence week events come up in September!  Then I have my sociopolitical history class, which is surprisingly really interesting despite it being a very lecture based course.  I think it’s really fascinating to see how societies come to be and I find it very impressive how Chile specifically came to be as a nation.  Then I have my Spanish class and although the readings are pretty time intensive—looking up half the text’s definitions—I feel like the professor is really fair and just overall wants us to develop a good sense of the language.  And then I have a course where we explore topics of community and culture and this past Wednesday we had our first presentation about different social practices that we observe.  I like that we took the time to take note of the cultural differences that we observe and I found it interesting how different people observed different things and even if they observed the same things that everyone had very specific perspectives of it.  For me some of the things that stood out most were that the culture of family and food were not only prominent but structured differently than in the United States.  In general everything is very centered around the family socially where people have friends but spend the majority of their free time with family and the friends that you do have are essentially considered family.  Another thing is that a lot of the gatherings are centered around food and that people linger around the table for quite a while just to talk even after the food is all gone.  Naturally I still feel the urge to get up once the food has all been served but I’m slowly adjusting to just sitting and taking the time to talk a bit with everyone about our days and really just about life.

I have a long weekend since I don’t have Friday classes so I normally only have the energy to go out once a week because when Chileans go out they stay out until, on average, 4am … This is a bit passed my bedtime but it’s fun trying to keep up with everyone.  On Thursday I went out with my Chilean sister and we went to a karaoke bar where she devoted a song to me since the title was about a Mexican girl so it was really fun to see her go all out singing!  Then we went to a hotel and danced with her friends until about 3:30am and it was really fun since it was just in a group and everyone was just dancing in whatever way they wanted.  They always play a bit of English songs in the bars so that always gets me excited when I actually recognize some lyrics!  And of course there are also lazy days like last weekend with my friend Karrin where we attempted to make cookies and this weekend where we spent the day rained in watching the “Los Juegos de Hambre” (Hunger Games) with my little brother Sebastian.  That night I felt my first big earthquake here in Chile that was about a 6.2 and it lasted for what seemed about 10 seconds.  I was sitting on the couch and grabbed the two-year-old baby near me to make sure he didn’t fall but besides that it wasn’t very scary and we just waited for it all to pass.  Overall it has been a pretty calm couple of weeks but I’m going to start traveling more in the upcoming weeks to get some different experiences of Latin America so I’m very excited for that!

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