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

Sun and Work

Since the last time that I wrote I’ve celebrated Halloween, had quite a few beach days and the baby Leonor has officially started to crawl!  Since the seasons are reversed here I spent a warm Halloween day at the beach with my host family.  They were excellent models for my love for taking pictures with my camera, Clarice, and I also had a great time reading under the sun.  That night we went around the neighborhood with Alfonso who was a monster and Leo who was Winnie the Pooh.  In just the past few years Chile has started to celebrate Halloween so it actually isn’t that popular and we had to go to several houses before there was anyone giving out candy.  One woman still wanted to participate and went out of her way to make us a plate of cookies so that was really nice!  The kids really didn’t seem to mind and it was a lot of fun seeing how excited they got when they saw candy.  Then after all the fun was over we had once (dinner) and then I went to my friend Karrin’s house and we watched Casper Meets Wendy since I don’t like scary movies hehe … The next day we just went to a cafe to do homework and on Sunday we went to the beach with my host brother Seba.  The weather is so nice outside but the semester is also coming near so it feels like such a battle between sun and work!

This past weekend I spent Friday with my host “sister-in-law” Cata and we went shopping and then I went to bible study afterwards.  On Saturday there was an excursion to learn about nature essentially.  We started the morning learning about marine biology–literally the entire country is coast so it was very useful to learn about the preservation of the natural ocean resources such as plants and animals.  After a talk we got to go outside with binoculars and study some of the birds and hear the sea lions bark at each other so I liked being able to see what we were learning about before up close and personal.  Then we spent the afternoon at a farm.  First we had lunch with a family and then went around the property on a little horse ride and afterwards they put us to work.  We hoed the weeds out from the crops and then cut ripe lettuce.  To be honest, I was pretty exhausted after just a couple of plants so I definitely have a newfound appreciation for the people that grow our food.  Then we ended the evening with some traditional tea and homemade jams for once and slept off the long day on the bus.

The past couple of weeks I haven’t been about to volunteer at the elementary school because there have been teacher strikes.  Today was my first day back and I am teaching the students a song in English and for the rest of the semester we’ll be working on a music video for their final project so stay tuned for lots of cuteness!  After I went to the Chilean congress building for a class field trip and it was super fascinating to see their senate and “House of Representatives.”  We listened to a bit of the discussion that was going on in each of the chambers which were bills about tourism and the other was about violence that occurs as a result of elections.  Afterwards we got to sit down and talk to someone from the commission for human rights.  A few months back we learned about the violations of human rights during the Golpe de Estado that started in the 70s and it’s quite relevant today in terms of identifying the people that “disappeared” during this period.  I asked him about how students are educated about the issues today and he said how there was access to information in things like the museum of memory in Santiago but that it’s really up to the teacher of history class if they want to discuss it and there’s no formal curriculum to teach about the issue.  Also during the marine biology talk the previous week I asked about how children are educated about the environment and that there was no formal part to the science classes either.  These are the kind of the things that are highly specific but then also very relevant to the future of societies–the preservation of the world and the rights of the people in it.  Given this, I hope that teachers do take the initiative to teach their students about specific topics and that personally I could teach students beyond the basic subjects of reading, writing and math and could really challenge their ways in thinking in terms of making the world a better place to live.



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