Umm.. wow, okay, so the time has actually come for to go to Chile for almost 5 whole months.. which means it’s time to write this pre-departure post! For anyone reading this who doesn’t know me personally, I guess I should introduce myself. I’m Vincent, 21 years old, and I’m from the Netherlands, though I grew up in Dubai and now live in some weird combination of Shanghai, Holland, and Hamilton, NY. I am a Middle Eastern Studies major and Latin American studies minor (which is partially why I’m going to Chile. I also just really want to go to Chile) at Colgate University. I’ll be going to Valparaíso, Chile, studying at the Pontifica Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV for short) and staying with a (hopefully) wonderful host family in Viña del Mar. Jokes aside, I had some contact with my host mother and she seems like a lovely person, and I’m honestly really excited to meet her, her children, and her two cats and dogs (she has a German Shepherd named PUNKY. HOW ADORABLE IS THAT).
Regarding some pre-departure thoughts, I guess some of the usual worries that I imagine plague students going abroad for the first time aren’t really applicable to me, as going to university in the U.S. already counts as “abroad”; as such, I’m not really very worried about spending time away from my parents or my family (sorry, mum and dad), and after spending almost a month and a half in Shanghai where I know few people and don’t really have all that much to do, I feel more than ready to start my life back up again. Fortunately, one of my neighbours is actually from Valparaíso, and her father-in-law actually taught for 30 years at the PUCV before retiring last year (small world, huh). She was incredibly kind and offered to help out in any way she could, and she told me a little about Valparaíso and about the people there, which I think has made me feel a little more prepared regarding what to expect from local people and the local lifestyle. The two Chileans I have met so far have been extraordinarily kind and helpful, and I hope that that’s a good omen for things to come (or, I might just have been spoiled and will end up bitterly disappointed. Who knows.)
I hope to be blogging semi-regularly about my experiences in Chile, both for my own benefit and because I want to give other people the option of reading first-hand, from students, how amazing a study abroad experience can really be. I’m honestly incredibly excited to go to Chile and I’m ready to make it an amazing experience (note to self: let’s see how long we can keep this optimism going).
Now, all that’s left to do: packing, and four lovely long flights.
Until next time!