What’s the Difference Between Me and You?
No. Unfortunately these are not the lyrics to Dr. Dre’s song. Instead I’m talking about the difference between Chilean youth and American youth, as I feel that it is important to understand the differences between the two… or rather the lack thereof.
From the minute that I met my host sister, I knew that we would be friends. Even though she was only 16 years old, she is very mature, and we have a lot in common, especially in terms of our personality. We are both responsible and studious, but at the same time, we like to have fun. Furthermore, the composition of our families is the same. Just like her, I live at home with my mother, and I have a sister who is married and lives in another city. However, from what I have seen, this is an exception in Chile.
In general, I feel that the youth of Chile is somewhat different from that of the United States. In the first place, Chileans are much more dependent on their families. In turn, this affects all other aspects of life. A big difference is that in Chile, students do not live on the university campus like they do in the United States. Moreover, it is normal for sons and daughters to live at home until they are 30 years old. This almost never happens in the United States. Due to this ingrained dependence on the family, most young Chileans don’t work to pay for their own expenses. This also means that they don’t have much extra money to spend. As a result, it is quite rare for couples to go on formal dates. Instead, in Chile many couples spend time together in public places, such as parks or museums. Unlike the United States, it is normal to see multiple couples kissing on the Metro as if no one else was watching. This surprised me because before coming to study in Chile, I had thought that this country was more conservative and Catholic. But in reality, it is not. The Chilean people are very liberal and not especially religious either. To be honest, the Santiago nightlife is sometimes too much for me. I like to go to bed by 3am, you know? At the same time, these are generalizations, and not everyone can be grouped into one category.
Ultimately, my experience studying in Chile has taught me the importance of being open-minded to different people. Furthermore, all youth have things in common despite the existence of cultural differences. We all have a love-hate relationship with our families. We all experience the same heartaches, and we all laugh at the same jokes. And even thought there is sometimes a language barrier between us, one can never go wrong with a smile because in the end we are all the same.