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

The countdown…

Hi all! I’m Patra Zambetis and am currently a junior at Grand Valley State University. I am studying Allied Health Sciences and Spanish. I am very excited to be writing this blog, and telling you all about my adventures in Chile for the next six months!!

It is a little crazy that in exactly 18 days I will be living, studying, and exploring the area of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Chile! It seems like it is this big event I have been planning for over the last 7 months or so, and it is hard to fathom that it is actually going to happen! I can’t wait! Two weeks ago I finally purchased a ticket and with that had a set departure date. Last week, I had all of the documents needed to send in my visa application to the Chilean Consulate in Chicago. If any of you are looking at studying abroad, visa application has been by far the most daunting thing after deciding on a program. It requires a federal background check (don’t ask me why!) which has to be requested from the FBI and takes 8-10 weeks to process. I was initially pretty stressed about receiving those in time , but thankfully got them back within 9 weeks and should hopefully be able to pick up my visa next week.

To add even more to my excitement, I also received my housing information last week! My host family looks great, and I can’t wait to meet them! My host sister is 32 years old and lives with her 2 parents in the heart of Viña! And they have a dog! 😀 I have emailed them a few times, and as kind and welcoming as they sound via email, I can’t wait to meet them in person!

At this point I’m just ready to GO. There’s a mix combination of feelings and it’s weird to try and express in words. Mainly it’s the excitement for the adventure and the unknown and the fun I know I’m going to have while in Chile. Then there’s also that sliver of anxiety when I think of the fact that I won’t be home until August (AND I have to pack clothes for six months!) I have been abroad for a month on my own so far, and didn’t get very homesick, however I think a lot can happen in six months while I’m away. One of my best friends is getting married, my brother is graduating college, and who knows what else will occur. Then I stop and remind myself that not only will a lot happen back at home but a lot will happen to me personally while in Chile. I hope this trip will bring a new sense of excitement to college and break-up the every-semester mundane routine of classes. I hope this trip once again opens my eyes to the possibilities and vastness of the world that are so easily forgotten in the everyday routine. That’s a lot of expectations for a country to live up to… but somehow I have faith that Chile won’t let me down!  :)




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