Hola a Todos,
Welcome to my blog! I am thrilled and a bit nervous to begin my trip in just a few days. There is a lot I’m anticipating from this trip, and I’m excited to share that with you all. When I began looking into study abroad programs, I was overjoyed to discover the International Education for Students (IES) program in Santiago, Chile: “Politics, Social Justice, and Language”. As you may have read in my profile, I am a social work major, a peace and justice minor, and a Spanish minor. I am very passionate about each of these so it was important that at least one of them was a part of my studying abroad experience. The IES program in Chile was the first one I discovered, how awesome that it has everything I’m interested in?! Through this program, I will learn about native cultures, human rights, and the historical arts of Chile. Of course, this adventure will improve my Spanish and knowledge of different cultures; but on a relational level, I look forward to cultivating deep and lasting relationships with locals and fellow international students. With the chance to travel to Chile, I will also be meeting family friends (Shout out to the Larsen Family in Michigan, and Purcells in Chile)! Meeting them is one of the many things I look forward to. A few other things include going hiking, learning to cook a few local dishes (especially empanadas), possibly boxing, and learning the Cueca (national dance of Chile).
As we near the departure date, a few things are on my mind. First, a question asked by Noelle Bladwin, the Associate Director for Diversity Recruiting and Advising for IES: “How will you bring all of who you are with you on this journey?” I appreciate this reminder to show up authentically. The past year presented challenges that encouraged personal growth. I now have a stronger sense of my identity and beliefs, and I am excited to see how this adventure continues to shape who I am. Another thing on my mind is being prepared. Even with all my “thinking ahead”, I know I can’t be ready for everything and that lack of control scares me. To calm my worries, I have been listening to a few Spanish podcasts: “Universidad Chile”, “Chile a todo Calor”, y “No Hay Tos” to improve my listening skills and vocabulary. I was also given a couple of books to help familiarize myself with the Chilenismos (Chilean slang) and geography of Chile. At times I worry I haven’t done or prepared enough but in those moments, I remind myself that the reason I am taking this trip is to learn, and that isn’t always comfortable. My main concern is my student visa; which has not been approved yet:/ Thankfully, my contacts in Chile have assured me that this won’t be a problem and I will be entering Chile on a tourist visa until my application is updated.
Finally, maybe the hardest part, goodbyes. It is bittersweet to say goodbye to family and friends. As tradition, my friends sent me off with a pie in the face and surprise attack. I will miss them and the comfort they bring but I also look forward to what’s in store. I can only imagine how I and the people I love will change in the next few months.
Thank you for the prayers and support and for reading my blog. It is with great hope, joy, and nerves I say “¡Hasta Luego!”