Hasta Luego

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).

A Gift from Mrs. Larsen

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.

Thanks to Aolan, Alyssa, Juan, Angel, Dan, Mom, Lilly, and Brecken… Watch your backs:)

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!”

Published by Casiana Gibson

Class of 2025 Social Work Major, Peace & Justice and Spanish Double Minor IES Santiago, Chile

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