What are ways to be immersed in the local community? Can you be involved?
The answer to both questions is yes for my study abroad program. Right off the bat, the Spring 2023 students were introduced to “Club Chileno” during our orientation. Club Chileno were local university students who would plan activities, accompany us during class field trips, and were involved in different orientation activities/trips. This was a great opportunity to be able to get to know Chileans around our age and practice hearing Chilean slang. I was able to make really good friends from Club Chileno and create a support system with them as well.
Personally, having Club Chileno was very helpful because I wasn’t really involved with any organizations/clubs from the partner university, but I was still able to be immersed. If I ever had any questions, needed resources, or with the adjustment process, Club Chileno was always my go-to people. Thankfully, I was able to become really good friends with them and learn from them a lot about Chile.
Even though I didn’t take classes on campus, I still had an opportunity to be involved. Since clinical observations technically counted as a class, I was still allowed to actively participate on the university’s campuses.
For IES Santiago, there was also a possibility of having an internship placement. This placement allowed you to also form a part of the community and immerse yourself in different areas. Students from my program participated in these different internship placements and others found ways to also be involved – whether it be joining the soccer team, the hip-hop dance team, any organization of interest, or any sports.
If you are looking to be involved and immerse yourself while abroad, there will be plenty of opportunities to do so. Take advantage of anything that you’re interested in and try it in a new environment! Expand your horizons!!