What to Expect When You Study Abroad: Part 7 (Santiago, Chile)
The Study Experience
The study abroad experience can be the best or worst experience that you will ever experience in your life. There will be nothing like this experience. Most of you will be around 19-21 years old with a fresh passport. You may or may not have traveled internationally before, but more than likely, that international travel consisted of a chaperone of some sort. The study abroad experience is completely different. There will be tears, smiles, and a bunch of homesickness. But you will make friends for a lifetime, travel partners, language skills, and a new found respect for the world.
Travel Journal For the Trip
Studying Around South America Courtesy of Wofford and IES
My journal follows my travels from March 1, 2009 to June 27, 2009. This may seem years ago, but emotions never change when you leave the country as a wide-eyed 20 year old in a country where you don’t speak the language.
Places I visited in this Journal:
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Iguazu Fall (Puerto Iguazu), Argentina
- Mendoza, Argentina
- Tigre, Argentina
- Colonia, Uruguay
- Santiago, Chile
- Valparaiso, Chile
- Vina del Mar, Chile
- Bariloche, Argentina
These journal entries occurred for the Spring 2009 semester with IES: Buenos Aires. I studied through Wofford College. Tip to studying abroad: Make sure your credits are all transferable! Luckily, Wofford College accepted all of the credits through my program that I had chosen, IES.
Traditional Chilean Dancing
Journal 20: May 9, 2009 “Santiago, Chile”
I forgot South America actually has a winter! It is incredibly cold. Mind you, this is closing in on the middle of May! We arrived at the Econ Hostel today…
***Eco Hostel---- General Jofre 349 B Santiago, Chile ***
The hostel is nice. Not as secure as I would like, but it is small, and quiet enough to not have to worry about thieves. The room we are in is a six bed female dorm. It has beautiful lavender sheets, and nice lamps attached to each bed. The hostel even has a book exchange program. The staff is bilingual and very easy to work with. They even recycle here, and use energy efficient lights. It is a nice change.
Journal 20: Part B (Money)
The money is definitely a strange situation. The bills come in $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 Chilean pesos. $5,000 is equal to more or less, $10 USD. The coins are $10, $100, $50, and $500. It is surreal to deal with such large numbers for denominations. It is as if we are back in Uruguay again. Now to get the conversion down before I have to leave again!.
Journal 20: Part C (Food)
Of course, the moment I arrive in a new country, I want to start trying new foods. Walking around we bought cuchofli from a vendor. It was a crispy wafer cookie wrapped around dulce de leche. It was an instant crunch with a creamy center.
Then I broke into a new soda that reminded me of Red Rock, from a gas station you get in Florence, South Carolina. It is a cherry flavored soda that is close to Fanta, but not really as sweet. It is sweet, but the syrup does not over power the drink. The name of the soda is Bilz. It was only 900 pesos for a liter.
KFC and Taco Bell
Journal 21: May 10, 2009 (Chilean Quirks)
There are some odd things and interesting things to be observed in Chile:
Toilet Paper- This does not get flushed here. Instead it is thrown away in the normal trashcan.
Restrooms- In order to use public restrooms, one must pay about $00.50 USD.
The peso conversion means serious math here. Every $10 USD is about $5,000 Childean pesos. And, when you look at numbers (.) are (,) and (,) are (.). It get rather confusing to tourists.
Avocado- They love their avocado here. ( I don’t blame them, it’s the best I’ve ever had). It is offered on sandwiches, in slices on the side, or guacamole on the side. It is even offered on hot dogs. Crazy huh?
American Influence- There are Dunkin Donuts’, McDonald’s, Burger Kinds, Pizza Huts, KFCs, and Taco Bells, and Subways here.
Copper- This metal Is everywhere here. It became the export of Chile when Chile switched to a war economy in World War II.
Taxis- They start at a base rate of $200 pesos, and go up $90 pesos every sixty seconds or ¼ of a mile. The drivers round up to the nearest $100 pesos. They actually stya in the lines here, and the traffic is not nearly as crazy as Buenos Aires. I just hot I don’t get killed by the subway here instead of a bus in Buenos Aires.
Gems- There are now two beautiful stones found in Chile. One is lapis azul. This is a dark blue stone with gold flakes in it. The other is the cross stone which was just found about four years ago in the south of Chile. It is composed of 7 different natural elements including magnesium and carbon.
Journal 22: May 11, 2009 (Cerro San Cristobal)- Santiago, Chile
San Cristobal’s hill is a spectacular. First, to get up the hill you must take a troll of sorts that Pope John Paul II took in 1987. Once up the hill, you arrive at the Virgin (the mother of Santiago). She is massive as she looks over Santiago and protects the city. It is very tranquil and silent at the top of the hill. Many people light candles and go to the cathedral at the top. Not only is the hill a religious place, it offers the best panoramic view of the city with the Andes etching the horizon.
We looked out at the city, with the dense fog covering the top of the Andes in the distance. Also available on the hill is a zoo, swimming pools, and a playground. We took many pictures, and then sat down to have a mid-day snack. We had a Biltz and olive oil (aciete de olive) chips by Lays. They were so good, and a lot less greasy than chips from the United States.