With only a few days left in Santiago, I reflect on how amazing the Emerging Economies program was and the amazing things that I got to do. I visited four countries - Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay - and have seen some amazing wonders of the world. From the Iguazu Falls to the Atacama Desert to Macchu Picchu, I was in awe at all of these things. These were all experiences that I'll remember for the rest of my life.
However, another aspect of study abroad that people often forget that forges your entire experience are the people that you study abroad with. You compare experiences with them and watch them forge their own experiences, comparing experiences with diversity, identity and how they see the world. You learn about their inspiration to study abroad and you share the same uncomfortable flights, the same homesickness near Thanksgiving, the same frustration with the Chilean and Argentine currency exchange. You fight and bicker sometimes but you always apologize within the hour and go back to being one family.
What I loved so much about being part of a small cohort was the familial bond that I developed with my entire cohort. How we all managed to come together and conquer all the countries we came across and all of the coursework was amazing. The fact that I genuinely consider each and every one of you one of my friends is something so amazing to me. We shared this unique experience and went through something together that nobody else in the world has. I'm writing this to let you guys know how important you are to me but also to let other students know how important embracing the others around you is in crafting your study abroad experience.
But this isn't limited to just my cohort. Everybody that I came across the entire program has had an influence on my life and my time abroad. From the students in the IES Abroad Buenos Aires program (Wendy, Sarah, Jack), to the university students we interacted with in Peru, to the IES Abroad Santiago semester program students (Ross, Madison, Stephen, Morgan, Lizzy). Thank you all!
John, Manza, Nicole, Abby, Stephanie, Jacob, Tim, Nanci, Tyler, Maddy, Alhassan, Drew, Andrew, Robrenisha, Shruti & Samantha - You've all impacted me in one way or another. Believe it or not, I learned something from each and every one of you. Whether it was something about myself and how I need to go about interactions with others or something about the world... interacting with you all has made me a better person and I'll always remember the moments that we've had. From the dinners in Peru to long conversations in Pichilemu to deep, sunset conversations in the parks of Santiago. Learning about your passions, inspirations and ideologies was an amazing experience! Getting to know you all has been amazing and I truly hope that I get to see all of you again in life.
Thanks for making my study abroad experience the most challenging, life-changing and thought-provoking experience possible.