Self Reflections in Santiago de Chile

Angie Martinez
April 19, 2016

I think there comes a point in every part of the semester when you start to reflect on where you are and what you’re doing, and for me it seems this point has finally arrived. Maybe it is because I’ve realized how much Santiago reminds me of Chicago, or because I feel as overwhelmed here as I did back home – I’m not sure how this feeling of “what am I doing here?” came about, but I’m positive I’m not the only one who’s felt this way and I’m sure I won’t be the last. Studying abroad is a beautiful experience, but every day won’t feel beautiful to you.

As soon as I got to Santiago people were asking me what I was expecting out of my experience, and I realized I really didn’t have answer. I started questioning myself, why did I sign up for this? Why would I chose a program I had never heard of – a brand new program without anyone to tell me what to expect? I suppose I can answer this in two ways, one is because I have no impulse control and two because I really wanted to get away from Chicago. I came for the adventures but also because I was tired of home.

So maybe you feel this way, like you really want escape the reality of your monotonous routine, like you really want to venture out of the city you know so well.  My only advice to you is be aware of your choices and understand what you’re getting yourself into. I’ve been lucky, my program and experiences have been absolutely amazing, I do wish I had more of a background in economics or business to understand and be interested in some of our classes but none of that takes away from the overall incredible experience of studying abroad.

Chile has been beautiful to me, colder than I’d like but definitely beautiful. Getting caught in the rain in Plaza de Armas, taking in the historical importance of Valparaiso and seeing one of Pablo Neruda’s homes, visiting a lovely Mapuche community center and enjoying lunch together – really Chile has been so eye opening. It doesn’t matter what you study, any study abroad program will open you up to new cultures, ideas and ways of life, and that’s what sociology is all about.

Just be aware, if you’re planning on enjoying Santiago in their fall, April to June, it’s cold and Chileans as a whole don’t have central heating because energy is expensive and Chile relies on commodities, like copper, for income (definitely paying attention in those Emerging Economies classes)! But wine is very cheap and the people are very kind!

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