Oh South America, I feel as if we are the last group of students to depart for our program! I am so incredibly nervous and exited and I really hope I haven’t overlooked or missed any paperwork, or forgotten to sign a sheet. I’m over thinking everything from phone plans to making sure I see every ophthalmologist, dentist and general doctor before departure. I’d really like to think I’ve prepared well for this trip but we'll see about that when I check in from Rio! I know there’s been a lot of media coverage about the Zika virus in Brazil, but I’m not too worried about. If the worst thing that happens while I’m away is getting bit by a mosquito and experiencing flu like symptoms for a few days, than my trip went really well to be honest.
So why this Multi-Location program? Well I always knew I wanted to visit Brazil and explore the culture and scenery. More importantly, as a budding sociologist I knew this program would allow me the opportunity to study and begin to understand how individuals in big city communities are affected by economic growth. Yet my most favorite and challenging part of this program is being immersed in multiple languages. Studying in two beautiful Latin American countries is reason enough to immediately sign up for this program, but I’m just as excited to learn about the history, the culture and current state of the people in these two countries.
Since my parents were both born in Mexico, Spanish is definitely in my repertoire of languages – unfortunately I’m well aware Chilean Spanish and Mexican Spanish have their differences. I’m sure there will be plenty of instances where I come across words I’m unfamiliar with, and I will probably say something embarrassingly wrong more often than not – but overall I’m not too worried.
Now Portuguese is a different story. There were never any Portuguese classes offered in any of the schools I attended and I never had any friends who spoke Portuguese – so needless to say I can’t even fathom how crazy trying to get around Brazil is going to be. Luckily for me, I hear Portuguese it similar to both French and Spanish, both of which I’m familiar enough with. Plus Apple isn’t lying when they say “There’s an App for that” – I've downloaded at least 3 different apps to help with learning. I can successfully say “I read the newspaper” – “Eu leio o jornal”, I’m really counting on people asking if I’m up to date with the news.
Now I’ve never left Chicago alone for more than a few weeks so needless to say I’m quite nervous about how I’ll adjust to not seeing my friends and family for a few months. I hope the homesickness doesn’t get to me! In addition to blogging almost weekly, I hope to add a short poem to each of my blogs, with the first dealing with leaving home. Poetry has always been my go to form of expression and I hope it will help me understand and reflect the similarities and difference I experience in Rio and Santiago, while I'm abroad and in retrospect.
My lovely city beats, my honey covered streets.
Deeply rooted within the words we preach,
These roads are my bones and I don’t know another home.
More than words, the language we speak
holds us tightly in the comfort and warmth of bedsheets.
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<p>My name is Angie, I'm a junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I'm majoring in Sociology and minoring in Linguistics. I love learning about people and cultures around the world through music, art and literature.</p>