On being fearless but actually really nervous

Avery Haugen
May 19, 2016

A well known observation about the act of growing up is that, as we get older, we slowly but surely lose our sense of fearlessness. As a little kid, I never worried much about where I was going or who would be there, I sometimes wondered about the prospect of snacks but aside from that, I was a go with a flow kind of girl with a knack for creating adventures. Now, however, I worry and get nervous, I buy 3 kinds of insurance to travel abroad and frankly, if they had insurance for insurance I might have that too... Just to be safe. Shoutout to the U.S. Embassy in Santiago for letting me register with you. But here I am, getting ready to start my fourth trip abroad without parents or family, not knowing a single person. This is the real deal: seven weeks, total language immersion, and people from all over the country joined together by this grand adventure we are about to begin. Daunting? Absolutely. Am I ready? I suppose. Am I nervous? Yes, obviously! But this is what I have been waiting for, the kind of travel that changes you. My whole life I have been studying Spanish for something exactly like this, the opportunity to experience a completely different part of the world unhindered by language barriers. Thank goodness I did my homework all those years for my after school Spanish classes in middle school, otherwise I might not be in this position today. That's not to say I can speak fluently though, I still choke sometimes trying to put words to my thoughts in another language but I hope everyone will recognize my sincerest attempts at speaking coherently. Yet what an incredible experience to be a student in another country, to be able to bear witness to the different values of learning and education beyond what I know here in America, but still go Frogs!! Now, as I put the finishing touches on my extensively planned packing list and finish watching as many Spanish tv shows as possible, I say cheers (¡salud!) to fearlessness. May I never be too scared to accept new adventures, no matter how old I am, even if that means leaving behind everything I know and all the comforts of familiarity for seven weeks to live and study abroad. Let the aventuras begin.

So it’s about a week before I go and I finally have my housing assignment! I will be living with a “very sociable” retired couple in an apartment within walking distance of the center. I think the walking distance is the best news I have had since being accepted to the program. Not only will I get to see some of the beautiful city by foot every single morning but hopefully I will avoid spending money on bus fares every day, oh and hopefully walk off some of breakfast. Regardless, I hope my host family really likes me because I am so excited to meet them. To be perfectly honest, the idea of moving into someone else’s home for that long seems unbelievable at this point but I am grateful to who they are before I get there. I have to imagine they are just as excited and nervous as I am, though I promise to be clean and polite and a lovely houseguest. Now about that gift I’m planning to bring them…. 

See you soon, Santiago!




Avery Haugen

<p>Hi everyone! Welcome to the adventure of a lifetime with me in Santiago, Chile! I am a biochemistry and Spanish double major from Dallas, Texas who loves horseback riding and playing polo. I also love plane rides, spending time outside, cooking (or at least attempting to), reading, trying new teas, petting animals, and watching old movies. I have traveled a lot in Spanish-speaking countries and pretty much nowhere else, currently working on a travel bucket list to at least 3 more continents.</p>

2016 Summer 1, 2016 Summer 2
Home University:
Texas Christian University
Biological Chemistry
Explore Blogs