Recently a new wave of summer IES students arrived in Santiago for their summer program. My host family received a new student, so now there are two of us gringas in the house. Since she has arrived, I’ve tried to help her out in adjusting to Chile as well as adjusting to the norms of our host family. I’ve realized the conversations I’ve had with her have very much been a form of reflection for me.
In explaining to her everyday details such as the route home, or how to turn the heat on in the shower, I’ve realized just how much I’ve learned! This is especially true for my Spanish speaking and comprehension abilities. I can tell the new host student has pretty good Spanish, probably better than mine when I arrived, but conversations with my host family are laced with so many Chilenismos! Chilenismos are the colloquial words and expressions that are unique to Chile. They encompass everything from fruits and vegetables, to public transportation, offensive/affectionate terms, and regular young people slang. For example, Chileans will often say “¿cachai?” at the end of their sentences which more or less means “do you understand?” In the process of explaining them to my new host sister, I feel really good about how my communication skills have grown during my time in Chile.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">As a native New Yorker and a student at the University of North Carolina I'm psyched to journey even further south to Santiago, Chile for the semester. I'm a junior and a Global studies major hoping to improve my Spanish and meet a whole bunch of awesome people! Also, I'm a huge tea drinker, so I'm ready to experience Chilean maté!</span></p>