As strange as it may be, these last two weeks were the middle two weeks of the semester. Meanwhile, all my friends back at Chapel Hill have already gotten started on their summers and seniors already have their graduation pictures posted.
While I’m sure they’re all relieved to be done, I just finished up my last midterm. My ancient history class required a ten page “reflection” paper based on five words related to Ancient Greece. It took a whole lot of dedication, but I even got it done early. When we went to class to turn it in we found out class had been cancelled. We arrived at the campus and two Chilean classmates stopped us and had to explain that the Department was in “paro” meaning the students were on strike and we wouldn’t have class for the rest of the week or the following week. We have this class Wednesday afternoons and then on Thursday mornings; we have probably had a full week of class twice since the semester started. A class has been cancelled weekly due to holidays, but mostly student protests. It’s really odd to be in an environment where professors are accustomed to students walking out. As an extranjera it’s a little frustrating because the professor is warning that he is going to have to add extra assignments or add on classes to make up for missed class. However, I’m sure Chileans feel it’s worth it because they’re participating in trying to make a change in their education system. Additionally, the two guys that told us what happened invited us to cultural activities and reflection time on campus throughout the week. I could sense that they genuinely wanted us to interact with them and learn about why the paro is taking place. I’m really glad to have been able to experience this alternative university norm.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go hang out with them and participate in the activities because I’m leaving for Buenos Aires on Sunday. I’m looking forward to exploring a new city for a week, and reflecting on it afterwards.
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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>