It is hard to believe that I have been in this beautiful city for an entire week. I have to say that I am extremely impressed by the IES program and am very happy that I chose Santiago, Chile as my study abroad destination. I do not have any regrets. When I arrived at the airport, it was a huge relief to have IES staff members smiling and waiting to take me to my new home! Along the journey, I met a lot of college students who were studying abroad. There were some students studying abroad through IES and some students studying abroad through other programs. Nevertheless, we helped each other out, so it was a great bonding experience. Upon arrival, the IES staff members took attendance and led us to a small bus. Here, they drove us to our apartments and houses. Our host families were waiting for us and couldn't be happier that we had arrived safely. I was worried that I wouldn't be comfortable living with another family. But, I love them already. They respect my privacy and are always willing to offer help and support when needed. My walk to the IES program site is beautiful. It takes me about 15-20 minutes to get there. Along the way, I take in the scenery, the people, the street animals, and the city's nature. Another worry of mine was that I would not be able to get around easily. Boy, was I wrong. I have only been here a week and I have figured out how to use the buses, the metro, and with the use of cardinal directions - I can get almost everywhere by myself. When I am unsure of something, the people of Chile are willing to help. However, I usually ask a few people before I start heading in a certain direction just to be sure that they know what they are talking about. The food here is excellent and I was surprised to see that Santiago offers a variety of world foods. Outside of my apartment complex, I can find anything from Chinese food to Arabic food to Irish pubs to bubble tea. These options really make me feel at home.
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<p>I am twenty years old from Chicago, Illinois. I am passionate about learning, travel, books, writing poetry, and taking pictures. I am always looking for a new experience. My goal is to be open-minded throughout my life. I am inspired by the ability to express myself and who I truly am through my creative work. </p>