I suppose wherever you study, the end of the semester can be a bit hectic. Professors pick up the pace to cover as much material as possible before finals. Every class seems to have an end of the semester essay or project –sometimes more than one. Students stress about grades, calculating what percentage they need to earn on their final exams. I haven’t prioritized writing post in a while, because I have been plenty busy lately, but that’s just what I’ll right about now: the typical use of my time here in Santiago.
Motivated some days more than others, I do in fact study. I often drag my computer off to one of the four Starbucks within 5 minutes walking distance from my apartment. This way I get out of the house but can still connect to reliable wifi and treat myself to a motivational cup of coffee.
With an extra few units to fill this semester, I enrolled in a paper making class with the PUC art department. This class has been very interesting and a lot of fun as we literally make sheets of paper. I have turned our apartment into a “paper factory” (as my host mom called it) working on my final project. (Learn more and like my professor’s Facebook page: Carolina Larrea- 100% Papel)
I discovered Crossfit last semester thanks to Emma (an IES Abroad friend from Fall 2015). I usually go three times a week for a quarter of what I’d have to pay in the states. Crossfit, just like many US trends, is growing in popularity with several boxes around the city. I’ve stuck to the place 15 minutes walking distance from where I live for the convenience and positive vibe. With the encouragement of one of the instructors, I even participated in one of their competitions.
Between Crossfit days I try to keep up with other types of exercise. My usual dancing and jogging routine has been postponed for a few months thanks to a sprained ankle in recovery, so instead I bike to class, hike the hill on the weekends, and do yoga in the park. Yoga seems to be very popular here and while I’ve found cheap and free classes here and there, I enjoy throwing my host mom’s mat out onto the grass when the sun comes out. Even more fun is when Andrea (another IES Abroad friend) comes over to play and we shamelessly practice falling out of headstands and handstands.
I love to travel, but I am also a bit of a homebody. When there’s yummy food, hot tea, and good company, why would I want to go anywhere else? After a long day of running around, I can’t wait for dinner with my host family. I get to forget whatever I’m stressed about and hear about their lives. If we aren’t talking over food and tea in the living room, we’re talking over the TV squished onto the bed in my host parents’ room.
I fill the little bits of time I have left with friends. This includes going for coffee or drinks, walking around museums, or catching a movie in theaters. When we’re all drowning in school work, sometimes we get together to study (which usually ends with lots of distractions, procrastination, and chocolate… but it’s the intention that counts, right?).
Study abroad friends often travel together, too. Just last week, Andrea and I decided to catch a last minute bus out to the beach. We had no intention of putting on swimsuits in the cold weather; instead, we were just looking for some fresh air and a change of scenery. We lugged our books and laptops from hostel to cafes. Not every trip is an impressive tourist expedition; we were simply looking to spend time together and away from the city rush.
After almost a year in Chile, I’ve become accustomed to life here. I haven’t just adjusted to the lifestyle here; I have grown comfortable with the familiarity of it all.
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<p>I study Physics and Spanish at the University of the Pacific. When not studying, all I want to do is dance or get outdoors. I've moved to Santiago to get the best of everything: city, mountains, beach, desert, and more!</p>