Learning Beyond the Classroom

Hola a todos! Hello everyone!

Wow, how quickly time is flying here! It is hard to believe that it is already April and that I am approaching the halfway point of my time here in Chile.  That being said, I intend to continue enjoying every opportunity I have to learn and grow during my study abroad journey!

Over the past several weeks, I have been learning so much in and out of the classroom.  I am enjoying refreshing my grammar skills in Spanish, as I know they definitely are lacking in my conversation.  Conversationally, I have felt so challenged since I have been in Chile.  In my opinion, there is big disconnect between being able to speak formal Spanish in the classroom and being able to speak conversational, everyday Spanish, especially in a unique dialect with lots of slang! I am pushing myself every day to resist falling into the ‘English trap,’ where I jump on every opportunity to speak, listen to, or read English. In an attempt to avoid this, I have been watching a lot of Chilean TLC, reading Spanish out loud, and attending language exchanges through my study abroad program in order to keep developing my skills. I am also enjoying my economics refresher as my class prepares to continue learning about Economic Development in Latin America, including a project on a specific topic in Economic Development (for example, fair trade) in a Latin American country of our choosing. As I am very interested in fair trade in particular, I am excited to begin this project and see how I can use what I learn through it in the near future.

Outside of the classroom, I have been able to experience the rich Chilean culture and amazing sights and locations in this area.  Through my organization, I have been able to go to places such as Pablo Neruda’s Valparaíso home La Sebastiana, Museo Abierto (a ‘museum’ in the streets of Valpo home to several official murals painted throughout the streets), and most recently the Ex Ballenera (ex – whaling site) in Quintay.  These locations specifically carry lots of history and beauty in Chile. Through these excursions and my own personal time out and about, I have been learning to appreciate the beauty around me, despite my despise of living in a city (which you can read more about in my first ISA Featured Photo Blog post by clicking here!), from the artwork that is covering every blank surface in Valpo to the diversity of the people I am surrounding by every single day.

Though home is weighing heavy on my heart, I am so thankful for this opportunity to live and grow in a country and culture so vastly different from my own.  I am excited and anxious to see what is to come in the next 82 days!






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