Monday, September 29, 2014

Rebekah S - SIT Chile - Fall 2014

SIT: Chile, Comparative Education and Social Change

It has been a month since I left the good ole USA to embark on a new adventure in Santiago, Chile.  The city is a lot bigger than I had expected. Santiago is about double the population of Chicago…you can just imagine what that means for the buses and subway during rush hour! Santiago is very diverse and lively all day, overall great atmosphere.

Chileans speak very fast and that is still something I’m getting used to. They also like to cut off the end of words and they have a lot of “chilenismos,” which are slang words that are specific to their country. The people are very friendly though and everyone loves to talk to us foreigners. We have noticed they ask where we are from, what we are doing here, and then the third question is always “Do you have a boyfriend?”
Every day I take the bus to the university. Our program consists of 17 students from all around the U.S. Our schedule this month has been having class from 9-4, Monday-Friday. It has been grueling but we’ve had the chance to go on class field trips to museums, visit schools and have attended seminars at the university we attend. I knew very little about Chilean history so it has been eye opening to learn about all that has shaped the country and the people here. With that it has been fascinating to then meet those people who lived through so much!

One of the best things about this program has been living with a host family. I now have a younger brother and sister. They seem to love having me here. I’ve had the chance to go hiking with them and we’ve played lots of soccer (fútbol). Talking with my host mom as well has helped me a lot with the language.
We just finished celebrating Independence Day! It was fun to be here for, what I think, is their largest celebrated holiday throughout the year. My host siblings had the whole week off of school. For most jobs the workweek ends on Wednesday at about 1pm and every business is closed on the 18th (Independence Day) and the 19th. They basically party from Wednesday night until Sunday night. I spent the 18th with my family and we had a BBQ at our house and had other family over for the day. We ate so much meat. They also put avocado on everything, which I think is fantastic! Around the city in a few neighborhoods there are “fondas,” which are large community festivals where lots of families go to celebrate. It reminded me of a county fair kind of event. There was TONS of food, drinks, games, a small concert playing, little shops, and of course it was all overpriced. Overall, it was a great 4-day weekend for our group.
We are going to start traveling around Chile more this month and even get to go to Buenos Aires, Argentina for 2 weeks! Seriously let me know if you have any questions! Nos vemos. ¡Chao!


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