4:56 pm

With Maria Carmen, my program director (IES Abroad)

It's surreal that my program has finished and my summer in Chile has come to a close. Overall looking back on the trip, I definitely can see how much I've grown. My professor asked each of us to choose una palabra para describir nuestra experiencia y yo elegí la palabra "enriquecedora". (one word to describe our experience and I chose "enriching".

I chose enriching because everything, including the food, culture, environment of the big city, and the people that I met, really impacted my insight of not only Chile, but how cultures are similar throughout the world. I also saw just how beautiful the earth really is! The trip widened my spectrum about differences/similarities in medical care, how to get around a new city, and most importantly, the importance of taking the time to get to know the strangers you are surrounded by. The random conversations I started up with people waiting at the bus stop or vendors at the market were the ones that expanded what my knowledge of diversity is (and also helped me refine my Spanish). It was my first time leaving the country without family and I can definitely say that I am hungry for more experiences.

Things I'll miss:

I'll miss the expectancy of a kiss on the cheek when saying hello or chao to closest friends and complete strangers.

I'll miss the constant availability of empanadas that gave me joy in the form of pino (beef and onions), carne y queso (beef and cheese) or pollo con queso (chicken and cheese). They were always less than $2 everytime too.

I will miss my host family and their conversations durante la once (during what American consider dinner but they usually have tea and bread, not whole meals).

I'll miss the small dog Benjamin who, though pessimistic at times, would always jump in my lap to snuggle.

I'll miss the fact that almost everywhere was accessible by metro, bus, or simply walking,

I'll miss the security guard at my host family's apartment who wouldn't let me through the gate without a little light hearted banter everyday.

I'll miss the patience of my host family as well when I took forever to tell stories and probably butchered the Spanish as well, but they always acted like they understood.

I'll miss the vibes of Copa América that united basically everyone inside of Chile's borders every single game. Including cheers like "¡C-H-I... (Chi)... L-E....(Le)... Chi-Chi-Chi-Le-Le-Le, Viva Chile!"

I'll miss mis compañeros, who are from all over the United States and truly are a unique group that I am glad to have gotten to know. From Washington to Florida, oboe player to football player, everyone was a genius in their own right.

I hope to take the freedom of traveling and submersing myself into the Santiago culture with me here in the United States. I did some things I have never done before that are readily available to do near me, but I never took the opportunity to try. I definitely want to explore more Latin American countries as well as I feel the culture shock will not be bad at all having this trip under my belt.

I'm truly blessed to have had this experience and been able to share it as well. Thanks for coming away conmigo!

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