Chile: An Adventurer of a Lifetime
This is the first of a series of blog posts written by students, reflecting on their time in Chile so far. We’re hearing from Kate first, as she reflects about the expedition and the traveling we have done inside Chile.
I entered Chile excited for the new experience, but nervous all the while for the leadership and cultural challenges. While this feeling of nervousness heightened, excitement also set itself into my bones when we arrived to Chile. Landing in the Santiago airport opened my eyes to the Chilean culture. Compared to America, the rush caused by people was slowed down. The generosity of all the Chileans greatly surprised me; everyone here is super friendly. Traveling through and exploring small towns has provided me the opportunity to see the way that Chileans live. An amazing feature, I believe, is how there are numerous sheep, horses, and cows populating the countryside besides all the farms of fruit. Its superb to see the part of Chile that we’ve traveled through so far be so connected with the food they consume and how the raise their own animals for milk and meat.
In the past two weeks of being here, my confidence in speaking Spanish and conversing with Chileans has greatly improved. Chileans are always helpful, even when I don’t correctly pronounce a word or structure a sentence correctly. This has increased my confidence and has made me more willing to have more conservations in Spanish. My listening ability has greatly improved as well. Even if I don’t understand something the first time it is said, the Chileans are always willing to repeat what was just said. While in Chile, I’ve already had one day where I was leader of the day with a fellow student. On this day, the group spilt into two; the boys kayaked the Siete Tazas while the girls stayed at the campsite and did roll practice. Although the schedule was running slightly behind, the day ended smoothly with few quirks. A challenging part of the day was the switching of campsites with a five hour drive in between them. Due to the fact that we are in Chile, all the maps and road signs are in Spanish. With a basic background of Spanish, understanding the directions on the maps and road signs was difficult. If need be, there was always the possibility of asking a local directions to our destination.
From this experience I hope to get unforgettable moments, both regarding leadership and cultural exchange. With my Spanish, I plan to perfect the basics of the language and add more words into my vocabulary. In regards to leadership, I plan to work on my communication skills and other skills to improve my leading skills.