Semester Sixteen Speaks: A Collection of Quotes

Alzar School | 21.02.20

As we enter into the fifth week of Alzar School Semester Sixteen, students have explored the town of Coyhaique, baked bread with our local chefs, paddled river kayaks, swam through rapids and so much more.  At this moment, they have recently embarked on their Chile mountain and river expeditions!  And all of this while attending classes during the week, navigating rigorous homework assignments and getting acquainted with a group of folks who were strangers just one month ago.

My fellow teachers and I have heard quite fascinating exclamations since we have arrived in Chile; so, for this post, I am letting the students speak for themselves.  This series of quotes seems to adequately summarize the high-points, and some points-of-learning, from our students’ experiences during our very first semester at Base Patagonia.

Students gather for an epic view of the Coyhaique region atop Cerro Diversadero

Amid the often hectic schedule, students have prioritized getting to know each other, as well as enjoying their time in the breathtaking Lago Atravesado valley.  One student described Alzar School as “a place for friendship and growth.” Sam is excited to have “made 36 new friends!” and yet another student expresses they “love [their] refugio mates.”  Sam remarked that “the view from my refugio is so pretty – AHHHH!” and Madi commented while running on a road “in the middle of a different planet or something” that she “can’t believe this is my PE class!”

A vista of Lago Atravesado from a quincho at Base Patagonia
Looking west on a run from Base Patagonia

Students have experienced relatively little down time and are making the most of every moment here.  Teague, for instance, asked a classmate “how do you say this has been the best day of my life, in Spanish!?” and Santiago notes that he “can’t wait to go kayaking again … and again and again and again.”  A common reflection during moments of exploration is that “I would be in third period right now.”

Some deep personal reflection and mantras have been established by a few:

  • “Don’t sympathize with my weakness, but with my strengths” – Carson
  • “Love many, trust few, but always paddle your own canoe” – Brynn & Abby
  • “Alzar is not just a school, it’s a smile” – Darshan

And a few extra special lessons have been learned, particularly in regards to Alzar School community norms, the joys of rural plumbing, and dealing with homesickness:

  • “That’s a 9:20” – anonymous 
  • “You really only need one square of toilet paper” – anonymous
  • “I don’t miss home because Alzar is my home” – Darshan

Perhaps unsurprisingly, students also confess cravings for hamburgers and chicken fried rice.  Maya adds a classic “YOLO” to the mix of reflections. And, within this group, there is an apparent obsession with “Doritos locos tacos” and “sopapillas”, two favorite local snacks. 

Students eating dinner in the Bodega at Base Patagonia

Thank you for the wise words, Semester Sixteen!  We cannot wait to hear what more you will have to say post-expedition.  Let the adventure (and fried starch) continue… 


  • About the author: Rachel Ackerman is a Science Teacher and a Blog Coordinator at Alzar School.  Feel free to contact her at with comments, concerns, and interesting topics for future blog posts!  
  • Check out the Alzar School Instagram page, @alzarschool, for more recent photos from our incredible weekend activities.