#BriannaAbroad – My First Days Studying Abroad in Chile

By: Brianna Huff

¡Hola! My name is Brianna, but friends call me Brie, like the French cheese.  I am currently studying abroad in Chile. My program is International Public Relations, History and Spanish.

It has been a week since my arrival in the beautiful country of Chile. Chile is in South America, located between Peru and Argentina. Since my arrival I have seen and toured the capital of Chile, Santiago. Santiago has a list of historical and botanical gardens to see. I was able to see where Charles Darwin (yes, as in Darwinism) stopped in Santiago on his way to the Galapagos Island. I also visited the home of the most famous Chilean poet, Neruda. Neruda’s home in Santiago is on an island off the coast of Vina del Mar.

With the help of my API advisor, the flight and transition from the airport was smooth. After spending sometime in the capital, we left the main center of the city for the country. In the country part of Santiago we cooked homemade empanadas.

Homemade Empanadas photo by Brianna
Homemade Empanadas photo by Brianna

Empanadas are an essential to the life of a Chilean. Once we were done eating, we made our way to our new home in Vina del Mar and Valparaiso.

The Sister Cities: Valpo and Viña

Later that evening we arrived in Valparaiso. Valparaiso is known for its beauty because of the graffiti art that covers the houses and stairs. There are also some buildings that are UNESCO recognized.

Graffiti Art in the streets of Valparaiso (artist anonymous)
Graffiti art in the streets of Valparaiso (artist anonymous)

The graffiti represents a social and political movement. Chile is operated by the wealthy, which is 1% of the overall population. Some Chileans form protest and the more artistic Chileans draw and paint their thoughts. 15 minutes away from the center of Valparaiso is its sister city Viña del Mar. Viña is known for its beautiful beaches, it is more touristic. It is called the Laguna of Chile. Viña is where I live with a host family. I am a stones throw from the beach.

Living with a Host Family

There were many different options on where to live. I choose to live in Viña with a host family for various reasons. I want to learn the Spanish language, and Viña is a beach town (I am a coastal girl). What better way to learn the language than with a Spanish speaking family? The university I will be attending is in Valparaiso, so I am afforded the best of both worlds. My host family consists of two daughters, Camilia and Andrea; one son in the navy, Viktor; and my host mom, Marizta, a cafe owner. They are both helpful and nice. I have not met the son yet, but I will in less than a week.

In Chile they have a time called “once”, similar to a tea party. They invite friends and family over, then together drink tea and coffee and eat crackers and sweet cookies. Chileans tend to eat dinner, or cena, really late at night. The sun does not set until 8 or 9, and my first time eating dinner in Chile was at 10 pm.

Until next time,

Brie

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