Love at First Night: Studying Abroad in the City of Santiago

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Hello, everyone!

It has already been one week that I’ve been in Santiago de Chile and I’m happy to say that everything has been going well. I landed in the city on January 8th, this was before most students had landed and I didn’t know anyone from here, so I took a taxi from the airport and stayed in a hostel in the center of the city. I resorted for this option because staying in hostels is generally inexpensive and safe. Most people there are traveling from other countries, so it’s a nice way to meet people from all over the world and it’s also comfortable because everyone there is in the same boat in that they are new to the environment.

The view from my room was incredible! I didn’t get a picture of it, but I fell in love with the city the night I got here. I took this picture the morning after I had arrived though:

The view from Plaza de Armas Hostel in Santiago de Chile.

Would you just look at that! You can spot the Andes in the background, it’s truly breathtaking and even more so in person.

I didn’t last too long in the hostel, as I had to go to my orientation this morning, so after I parted with this view, I got a taxi and headed over to my host university where the directors and other students for my program welcomed me.

Something I really love about my program, USAC, is that they accept people from all over the U.S., so I’ve met people from all over the country already, which I find fascinating because I’m getting to know a lot more cultures. I’ve met most students and found that all of us share the feeling of anxiety and fear, but the good kind. The kind you allow yourself to feel because you anticipate the growth and the positive things it’s coming along with. Most of us came to Chile without friends from home, hoping to make friends here, which is something cool. So far, everyone has turned out to be very friendly; we all warmed up to each other pretty quickly because we are all just trying to feel comfortable in a foreign setting.

I had my first day of classes yesterday, January 14th, and I already love the school! My first professor began by highlighting the importance of creativity in academic settings. It seems to me that these professors prioritize learning rather than getting straight A’s and that’s not something I see often back in the states. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home university, but sometimes I do feel that because a lot of students’ goals are to get A’s, professors feel like they need to make it about grades by telling us exactly what is going to be on tests and how to get an A in their class instead of “forcing” us to enjoy the process of learning. I guess I might be part of the minority in my stance, but anyway, I am just excited to see how this new type of learning environment works out for me. I think I will love it, but only time will tell.

I have also gone on a city tour. USAC takes its students on a couple of field trips, one of them being a tour of the city. It was a great way to interact with the other students as well as become familiar with the conglomerate of enviroments we are surrounded by.

The following pictures are not part of the tour that USAC took us on, but they are part of a city tour I gave myself, so I wanted to share them with you just so you have an idea of where I’m at. 

                                Teleférico in Cerro San Critóbal.

Me and the view from Cerro San Cristóbal.

It’s really a lovely place and I’m enthused my journey here has began. I’ll talk to y’all next week (:

Best,

Jessica Ramos