I have officially been living in Chile for one month now and it still feels like unreal! It has been so crazy to me to look back and think about how I have been able to work and study in a country where I can hardly understand the native language. Between taking classes, working, and spending time with my host family, I have truly felt that I have definitely adapted to the culture here in Chile.
Although I have never been to South American before this trip, I believe that my smooth assimilation into the Chilean culture was derived from my experiences in Vietnam since the two countries share similarities in their respective cultures. Some similarities include street vendors, unpunctuality, and an unparalleled love for soccer. In fact, watching Chile play in the Copa America has been one of my favorite experiences here so far because when the national team plays, it feels like the entire city shuts down and all eyes are on glued to a screen watching and chanting “Chi- Chi- Chi! Le- Le- Le! Viva Chile!”
The video above was taken by my friend Pierce after Chile beat Japan in a Copa America game!
On Tuesday, the class was canceled spontaneously because my teacher decided to take the entire class on a field trip to Viña del Mar and to a small nearby town called Reñaca. She took us there because she knew that some of us were having a tough time in our internships and wanted to let us relax a little and go have some fun! Needless to say, but that was the best day of class ever! We shared some ice cream, played on the beach, and got to see a pack of sea lions sunbathing! It was quite an educational experience!
The photos above are images of the beach and shores from Viña del Mar and Reñaca, respectively. It is difficult to see the sea lions resting on the shore, but I promise they’re there!
The following day was a full day of work at my internship, but that was a good thing because I felt like I was doing something meaningful and making a difference in the community! As a team, everyone at work ventured out onto the neighborhoods surrounding the Parque Quintil to collect data on where microdumps and recycling points can be found.
Although this work sounds unappealing, I actually found it to be rather eye-opening since I was able to witness entire neighborhoods with piles of waste accumulating on the streets to the point where I could not see the road anymore. Seeing people living without a waste management system made me realize how important it is that methods of waste mitigation such as recycling and composting needs to be implemented since the locals do not have the luxury of having garbage trucks coming weekly.
The photo above on the left is an image of one of the largest recycling points in the whole city, while the photo on the right is a beautiful sign posted within the Parque Quintil.
As the end of the work week came around, I found out that my partner in my internship was relocated to another position at a separate company. At first, I was worried because we had made a lot of progress on our assigned project already. However, after hearing about the person who would be replacing my partner, Daniel Garcia, I was excited and ready to move forward. Daniel ended up fitting in really well and was a great addition to the team, I could not have been happier with how this had turned out!
The image above was a selfie of Belin, Daniel, and I making our way through neighborhoods to interview!
The weekend was finally here, which meant I got to hang out with my fellow colleagues on this trip again! We decided that we wanted to spend a day in Santiago, and a day in the mountains at a ski resort called Valle Nevado so we traveled to Santiago first and spent the whole day touring places that we did not see the first time we were in the city about 4 weeks ago.
These places involved the Quinta Normal Parque, Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral, and taking a Funicular to the place where we could see a view of the entire city. The following day, we hopped on a bus and traveled up to the highest point of a mountain for one reason, we wanted to see snow!
Unfortunately, however, there was not enough snow to ski and snowboard, so instead, we ended up exploring other towns in the mountains such as Farellones! Here, we learned a lot about the town’s history and how a mummy was discovered in the city because Incans used to send teenagers to Farellones and those who survived and made it back to Peru were deemed as men.
The image above is a photo taken at the top of Valle Nevado! It was also my first time seeing a significant amount of snow!