So I have been living in Viña Del Mar, Chile for about 2 weeks now. I started classes on Wednesday in Valparaíso at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso. So here’s some background information to let you know a little bit more about my situation:
I am a graduate student, earning my Masters degree in Spanish. This past summer I studied abroad in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and it was not the experience I was hoping for so unfortunately for this trip I was making a lot of comparisons. I was just hoping it would be better than the Dominican. (So far so good).
A quick run down of the past two weeks:
- PACKING: So easy thanks to Pinterest. I have traveled a million times before for shorter periods of time and I think I packed the best for this trip because I only packed clothes I knew I would actually wear. The best tip I read was if you don’t wear it frequently at home, you’re not going to frequently wear it abroad. I’m notorious for having overweight baggage and this time around my bags were under weight which leaves room for more souvenirs!!
- FLIGHT: I flew from Memphis to Dallas, where I met with Megan, the other graduate student traveling with me, then we flew to Santiago, Chile. The second flight was about 9 hours, but wifi and movies on the plane made it a little easier to sit in the tiny seat, next to a little boy with stinky feet. From the airport we road with a group of other students to our school where our host family picked us up.
- Day 1: After our family picked us up we had a huge meal at our new home with lots of wine (good start for me) and then Megan and I (we’re living with the same family) took a long nap due to jet lag. We met our madre, padre, our “sister” and her newborn baby. There are two other sisters, but they all live else where. This sister is visiting from Patagonia and said we are welcome to stay with her anytime.
- Week 1: This week included a lot of orientation type meetings. Kind of boring, but it was helpful to learn all this new information. Megan and I met the other student traveling from Ole Miss as well, Will. I noticed that the younger Chilean crowd loves to wear Vans. Perfect timing for the “Damn Daniel” video that went viral. I have also seen countless wrinkle faced dogs, which I love, because I have a Pug. (Go follow him on Instagram @PrinceGeorgeThePug)
- Week 2: We’ve made various friends and have continued traveling around with Will the past two weeks. We have gone to a few different beaches, but Reñaca was my favorite because it was much cleaner. Will took us on an adventure where we climbed all these hills to get a good view of Valparaíso and to see all the art and colorful houses like you see on Google. We have gone out to the bars a few different times and it is much different than Oxford. In Oxford when you’re typically home by midnight, people are just starting to go out by midnight here. Long story short, we did not get home til 4 am.
- Food: Our madre told us they do not typically eat dinner, instead they drink coffee or tea. They eat big meals at breakfast and lunch. We have eaten way too much bread and our meals consist of a lot of vegetables and less meat. This is perfectly fine by me and as for the bread, when in Rome, am I right? I’ve been craving peanut butter and jelly’s and Chick-Fil-A though. The struggle is real.
To see more of my adventures you can follow me on Instagram, @RileyDunworth
Hasta Luego! 🙂