Hello all! I'm so excited to be writing my first blog for Tufts admissions. Greetings from Santiago, Chile. I will soon be starting my second semester studying abroad in the Tufts-in-Chile program.
I was originally supposed to spend this semester in Spain, but I ended up deciding to stay here for a second semester. Now, some of you may be thinking "Why the heck would you pass up an opportunity to live in Europe for a semester???" And I wouldn't blame you for thinking that. Buuuuut, you have to trust me on this one, guys, I had my reasons.
It was one of those decisions that occurred to me once, then I would revisit it periodically, turning it around in mind, kind of like a rubik’s cube. But I solved this one without algorithms. I just looked down one day and all the colors had lined up: and then I realized that I was going to stay in Chile.
Like I said, it wasn’t like an extremely rational decision with lists of pros and cons, but rather something that I felt, like a whisper from the universe. But despite my metaphysical musings, I do have some good reasons for staying. The first thing that made me think about staying was the thought of having to make all new friends when I arrived in Spain. I have worked really hard trying to build up friendships here– and let me tell you, it’s emotionally exhausting to try to build so many new friendships, especially in a completely new environment. Plus, I’m still getting to know my Chilean friends. I don’t want to leave while they’re still in that limboland between acquaintance and friend.
Secondly, I feel like I have so much more to learn from this place. Obviously I would see and do a lot in Spain, but I kind of have the impression that it would be more like vacation. In the end, I would have had two rather superficial experiences of different countries rather than one profound experience (which I much prefer.)
The third thing was that the obstacle holding me back from staying here the whole year in the first place was the fact that I would miss most of the next summer, and therefore would not be able to start my thesis before the beginning of senior year. Then I realized– there is a large immigrant population in Santiago (and I wanted to study immigrants in the first place) so why can’t I start gathering data here?
But beyond those big reasons, there are many, many good parts about staying in Chile for the whole year. After reading them, you may agree with me and you may not, but you'll get to make your own decisions when the time comes. Here are 19 of those little reasons. The order says nothing about their gravity, but rather their prominence in my mind at the moment.
1) Medialunas (aka small croissants that have the perfect amount of sweetness)
2) Riding my bike to class. At first I found this to be exhausting (the way to class is uphill the whole way) but now I really enjoy it. I exercise a lot more here than I do at Tufts…
3) I can keep using Chilean slang like huevon, po, cachai, and buena onda (and the Spaniards won’t make fun of me)
4) I will not pick up a Spain Spanish accent (Personally not my favorite accent)
5) My host family. They’re lovely. My mother always makes sure I’m wearing enough sweaters and teases me for keeping my room so messy
6) Cerro Santa Lucia. Google it. Or I’ll do it for you.
7) Getting home at 5 and waking up at 1pm. Que rico
8) Being able to navigate the whole city in bus and metro. This is a big accomplishment for me, as those who are familiar with my poor sense of direction can tell you
9) Fresh fruit, empanadas, JUICE (freshly squeezed! raspberry, chirrimoya, orange, blueberry….)
10) LOLLAPALOOZA CHILE: Of Monsters and Men is coming!!!!
11) Latin dancing. All the time. Merengue, salsa, cueca……
12) Latin dancing. Oh sorry, did I already say that? I really like it….
13) Speaking Spanish (the world just seems a little bit more colorful in Spanish)
14) Wearing alpaca sweaters without being embarrassed of it.
15) Being able to say I lived in South America for a year
16) Living in South America for a year
17) Being able to see other parts of Chile…. the Atacama desert, Patagonia, Chiloe, Iquique, Concepcion…
18) Maybe going to Uruguay?
19) Not having to bring all of my stuff back in one trip
Obviously I could name a lot more things, but for the sake of saving paper– er– virtual storage space, I won’t list them all right now. No doubt after this next semester, I will have many things to add.
Peace out for now.