¡Hola! I am writing my first blog ever from Santiago, Chile, where I am studying abroad with the Tufts in Chile program. Study abroad is the best opportunity for college students to learn about new cultures, new languages, and learn more than they could ever learn in a classroom. Many students come into college knowing they want to study abroad, but have no idea where they want to go or how to start. I was one of these people as an incoming freshman. I'll tell you the story of how I chose my study abroad program and hopefully some of it will resonate with you!
The most important aspect of study abroad for me was language. I have been learning broken Spanish my whole life, but I wanted to be fully immersed in the language to become fluent. My Dad is an immigrant from Guatemala and my Mom is Cuban-American. So as you can imagine, learning Spanish has always been important to me. Once I decided I wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country, I thought "great, now I only have to decide between all the countries in Latin America plus Spain." So, I started my research on the Tufts study abroad website.
The first thing I learned during my research was that I could either study with a Tufts study abroad program, do a different program that has been already Tufts approved, or I could find another program and apply for approval. The benefit of Tufts programs is that you stay enrolled in the university -- meaning your financial aid carries over, classes can count for majors, you go with other Tufts students, and you have constant support from Tufts faculty. We have programs in Beijing, Chile, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, London, Madrid, Oxford, Paris, and Tübingen, Germany.
Since only two Tufts programs are in Spanish-speaking countries, I continued my search through the approved non-Tufts programs. I considered places like Cuba, Argentina, and Perú. I ultimately realized that Chile would be the best fit for me due to the opportunities that exist here for my majors. I am triple majoring in Environmental Studies, International Relations, and Music. Chile has a fascinating political history and relationship to the environment. Between the relations with indigenous communities and the ecological diversity in the country, I was sure Chile would be the best place to continue my area of study that I had began at Tufts.
I am overjoyed that I decided to do the Tufts in Chile program. I have learned more than I thought possible in such a short amount of time. I am looking forward to recounting my adventures more on this blog. ¡Nos vemos pronto!