Katherine is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
There were multiple reasons I decided to go to Chile. A major reason why I chose to go there was the language and the culture. Hispanic Studies is one of my majors and for me Chile had a lot to offer besides just Spanish. South America has a completely different feel from the rest of the world and I really wanted to be apart of it, to immerse myself in something that I knew would be life changing.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Although there were many experiences the one that made the biggest impression was definitely my experience at Sanatorio Marítimo and a little boy by the name of Mauricio. The entire volunteer experience was wonderful, but Mauricio was the one that really changed me as a person. He like many others are given a home and care by this hospital because they have a disability. Although he couldn't speak, he could communicate. One day he took my hand and just stared at it like he had never seen anything like it before. I realized when he took my hand and put it up to his cheek that all he wanted was love and affection. It is crazy how a simple touch on a cheek can put a smile on someone's face. A lot of my experiences in Chile have made me rethink the tiniest things we take for granted.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My study abroad experience was absolutely amazing. It was truly life changing. Not only did I meet new people across the world, but I was changed by them as well. Chile is made up of the sweetest, most caring community of people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Chile itself is beautiful. It has everything to offer from deserts to mountains to lakes and the beach. I loved being able to visit almost the entire length of Chile. Absolutely the best experience of my life.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
Studying abroad is a great way to meet new people outside your major and really become close with them. A semester abroad really helps you grow personally through every big and little experience. Academically Chile has helped me learn and understand Spanish more than any class in the United States would have done. Its not the classes that teach you the language but rather the families and the experiences.
are confronted with differences and I enjoy the challenges that brings! Keeps you always thinking.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I would say make sure to immerse yourself in the culture and fully enjoy every moment you have abroad because the time does fly by. Before going and once getting there be open to change. The abroad experience is meant to change you and you should let it because that is the best way to enjoy every moment.
Do you have any questions about studying aborad in Chile? Email Katherine at firstname.lastname@example.org.