Madeline Hansen is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Saturday morning my friend Pablo (an ambassador at Universidad Aldolfo Ibanez) invited me to join his friends for a day on the beach in Maitencillo. Maitencillo is a beach/surf town an hour to the north of Viña del Mar. We had a great time on the beach: soaking up the sun, playing paletas and volleyball. Around dinner a few of us headed to a cabaña on cliff in a beautiful cove in Las Ventanas (another costal town). Here we enjoyed the sunset and ate a delicious bbq. After dancing to a few salsa songs we headed back to Viña to Las Ramadas. Las Ramadas is very similar to a county fair, but without animals and a lot more food and alcohol. Every vendor sold the same thing: Anticucho (shishkabbobs), empanadas (similar to pasties), terremotos (wine, grenadine, and pineapple icecream), and choripan (hotdog). There were carnival games everywhere and sketchy rides too ( I wasn't brave enough to try them out). The only game I played was called "spot the flaite." It's an example of classism in Chilean society, as flaites are considered the lower class gangsterish type, perhaps on par with white trash. Overall it was a wonderful day, a great learning experience, and a huge opportunity to use my spanish.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I wanted to study abroad to have real-life application of my spanish major and apply what I have learned in high school and the first two years of college.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Studying abroad was an epic application of nearly every life skill I had acquired up to August 11th, 2011. It was an opportunity to grow and develop my independence, a confidence builder, and a place to build strong friendships.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
I have been affected in every cliche manner in which study abroad can be described. I've changed, grown, become stronger, both physically and mentally. I've made great memories and even greater friends. I have strengthened my confidence and developed a new sense of awareness and cultural understanding, not to mention an exponential increase in my spanish communicating abilities.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
Pack a positive attitude, a spontaneous nature, flexibility, and a willingness to stretch beyond your comfort zone.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Chile? Email Madeline at email@example.com.