Hola from Chile! I am currently a CISB Spanish track member studying abroad in Santiago de Chile. Unlike a lot of the others from this blog, I have been here in Chile since July! I know, it’s crazy, I can hardly believe I am in the second half of my study abroad experience. Three months have passed since arriving, so I will just give a few highlights of my experience thus far.
I am attending Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) which is a very nice university with four campuses in four different parts of the city. Currently, there are about 500 exchange students attending PUC and I have met people from all over the world. My classes are a great mix of foreign and Chilean students, which I really like! Most of my classes are at the San Joaquin campus which is located about 25 minutes outside of the city center. Although it takes a while to get to campus, one cannot complain about the scenic views; the Andes Mountains loom over the campus making it an ideal place to take some photos and enjoy the impressive Chilean environment.
When I first arrived it was WINTER! Yes, I knew it was going to be winter but I was not prepared to fall asleep seeing my breath because central heating does not exist! It even snowed; apparently it was the first time in years (I heard anywhere from 10 to 100 years…who knows) that snow had stuck to the ground in the metropolitan Santiago area. Everyone was out on the streets shocked and astonished by what was happening. I too, was shocked! Once again, I went to bed thinking I was freezing to death!
Good news though, it’s springtime now and the weather is absolutely gorgeous! Right now it is consistently in the 70s and 80s and I am taking advantage of the beautiful urban parks that are scattered throughout the city! I live about a five minute walk from Parque Esculturas that is wonderfully green and full of statues made by local Chilean artists.
Besides spending quality time in the numerous urban parks, I have taken advantage of my weekends by traveling all over Chile. I also traveled to Argentina and Uruguay over the Chilean Independence Day holiday. This past weekend I took a LONG (22 hours) bus ride to the north of Chile to San Pedro de Atacama, the driest desert in the world. There, I visited the El Tatio geysers, the world’s highest geothermal field, Laguna Chaxa, a salt lake (3rd largest in world) and Lagunas Altiplánicas, high altitude lakes. From my Chilean travels, I really have seen how this country is one of extremes. From the driest desert in the world in the north to Patagonia in the south! The variety of environments in Chile is really amazing!
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