Despite what my blog posts and Instagram pictures show, I’m not just in Chile for hiking, sightseeing, and eating. My main purpose for travelling to Chile is to improve my ability to communicate in Spanish and one of the ways I am doing this is by attending classes at La Pontificia Catolica Universidad de Valparaíso (PCUV) three days a week.  Through my program, I was able to enroll directly in classes at La Catolica, in the international studies program, or in classes taught exclusively for CIEE (the program I am enrolled through). I chose to take classes for international students and a class through CIEE. However, all of the classes are taught in Chile’s rapid fire Spanish. I’ve found that one benefit to being with other international students is that I’m not the only one with a confused or vacant look.

I am really enjoying learning about Chile’s rich political and cultural history through literature and history classes. Chile is known as the “Country of Poets” due to famous authors like Pablo Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, and Pablo de Rokha, so I decided to take a Chilean Poetry class to further learn about the poets and their works in the twentieth century. The most challenging class so far is creative writing in Spanish. It’s difficult to reroute thinking from English to Spanish in order to actually write in Spanish rather than just translate thoughts from English. So far, the workload has been far easier here than at Minnesota because there are not the expectation to do a lot of work outside of class. But, the structure inside of the classroom is very similar to a typical lecture in the U.S.

Since this post has been about school rather than the fun parts of study abroad, here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been up to the other four days of the week:

  • Visiting Santiago with my host family for a birthday party. I didn’t get to see the city, but we went for the day to celebrate one of their granddaughter’s 5th birthday. It was fun to meet the extended relatives of my Chilean family and I was excited that I could follow the conversations about 80% of the time.
  • Touring Valparaíso’s murals. The city is full of artwork and most buildings have some type of graffiti or professional painting done on the exterior. My favorite is one of a women holding flowers, but when the viewer steps closer to the mural the center rose is actually an anatomical heart.

I can’t believe that I’ve been here for three weeks, it has been going by so fast. Next week will be a month, which is crazy to think. I’ve been taking videos of my adventures so my plan is to post my usual blog and a video of the past month. Hasta la próxima semana, ciao!

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