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Challenging Chile

August 29, 2016
by Soleil Ephraim ’17

“After my trip to Chile, I feel more independent and confident in myself. It was my first time traveling alone; however, navigating through the airport was the easy part. My initial shock occurred once I boarded my plane from Atlanta to Santiago, Chile. The man sitting next to me attempted to start a conversation in Spanish. As he spoke to me, I stared at him with a face of confusion. I had absolutely no idea what he was saying. However, as my trip progressed, I adjusted to the Chilean lifestyle: rapid speed of speaking and countless slang (once you learn how to speak Spanish in Chile, you can accomplish anything). One of the most rewarding moments from the trip was when I realized I was thinking in Spanish while at my hostess’s school. Ultimately, it was amazing for me to use what I had been studying in a classroom for years and apply those skills to a real life situation. My host family was super kind in ensuring that I felt at home in Chile. They took me to incredible places such as El Arco Iris and La Valle de la Luna. Overall, this student exchange pushed me out of my comfort zone by challenging my language skills and ability to adapt to new situations. I feel inspired to continue traveling in the future, and participate in a research-related trip in a Spanish-speaking country. Te recomiendo que participes en un intercambio de estudiantes. La experiencia fue inolvidable y bacan… ¿Cachai?”