Okay- so its been awhile and a lot has happened. I arrived here in Viña on the 20th and have been busy ever since. I life in a beautiful house in Viña del Mar and attend the Universidad Catolica in Valparaiso. The two cities are different but next to each other so are considered as one. It takes only 10/15 mins for me to get from my house to the University. I am only a few blocks away from the beach--where i have been spending all my free time of course- and only 3 blocks from one of the most popular bars for the students. Claudio (my host dad) is 41 and is a civil engineer. He also raises pure breed german shepards and participates in dog shows--his dogs are some of the best in Chile and the best all around in South America!! Karla (my host mom) is 33. I have two host brothers--Bastian 11 years old and Jose 9 years old. They are too cute and soo sweet. We also have a maid who lives in the house who does absolutely everything for us--definitely spoiling me a bit!!! For the past two weeks we have been participating in orientation. This last week arrived 160 other students from other exchange programs. So with the 32 from my program and the 160, we are almost 200 students--unfortunately only one eye candy....Classes at the university start this coming monday, though I dont start til tuesday since I only will be taking classes on tuesday, wednesday, and thursday so that I will have more time to travel. I am taking two history classes, 1 class on traditional chilean dance, 1 class given by my program, and 2 classes in regards to international trade and customs. I have enrolled at the dance studio that is only two blocks from my house, taking modern dance, salsa, tango and arabic dances (belly dancing) classes. I am also going to be joining the Salsa dance club at the university as well as a volunteering for teaching english to local public schools (in the end we are given a certificate by the minister of education and president of chile). This coming wedneday the 32 in my program will be heading to Pucon...about 14 miles south of us for 5 days, so we are all looking forward to that. Besides that things have been going great. I already have a great feel for the two cities and getting around is much more easier now that I know how to get everywhere and where most everything is. My host family has been absolutely fantastic as well as all my friends. We´ve been hitting the beach almost everyday and everyone is always in shock to see how such a small town Vermont girl can get so tan...ha ha...its quite funny cause im darker than even some of the darkest chileans..but it helps in not sticking out as a "gringa" as most everyone else does. I have felt absolutely safe here and have grown very fond of Viña/Valpo. as well as Chile. One more note...I have turned my cellphone off as I have a new Viña one and will only turn the other on if something were to happen to this one. So again, the new number is 011-56-8-611-6482 (that is all you need to dial to reach me) and of course my email. Love to all. D
The first portion of this blog is from when I spent my last semester of college abroad in Valparaiso, Chile at the Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, finishing up my requirements for my dual degree in Hispanic Studies and International Affairs. I lived with a host family in the neighboring city of Vina del Mar during spring semester of 2005.
July 2007- May 2008 I took off again, this time my travels took me to the other side of the globe - spending three months in Alexandria, Egypt studying Arabic and then 6 months outside of Accra, Ghana working at a UN Refugee camp for Liberians - with ... full info