Tomorrow is the big day! I am so excited to be returning to Chile – to see familiar sites and more importantly, familiar faces. I met so many wonderful people when in Chile last year and when Chilean visitors came to visit Buffalo the past two years. I look forward to reuniting with colleagues, partners, and friends.
This year, I will be staying with a wonderful friend, Javiera, who is a professor of English Pedagogy at Universidad Mayor. Last year, I stayed with a host family, like the students. That was a wonderful opportunity, but I couldn’t pass up the invitation to stay with Javiera. I am sure she will make me feel so welcome and we will have many wonderful times together while I am in Chile.
Below is a picture of an event put on in February by a campus group that I co-advise, the Student Council for Exceptional Children. We were thrilled to have our guests from Chile join our event. Javiera is in the back row, third from the left. I am in the front row, second from the left. Many of the people pictured are from Chile, though you likely are not able to tell which ones. These are just a few of the faces I am looking forward to seeing soon!
Javiera speaks English perfectly, which is a bonus to staying with her, but I will have to ask her to force me to use my Spanish from time to time. Aside from that, we will be in an immersive Spanish class for four hours a day and also using Spanish all over the city. So, I am sure I will get plenty of practice.
I had barely ever studied Spanish prior to going to Chile last year (only in 6th grade, I think), but now I am very interested in the language. Over the past year, I have attended Club HoLA weekly on campus, attended lessons at a language institute in Buffalo, and practiced often on an online app. So, I am way ahead of where I was last year. I can carry on a whole basic conversation if the person I am speaking with is extremely patient, speaks slowly and clearly, and only uses words I know. Ha… that sure does narrow the list of conversational partners and topics! One of my favorite and much-needed expressions…. “¿Puedes repetir eso mas despacio, por favor?”
Nevertheless, I am proud of the progress I have made with the language thus far. I can’t wait to get back to Santiago and have the dedicated time to study the language. I have even been gently nudging my husband to start learning Spanish. I tell him it will be fun to practice together and also that he better learn because eventually, I may just drag him off to live in Chile with me for a time. I really love it that much there! But, for now, I will take my next three week visit and embrace every moment of it.
Even more so than my own experience, I am really anticipating the excitement and opportunity that awaits the students. I know what a rewarding experience it was for us all last year and I expect nothing less this time around.
As we prepared for our travel this semester, I had the opportunity to get to know all of the students, which was really nice. A couple of them had also been previous students of mine from semesters past, so it was great to have that foundation as well. These eight young ladies are a wonderful group and I know they will represent Buffalo State very well. I hope you take the time to check out all of their blogs to learn about their experiences and hear each of their unique reflections!
Vamos a Chile en menos de 24 horas! It is now officially time to pack! Chao!
My name is Angela and I am an Assistant Professor in the Exceptional Education Department at SUNY Buffalo State. I am very excited to be returning to Santiago, Chile this May/June alongside eight outstanding Buffalo State students. Please follow our blogs, and our journey!