Today was a great day for the group. We attended our first class at ECELA and after a week of classes, I think everyone is feeling proud of how much they have grown in their Spanish skills. After working hard all week, we took off from our second Spanish class today to do some exploring in the city. And, the sun came out to join us on our adventures! It has been rather cold and cloudy since we arrived, so today the warmth of the sun on my face as we walked (A LOT!) through the city was much appreciated.
First, we visited the Museum of Memory and Human Rights which is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Chilean dictatorship. While this was certainly a somber experience, it was an opportunity for us to better understand the country we are visiting as well as to reflect on all that we have for which to be thankful. Although this was my third visit to the museum, I found it to be extremely moving and took the opportunity to sit and meditate/pray for a bit on a bench surrounded by candles and facing a giant wall covered in photos of victims. I am thankful for that opportunity.
After the museum, we visited an artsy neighborhood, Barria Lastarria. There we saw art on the walls of buildings. In this picture, you can see expressions of the Chilean people’s desire to improve their education system. We have learned from our colleagues at the university as well as from our studies of Chile that the right to free and equitable education is a major issue in Chile at this time.
We also climbed to the top of Cerro Santa Lucia. Here is a bit of information about the location.“This small rocky hill was originally called Huelén by the Mapuches inhabiting the region. The Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia later changed its name to Santa Lucía. It was at the foot of this hill that Pedro de Valdivia founded the city of Santiago on February 12th, 1541.” (http://www.southamerica.cl/Chile/Santiago/Cerro_Santa_Lucia.htm)
We had amazing views of the mountains and the city of Santiago from the top of the hill. Tomorrow we will go hiking in mountains, so I know the views will be even more magnificent! Then, on Sunday, we will visit the coast. We have a busy weekend ahead of us, but I think we are all very excited to see more of this beautiful country!
Hi. I'm a professor in the Exceptional Education Department at SUNY Buffalo State. I am thrilled to be heading back to Chile for the 3rd time for IPDS Chile 2017. I am looking forward to experiencing all Santiago has to offer, continuing to practice my Spanish skills, and guiding our wonderful group of student participants through this amazing experience!