As soon as we arrived in Chile I knew it was time to put my Spanish to use. I still struggle with speaking and understanding accents, and Chileans talk extremely fast. It is said that they sing when they talk, and once you hear one talk you know exactly what this saying means. However, once I arrived to the house of my host family I realized that my Spanish wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. It was a relief to hear my host mom say that I spoke good Spanish. All I had to do was tell her to speak a little slower, and I was able to understand what she said.
After meeting our host families, the cohort and I met at ECELA, which is the program that we will be taking Spanish classes at. We later walked to Universidad Mayor, which is our partner university. After taking a walk-through Santiago, my cohort and I decided to have lunch at a local restaurant. Here, I put my Spanish skills to the test because there were a ton of names of names of food on the menu that I didn’t know.
As far as culture, there is so much affection in this country! Every person you meet gives you a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I´m very much an estadounidense (person from the U.S.) because I´m far more comfortable greeting someone with a handshake. I hope this is something I can get accustomed to, because this is part of the Chilean way of life.
Imagine you went to a new country where they spoke English, but not the same English as you. Think about what life would be like if you were always greeted with a hug and kiss. Also, imagine what life would be like if you had no central heating. That’s what it’s like in Santiago. It´s quite different than the average day in Buffalo, NY, but I´m excited to see what new things there are to learn and see in Santiago.