Where do I even begin?! This long, action packed and fun filled day was truly such a remarkable experience for me and it is only day two of my travels in Santiago, Chile.
I first would like to point out the fact that my alarm clock smoked and essentially exploded last night at 11pm before going to bed and actually waking to my phone alarm this morning was an incredible feat in itself, so this set the positive energy for my day.
After having a wonderful, yet incredibly carb-loaded breakfast provided by my amazing and ever kind host mother, I was sent on my way to ECELA, where I truly began the immersion process to "todos espanol" or everything Spanish. Believe it or not, my incredible lack of knowledge of the language held its own in two, 100 minute classes of straight Spanish where no English was allowed. It was challenging, yes, but at the same time it was so much fun to a point where it didn't even feel like I was doing work.
To be honest, I was amazed with the things that I picked up on so quickly solely by observing actions and body language provided by the professor. I am taking a big note on this for my future as an educator when I will have students of my own just like myself in these classes, barely able to understand the language, I can have a background basic knowledge and first-hand experience to help them and develop their knowledge and immersion of the language.
Later on we FINALLY (long awaited must I say) met our Chilean friends that came to Buffalo in February!! I was truly beyond excited to see my pen pal, Javiera. It is such an awesome feeling to share not only so many similarities, but also a friendship with someone from a completely different culture and area of the world.
Now, I am an incredibly picky person, but I am also always ready to try something new and I'm always up for a good time. Today, ECELA put on a BBQ for us, where we ate tons (when I say tons I truly mean nothing short of feeding an army) of food from Chile and we were also taught the "cueca", which is the national dance of Chile. Being the "social butterfly" of the group, of course it was my job to scope out a good male partner to dance with, as we were paired with servicemen from California who are also students at ECELA. Not only were we (my partner Tony and myself) horrendous and the dance was challenging, we had an absolute ball making fools of ourselves, exposing ourselves to the culture.
I decided - well more like I was forced by my new friend Jason - to try a piece of steak (I cannot STAND any meat due to taste not animals) at the BBQ. As much as I hated it, I was so proud of myself for opening up to new things, trying things out, and putting my beliefs aside even for the short time being.
Today truly was nothing short of a culture shock, but it was absolutely remarkable. As a future education teacher, I can already remark on these experiences that I have had and will face that will truly reflect on my future teachings and my classroom. Today alone showed me to put false pretenses aside, let go of any fears, opinions or doubts, to not be afraid, and just jump. Jump right in to something new and go with it. Today showed me to not be scared of what you do not know, to always be ready to learn, and to come in with an open mind.
Hello everyone! My name is Christine Doherty and I am an undergraduate student attending Buffalo State College pursuing a degree in Special Education, as well as certification in Elementary Education and a minor in Spanish.