It has been over a month since we left Chile. Life has been crazy and this summer has flown by! I am working on finishing up my research project and we are sadly wrapping up this course.
The three weeks we lived in Chile were well spent. I am thinking back to all of the moments I stopped and reminded myself to never forget. The personal and professional experiences were both extremely valuable and I will carry everything I learned in Chile with me as I move forward in my career. The personal growth I experienced included becoming more flexible and keeping an open mind. We had many conversations about the relaxed atmosphere of Chile’s culture. While we are used to tight schedules and living by the clock, the Chileans spent their time enjoying one another’s company and if a meeting runs late, that’s okay. I had a very fixed opinion on how important schedules are, and I still think its respectful to show someone that you arrive at a certain time to show you are reliable and can manage time, but in Chile their culture is different and they have the luxury of a more casual time schedule. It is good to recognize the benefits of both of these concepts.
Thinking about my future teaching, I will always keep with me the ideas of language learning. Putting myself into a similar situation that many students come to our schools and face was the best challenge I could have given myself. Taking the Spanish classes at Ecela were completely in Spanish, my host family only spoke Spanish to me, and every restaurant or shop we went to brought us more Spanish. It was exhausting and I needed a lot of help. As far as learning the language I would have liked more pictures and different approaches to learning the vocabulary and this is something I know I will need to offer to my English language learners. I also learned how it felt to be in front of 25 eighth graders yelling at me to say something in Spanish that I had no idea what it meant. They were all laughing and I felt like they were trying to get me to say something funny so they could laugh at me, and that made me feel awful whether their intentions were good or bad, I had no clue. This idea sticks with me and I hope to remember that when I have an English language learned it is important to not just keep telling them to “say this… say this…” and that laughter can be confusing when you don’t understand the humor.
Thank you to everyone that made this trip possible and everyone I met along the way!
Dr. del Prado was the most amazing human being to travel with. We were so thankful for her guidance and Spanish speaking abilities! I don’t know what we would have done with out her scheduling our plans, plan b’s, and plan c’s.
It was so great to get to know Dr. Patti, who I had not known before the trip! She brought so much to the table with her expertise in EXE Ed and her sense of humor and giant backpack gave us many laughs along the way.
Ecela was an incredible school to study Spanish at. I loved the set up and the classes I took. The opportunities to meet other people from around the world in that setting were so valuable. They set up many activities for us to interact with all of the other students. Horseback riding, trekking, watching the World Cup, cooking empanadas, the trip to Vina del Mar and Valparaiso… were all major additions to the trip that really helped us experience Chile. I loved my teachers Javier, Francisco, Ingrid, and Rodrigo. And I’d like to give a major shout out to Astrid, who planned all of our fun outings with her larger than life personality.
It was also through Ecela that we met our dear friends Nicci and Nikki! Nicci from Scotland was an amazing girl that I hope to one day visit in her country and Nikki from Miami shared some incredible memories with us, I hope to see her soon and I will always consider her a friend.
Escuela 25 is a wonderful school to partner with and actually working in the classrooms with the children was such an amazing experience. I can still see their smiling faces! They were all so excited to learn English with us and ask us a million questions. The last day we were there when they did “English Day” for us was such an impressive effort that they put together! I am so thankful for the principal and all of the teachers who welcomed us into the school.
Universidad Mayor was another crucial partnership that welcomed us to Chile. The professors and students were so good to us and I am glad that we have a relationship with us. My penpals Catalina and Danella were so helpful and I loved having the opportunity to write to them before even leaving for Chile. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to present at their University and I really hope that one of their students will get to come here and study with us at our school.
Last, but not least and I hope I’m not forgetting anyone! I owe my life to my amazing host family, Meri, Ignacio, and Javiera. In three short weeks I went from, “Daniela from Neuva York” to “Princesa Danielieta.” I was so comfortable with them and not only did they cook me wonderful meals but gave me a great place to live, have some really great conversations, and become part of a Chilean family.