I have been home from Chile for five days now and I miss it already! I miss all of the people and our crazy schedule. My experience in Chile was life changing and I am so happy I went with such amazing people because without them my experience wouldn’t of have been so incredible. Chile is now just a memory for me, but I will never forget the friendships and memories I had while I was there.
Yesterday was a lot of fun because I had the chance to play with some of my students. All of the students have numerous breaks throughout the day, but in particular lunch is for an hour and once they are finished eating they can go outside and run around. Recess in school 25 is much different then recess in the United States. There isn’t much supervision and the children do not have huge playground sets, but they have the best time! It is so much fun to watch them all play tag, hide-n-seek, and use a rope for jump rope and other fun games. The kids have a lot of freedom, so they are allowed to just be kids!
Today we had off of school because of a teachers strike, so we decided to use our time to reflect. Dr. Patti and Dr. Del Prado had an agenda and planned everything for us. We had thirty minutes to write some of our thoughts and then we discussed them for an hour and a half. Our discussion was very deep and interesting; some of the discussion topics were the pedagogy in Ecela, the pedagogy at school 25, and cultural differences. Having the time to reflect and talk about our experience was really nice and we all enjoyed it. We also discussed our research topics with the professors one on one which was very helpful because we asked questions and had feedback on our thoughts. After our meeting we went to a Peru restaurant which was delicious and everyone loved their food.
Today wasn’t too busy, so many of us had the chance to go home to relax and spend time with our host families!
I can’t believe this is our last week! It feels like we just got here not too long along. Today was our first day at school 25 which is approximately 30 minutes away taking the metro from my house. Although the metro was packed because of rush hour it wasn’t bad at all. When we arrived to the school a lot of students were dressed up for the Chile World Cup game. Students had their faces painted and were wearing colors that represented Chile! I am working with Marcella who teaches English to students in pre-kindergarden, kindergarden, first grade, and second grade. Before our class started this morning she told me a little about their day to day schedule and the school.Their typical school day is 8:00-4:45 and once a week it is 8:00-6:00, so many teachers don’t have time to make the “perfect” lesson plans which can make their days very stressful, but the kids are so affectionate and loving that all of the hard work pays off.
I absolutely loved all of my students today. They were all so sweet and tried their best to speak English with me. Although my Spanish still isn’t that strong I understood what most of them were saying when they would speak slowly. Today I taught two classes of first graders; in both classes we had an objective which was to recall the members of the family. As a class we made a list which included: Mother, father, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, aunt, uncle, aunt, uncle, cousin, and baby. These were all taught previously by Marcella, so it was just a refresher for the students. After I handed out the worksheets and we started to work through each sentence together.
A little bit later I had lunch with some of the students I worked with and we talked about my family. I brought a bunch of pictures to show my students and they all were so excited. They crowded around while I showed them pictures of my parents, sisters, dogs, and extended family. It was really a great moment. After we ate and looked at the pictures I joined them outside for their recess which had a lot more freedom! The students were having so much fun running around and playing with their friends. A few students and I decided to play hop-scotch which was awesome because our language barrier didn’t affect the fun we had!
I have been sick for a few days now and this morning I felt absolutely horrible. After 13 hours of rest I thought I would feel better, but nothing has really changed. I knew I had to make a choice on going back to sleep or going on an adventure that I probably would never have the opportunity to do again.I decided to go hiking in the Andes, which ended up being around a two hour drive. On our way there our tour guide decided to inform us that the volcano we were heading to is active! We all looked at each other and laughed. He also told us that 80% of the volcanoes in Chile are active, which seems like a large percent if you ask me!
Once we arrived to the mountains we put our gear on and bundled up excepting the hike to be chilly because there was a lot of snow. There was so much snow there that we had to go to plan B and do another hike. After 5 minutes of hiking I started to take off layer by layer-it was getting hot! During the hike we were slipping on the snow and falling through which made it very exhausting. The way up seemed to take forever if you asked me, but it was totally worth it! The view of the volcano was gorgeous. On the way down everyone was flopping all over falling in the snow; it was very entertaining for everyone, but we all were troopers! I was so happy I made the right decision and went hiking; it was a once in a lifetime opportunity!
When we got back to Santiago we went directly to the pharmacy, so hopefully I feel better for tomorrow’s adventure! After the pharmacy we went to Dr. Del Prado’s favorite restaurant to grab a bite to eat; it was delicious! Well I am off to bed I am exhausted and I hope your enjoying all of our blogs :)
Last night we all went out with our new friends and it was so much fun! We were all dancing and the time flew by while we were there. It was organized by the Ecela School, so we also had the opportunity to meet more students who go there as well. That being said we were all a little tired today, but it was worth it! Class today was awesome because we had Javier as a sub (he was our teacher the first week) and he is always so happy and sweet to us. He is so patient and helpful when it comes to having a conversation.
After school we went to a school for Autism students. When we showed up the principal and one of the directors of the school greeted us and told us a little about their school and what to expect on our tour. I personally have never been in a classroom with students with special needs, but I want to pursue and earn a certification in Special Education in Graduate School.
The school was very warm and filled with teachers who deeply care about their students. While touring the school we went in a few different types of classrooms and their were different age groups ranging from 5-26. I was very observant and listened to all of the information the director of the school was giving us. She has worked there for 10 years and it was very clear she loved her job and the students she works with.
Not being familiar with students who have autism I was a little nervous when we walked in the small classroom with students who were 18 and older. They were almost all guys and many of them being bigger then me, but all of them were extremely sweet which made me feel more comfortable. Some of the students came up to us and asked us our names and gave us a kiss hello. We even had two students who knew decent English speak to us and conversant. I absolutely adored the students who were at the elementary ages -I had one student come up to me and give me a colored pencil and all of them were just too cute! The school was really organized and they tired their best to make sure each student had everything they need. Many of the students can not communicate verbally, so they use pictures to help them communicate. They also use pictures for directions and for the most part there is around 6-9 students in a class with one or two teachers. It was really an eye opening experience and I hope when I return to college to join the Best Buddies group as well as be involved in other opportunities.
Today was such a good day; I am finally starting to understand spanish a little better! My teacher’s are incredible and have so much patience with me. After class today we went out to lunch and then a cafe which was dedicated to the The Beatles! Danielle absolutely loved it- she is a huge fan! We actually plan on going back Friday to see people sing some of their songs which is exciting.
After we went to Universidad Mayor to give a presentation about SUNY Buffalo State to first and second year students who are studying English pedagogy . Our presentation included many different things such as athletics, activities/clubs, dorm life, and Elmwood. All of the students were really interested and they kept asking questions throughout the presentation. I hope some of them try and come because it would be a great experience for them!
This trip has been absolutely incredible and it’s flying by! Can’t wait to see what the next half of our trip has in store for us!
Another amazing day in Chile! Today we went horseback riding through the foothills of the Andes. Dr. Del Prado, Amber, Danielle, Nikki (from Florida), and I had such a great time although we did miss Dr. Patti! It was such an awesome experience and the view was beautiful. My horse, Rosie Bell (I named her) was so calm and sweet which made the ride so enjoyable. When we got to the rest area we ate lunch and enjoyed the view. It was so peaceful; I could have stayed up there for hours.
When I got home from horseback riding my family had over their extended family for Father’s day and they were all watching the soccer game.
Everyone here is so friendly and welcoming which makes it so easy to live with a host family! Later on, I watched a soccer game with my dad here in Chile;he is awesome! He speaks English very well, so it is easy to have conversations with him especially because I have been struggling with my Spanish. Tomorrow we have classes again I hope to do better this week!
P.S. Happy Father’s Day!
Today was quite the day! We went to Los Domincos, President’s office, and a museum. Los Domincos was awesome, we walked around shopping for two hours and had a nice lunch! After we went to the President’s Office. We were allowed to walk through it It only took five minutes because we weren’t allowed to walk inside or anything, but it was awesome. After we went down to the museum which was actually under the President’s office.
After all of our exploring we all decided to go home and relax because all of us were so exhausted! When I got home I jumped right in my nice and cozy bed to take a nap before dinner. We ate around 8 o’clock and had a chicken soup, rice, and beef; it was delicious! My host Mom is such a great cook! During dinner we always have such funny conversations because we use charades and make noises to help each other understand what we are talking about. It is pretty entertaining! I am so lucky to have such an amazing host family! :)
Today we had our conversation class which was so hard! I am having such a rough time learning Spanish and I becoming so frustrated with myself because I can not understand anything or say anything YET. As the class went on I became very uncomfortable because I felt like I was the only one who was not understanding. My teacher told me both of my sentences were wrong and I broke down, I started crying and leave the classroom. Dr. Patti, who is in my class, came down a few minutes later to talk to me. We talked for a few minutes and I felt so much better. She understood where I was coming from and put everything in a new perspective. After our talk I returned back to our class and just tried my best!
After my class we went out to lunch and Dr. Patti, Dr. Del Prado, Danielle, Amber, and I discussed how I was feeling. I am so thankful to be traveling and going through this experience with such amazing people.
After lunch we went to one of Pablo Neruda’s houses with our new friend Nicci who is from Scotland. It was so cool to visit his house because I read one of his books while I was in EDU 211 at Global Book hour. I met a group of Americans and we became friends quickly, so hopefully I see them out one of these nights.
Later that night, Danielle, Amber, Nicci, and Nikki (from Florida) went out to dinner in Bellavista to watch the soccer game. We decided to go to Montana Steak House and it was a ton of fun. Chile won and everyone went nuts! Shortly after the game ended we left the restaurant and started to walk home when we heard drums. We crossed the street and joined the fun; dancing and chanting Chi, Chi, Chi, Le, Le, Le! We were all having a great time and followed the crowd to a park. The park was full of people who were waving the Chile flag and chanting with excitement. I would have never thought people would have been this excited and happy about winning a soccer game, but they were! People were climbing statues, setting fires in the street, and yelling. While we were in the things started to get a little to rowdy so we decided it was time to leave. All of the sudden we see trucks with water cannons coming towards us to help with the crowd control. People were running in all different directions to run away from the trucks. All five us on were in shock on what we were seeing because none of us had ever experienced being in this type of situation. On our way back to the house we got separated because of all the chaos.(Nikki, Nicci, and I were together and Amber and Danielle were together) Nikki lives the farthest, so Nicci and I who live near each other took her home; we took the bus there and a taxi home. We were very cautious of our surroundings and made sure we stayed together! As soon as I had wifi I had numerous messages from Dr. Del Prado, Danielle and Amber, so I immediately wrote back to let them know the two Nicole’s and I were safe! Although the night became a little hectic we all got home safe and it was an experience; all of us will remember that night for sure! We all realized it is important to leave as quickly as possible when a crowd gathers. Chile plays next Wednesday and we all discussed how we’ll watch this game more safely!