Week one is in the books! Friend-wise, I’m working on things. I have met so many people: all very kind and welcoming. I have a desk in the Biomedical Engineering Department, so I frequently see the same people. Many speak English and are eager to ask me about what I think of Chile and they remind me to travel and make the most of my time here. I haven’t spoken at length with many of the other students who work/study here yet, but hopefully we’ll meet soon. Thursday night, I went out for drinks with a few people who I’ve met so far. We spoke in English, which was refreshing, but I’m trying to speak in Spanish as much as possible. A mix, however, is helpful to me right now so that I don’t get lost in conversations. For the most part, we all come and go in the office and work as we please. Next week, my professor is organizing a group meeting so that I can introduce myself to the rest of the lab.
Last night, Friday, I went out with RO and FP to say hi and spend some time catching up. Both are connected to Drexel. RO was a huge help to me beginning before I left: she advised me on what it would be like here before I came, and showed me around the public transportation and campus once I arrived. She also acted as a liaison between my host mom and myself when we had some emailing trouble before I came. I’m grateful to have her here!
My host family continues to make me feel at home. I am very happy to be living with a family as opposed to being on my own. We eat dinner together almost every night, and it’s a nice opportunity to practice speaking and then also to listen. There is always music playing in the apartment in the evening, and it’s a warm and inviting place to be. (Warm in the figurative sense. In actuality, it’s still pretty darn cold. Spring needs to hurry up a little bit because I’m still wearing a long sleeve and a sweater under my fleece jacket every morning.) I’m going skiing tomorrow too! I’m very excited! My host mom has been incredibly helpful: giving me recommendations and she even provided me with snowpants and gloves. I’ll post pictures when I can!
This past Thursday, I had a meeting with my professor to discuss my progress thus far and to get a better idea of what my goals should be in the coming weeks. Through the first portion of my reading, I found that my current knowledge lacks a solid understanding of the properties of materials and their responses to stress. I am continuing to study for the next week or so, before I can delve into more detail in the lab. Concurrently, I am introducing myself to Python. My current programming experience consists of writing functions in MatLab. Python, however, is becoming more commonly used as it open source, and can be used freely and even distributed for commercial use. MatLab, on the other hand, is quite costly if you do not have access to a university license. More on work later!