Culture Notes and Final Days

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I’m taking the opportunity of my life being quieter to give you a glimpse of the street culture in Santiago as I’ve experienced it. I am fully aware that my perception is biased by the places I frequent and the way I look and speak, but I think that much of the positive behavior of the people around me doesn’t change from me being close by. Although the lifestyle is faster-paced in Santiago than in other parts of the country, I’ve found the people to be welcoming, friendly, and very fun-loving. I feel safe and welcomed and enjoy the more laid-back attitude. Continue reading

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Una Vida Menos Gringa, Más Chilena | A Life Less American, More Chilean

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Club Hipico in Santiago

The view from new bedroom is fantastic! I can swing open the window, hear the birds chirping and hopping around in the trees, and just a little further see where the city is stopped by the mountains. I’ve been exploring the area surrounding my apartment building, and have not yet been disappointed. The people are friendly, the cars drive more slowly, and it feels much more residential. A few blocks from my front steps are more restaurants than I can count: I’ve tried a few so far but will definitely be adding to my repertoire. There are countless yoga studios within walking distance, and advertisements posted all around for concerts, festivals, and pop-up outdoor markets. And with the long days of summer, there’s plenty of daylight to explore. Yes, I am quite pleased with my new home. Continue reading

Some Changes

My second half of co-op – January through March 2015 – will be a little bit different than the first. Three big things you should know going forward:

  1. I’m moving. While it was wonderful having a host family to ease my transition to life in Santiago, I live very far from work. I will be moving into an apartment that cuts my commuting time down from anywhere between 40-80 minutes each way to a nice 20-25 minutes and no need for public buses. I currently live in Las Condes, in a barrio|neighborhood with towering high rises along a main road. I live currently next to a huge shopping mall and a beautiful park, but I’m excited to be moving to Providencia, with smaller shops and in a quieter location. I will be living with two Chileans, and it will save me some money and allow me to be more flexible with my eating and spending.
  2. I have changed my major. As of Winter 2014-15 I will be a Mechanical Engineering student! I’m pumped! I will maintain my minor in Product Design, and still am very open to the idea of pursuing my MS in Biomedical Engineering. Biomed has gotten me to where I am today, and for that I’m grateful. The Drexel Biomed program is strong and I recommend it to those interested in the subject field. I realized, however, that I am more interested in mechanics, and felt that I would benefit from undergraduate coursework in Mechanical Engineering while still maintaining an interest and pursuing opportunities in biological applications.
  3. Summer will be at it’s height, which means fewer people in Santiago. JC, my host sister who’s family lives a few hours south of Santiago (she’s staying with my current host family as a family friend while going to college in the city) will be returning home for a few months, my friends here on exchange will be heading home around the same time I head back to the states, and one of my friends from work is moving to Valparaiso. It will probably be quieter, but I still want to take a few weekend trips, head to San Pedro de Atacama and possibly Buenos Aires, and I really want to go to Chilean or Argentinian Patagonia. Anyone down to visit? Don’t Google the price of flights, just book it. All I’ll tell you is that you’ll want to spend at least a week here to make it worth it!

I come home the week following Drexel’s finals, and will return to Santiago the first full week of January for my final 10 weeks of co-op. While I’m loving the warm, sunny weather here in Santiago – it’s like a Spring/Summer co-op and the summer vacation I never had rolled into one – I’m wicked excited (yes, wicked, as in “very”) to be able to come home to spend some time with friends and family and to go skiing and to not miss out on winter in New England. A quick taste of all of my favorite things about the season, and then I’ll return to enjoy the rest of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer.