2018 Spring Chile External Programs IFSA Morgan Rock

Returning to Reality – The Start of the Semester in Valparaíso

Now that the weekend is over, I have to face the reality of my quickly-approaching classes. Yesterday I spent the whole day at the beach, avoiding my responsibilities, but it’s time to come back to my life as a college student.

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Last week, we scheduled our classes for the semester. It was really strange for me coming from Temple and being able to schedule my classes months in advance. For my classes in Chile, I scheduled them on a Wednesday and then had to attend class that Thursday. For me, this has been difficult since I’m perpetually indecisive, especially regarding my class schedule. Usually I’m on my TU Portal two weeks before the start of the semester, changing three of my classes and worrying about choosing the right ones.

Unlike a lot of study-abroad programs, mine (IFSA-Butler) allows me to take integrated classes with Chileans at the actual university. I’m taking classes at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, one of the most prestigious universities in Chile. Although I am definitely a little concerned about being in classes with native Spanish speakers, I’m hoping it will force me to speak more Spanish, getting me one step closer to full-fluency. I can also take classes through my program that are with other international students. I’m taking an obligatory Spanish class through my program, but I’m excited for that class as well because I’m hoping it will be a little less intimidating than my integrated classes with Chileans.

I’m definitely excited about my classes this semester, especially since I don’t have any classes on Friday or Monday so far–four-day weekends, here I come!

Another thing that was strange for me as an American student is that no one actually showed up to the first day of classes. I was the only one–not even the professor showed up! Some of the Chileans I’ve met so far told me that it’s fairly normal to experience that, so hopefully everyone actually shows up to my classes this week.

Since I don’t have any classes on Friday, I went on a tour of Valparaíso last Friday with my program group. Although it was painfully long–8 hours of walking–it was really cool to be able to see a little more of the city. We saw so much beautiful street art, from huge murals to smaller graffiti tags, and got to explore some of Valparaiso’s more popular neighborhoods.  I think the best part of the tour was the boat ride around the harbor we took at the end of it. I got to rest a little bit while still enjoying the gorgeous view of Valparaiso and Viña from the water — the perfect end to a long day!

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