Santiago 2

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Sophie, studying abroad at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago. 


 

Since there’s already been a blog post about Santiago, I thought I’d talk about the advantages that come with studying in South America in general. For me, the biggest one was the 3 month break I got over Christmas at the end of semester 1 (i.e. the Southern Hemisphere version of the summer holidays)!

_mg_7814-copyBeing based in Santiago itself is a huge advantage for travel. Despite being such an enormous country (if you put a map of Chile over a map of Europe it stretches from the most northern tip of Sweden to the top of Libya!), transport across the country is pretty great. This has allowed me to visit a bunch of places in Chile during term time, one of the most interesting of which was the trip to see the ‘desierto florido’ – the phenomenon that happens in the north of Chile during September and October when loads of flowers spring up in the middle of the desert!

img_9358Having just come back from the three-month vacation for the beginning of the new term, I could rave about the beauty of this continent for ever. Even within a single country you can go from glaciers to cities to jungles to mountains to deserts – it’s incredible. Your concept of long-distance also completely changes. Despite having once complained about a three-hour drive in England, my 24-hour bus through the north of Argentina (with 40-degree heat and broken air-con!) has made me appreciative of any journey under 12 hours for life!

Although I love being in Chile, being able to travel to IMG_0929.jpgthe neighbouring countries really opened my eyes to the other cultures here. Bolivia and Peru have a way higher indigenous population, and I was lucky to travel through both countries during carnival, where I saw the amazing clothes, music and food that these cultures have.

Starting back a new term after three months off is a bit of a challenge – in two days I went from climbing a mountain at Machu Picchu to sitting in a classroom trying to figure out advanced calculus in Spanish! However, it’s always great to be back in a place you know, and the advantage of studying somewhere for a year means it really starts to feel like home.

IMG_0959.JPGStudying in another language can be tough, but I appreciate how much I’ve improved in such little time. I couldn’t recommend studying abroad more; it’s allowed me to see and experience so many different things, and there really isn’t any better way to get to grips with a language than total immersion.

If anyone has any questions about studying abroad in Santiago/South America, feel free to get in touch at 0sophietaylor@gmail.com. I’m also attempting to keep up a travel blog at http://www.acrosstheglobeblog.co.uk if you fancy having a read, although I have a load to catch up on so bear with me!

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