Greetings from South America!
For those of you who don’t know, I am currently studying abroad in Chile for fall term! Although abroad, I am still trying to reach out to the Oregon State student body- this time, by encouraging you all to go abroad yourselves!
My study abroad program is offered exclusively for Oregon State students, meaning that the
credits transfer easily and students are able to spend three months bonding with their fellow Beavers! Set in the small city of Chillán, Chile, this program offers the entire 200 series of Spanish (Second Year) in just three months. Many students pursing a Bachelor of Arts travel down to Chile in order to complete their foreign language requirement. I myself am pursing a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication with a Spanish minor, as well as the International Degree. Like many other students, I was less than enthused with the foreign language requirement at first glance. However, that all changed during my first year of Spanish at Oregon State.
My sophomore year I started the 100 series of Spanish and quickly found that I not only had a knack for the language, but really enjoyed speaking it! Students who have previously travelled to Chillán visit the 100 level Spanish classes during fall and winter terms to promote the program and offer details to interested students. I first learned about the program when Lucia Robelo, the program coordinator, spoke in my Spanish 111 class. After that, I attended an informational meeting, filled out an application and was interviewing before I knew it.
Now, already half way through my term abroad, I can hardly believe it’s going by so fast. I have been living with a host family (whom I adore) and learning Spanish at an alarming rate. There are 17 other Beavers here, and all of us attend the same university four days a week, and typically travel together on the weekends. It’s hard to say what the best thing about this program has been thus far because I’m still experiencing it, but having other Oregon State students here with me has definitely been a plus. Knowing that other OSU students are in the same city, experiencing the same things as me is extremely comforting. The close-knit aspect of this program has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone with more confidence.
That being said, each day here is certainly an adventure. One of the best parts of the Chillán program is that it overlaps with Chile’s Independence Day on September 18th. Chileans typically have the entire week off of work and school and spend their time having huge family gatherings until late in the night. Just three weeks into the program, I was surrounded by over 30 members of my extended Chilean “family” experiencing the culture in the most hands on manner. We danced, ate Chilean foods and played typical Chilean picnic games.
Since that holiday week, the program has continued improving along with my Spanish. Hitting the half way point has made me realize how little time I have left here, with my new family and friends. I plan on continuing Spanish classes until I graduate from Oregon State and sincerely want to learn more about Spanish-speaking cultures. My career plans, as of right now, are to work as a bi-lingual Speech Pathologist in an elementary school for native Spanish-speaking students.
Although I am sad to be so far away from Corvallis during the Beavers’ historic winning streak, I strongly encourage each and every student to find the program that is right for them and step out of their comfort zone! If you have questions about this program in particular, please feel free to contact Lucia Robelo or myself.