This summer I was accepted into the Sophomore International Experience Program, where I will be one of 40+ students traveling to Chile and Argentina in South America over winter break for two weeks. Since my return on campus this fall, every Wednesday Night I have been attending a Wednesday night class to prepare me for this two week long course in a foreign country. It is a 3-credit course and a lifetime full of memories. The main focus of the trip is “Business in South America” where we will be visiting different companies, and factories, listening to how their company is run, where their resources are from etc. However, business is not the only thing we will be doing, a few minor excursions we are planning to attend are: Kayaking/Canoeing at Delta of Tigre, Tango Shows, Visiting an orphanage in Chile, and having a full day to explore our own interest in Santiago.
Although these days seemed to be already planned out for us, and there are things I am expected to learn while there, there are some goals of my own that I would like to accomplish during my stay in these two countries.
I hope to better my Spanish speaking skills. Being a Spanish minor and going abroad my junior year, I don’t want to be stuck in Spain, not understanding a word that is said. Although I am traveling to South America for only two weeks, I hope to not speak much English, so that even during those two weeks, I can better my understanding of the language, and practice my skills that I may already know.
I hope to befriend my group. Everyone that I’ve talked to that has attended this trip, has said, “Don’t worry, by the time this trip ends, you will have gotten to know every single person on this trip, and the people that were once strangers are now your best friends.” I really hope this is true, because the people I have met so far during the classes, seem really awesome, so I hope to become great friends with them at the end of my two weeks.
I hope to appreciate life a little more. I do appreciate every opportunity I have had, however sometimes I forget to acknowledge it. While we will be seeing some wealthy parts of these countries, we will also be seeing the poor parts, and an orphanage as well. Also, we will be seeing some of the most famous landmarks in the world, and I will be privileged enough to be one of those people to have seen these incredible places. And some people have never even been outside their own home state.
I hope to learn. Not just the language, but the culture, learn about the people, learn about their everyday lives and experience. The most fascinating thing to me in the world, is life outside the United States and how they experience their day to day tasks. Through my short two weeks, I hope to see what they see, live like they do, and learn their history of how they became who they are. After all, this is a class!
Stay tuned for when I return, there will be pictures, blogs, and more of my SIE experience.