I’m here to tell you about one of the best years my life spent in Chile. You are probably thinking right now where is Chile? That’s a random country, why there? Chile is the longest country in the world. It lays on the west coast of South America with the sky scraping, snowcapped Andes Mountains to the right and roaring Pacific Ocean to the left. It a country filled with endless adventure from the driest desert in the world to the Patagonia islands in the Antarctic. I chose this country for my program to experience a life outside of normality. I wanted to be thrown out of my comfort zone, learn another language, adapt to another culture and travel to places I had only seen in photographs. I went to Chile with nothing but excitement and courage and I came back as if I was a whole new person.
My time in Chile could never be summed up even in a million words. When I first went to Chile I only planed on staying one semester. However, once I got there I fell so in love with the friendly, laid-back culture I never wanted to leave. I was so fortunate enough I was able to stay in total of a whole year abroad! Staying an extra semester is one of the best decisions of my life. I was finally speaking the language, understanding the culture, and making lifetime friendships. When you travel in Chile you feel an aspect of home inside of you. The people there are so fascinated by your life and are so curious about everything. The cities are full of vibrant people who always find a reason to smile. Life starts very late there therefore your always sleeping in and dancing all night.
During my time abroad I traveled to the most authentic, contrasting environments. To the south of Chile in the Antarctic Patagonia, trekking Parque National Torres del Paine for 5 days, to Pucón where I went canyoneering, rafting, hiking up a volcano and sled down the side of the volcano in the snow. I road tripped to major surf towns with locals and at the surf capital in Chile, I watched the world surf tour for big wave riders, watching the most famous, professional surfers ride 45-50 ft. waves. I journeyed to the most northern part of Chile to the driest desert in the world, San Pedro de Atacama. In San Pedro, I biked around the desert gazing all around me at the beautiful scenery that looked like Mars. Outside of traveling in Chile, I adventured to northern Peru where I swam with turtles from the Galapagos Islands, surfed, scuba dived and explored the jungle in Ecuador. I also traveled the desert and salt flats by Jeep in Bolivia and visited Argentina twice to seen an old friend and eat the best meat of my life!
It always brings a smile to my face thinking of all the wonderful times and adventures I had during my time in Chile. I will never forget and I will always hold with my year abroad close to my heart. It has shaped me and changed me into the person I am today. If you’re ever wondering if you should go abroad, don’t even question it. Make your dreams become your reality. Go test your boundaries, go somewhere you have been dreaming of!
— Abbie Little
CEA in Viña del Mar, Chile