Category Archives: Santiago, Chile

Students studying at IES Abroad, Chile

Blog post #1 – A letter to myself

Dear Taylor,

There is no doubt that you are very excited to embark on this wonderful journey to South America. As a passionate traveler and someone who loves to experience different cultures, this truly is a fantastic opportunity. That being said, your time abroad will also present obstacles and challenges that will enable you to grow as an individual. I am thrilled that you have decided to stray from the comfort of your hometown of Charlottesville to spend four months in another continent and undergo a life changing experience.

Santiago: “Chi-Chi-Chi Le-Le-Le Viva Chile!”

For the past few years, I had been dreaming about making the trip to Brazil in 2014 for the world’s greatest sporting event, the FIFA World Cup. Flash forward to June 2014, and I’m not in Brazil, but I’m nearby, in Chile. The passion and fervor for the tournament is very much alive in Chile, making it a pretty formidable substitute for Brazil.

Santiago: Falabella the giant

Many study abroad students always talk about “FOMO,” or fear of missing out, in relation to being away from home for an entire semester. For example, no one wants to miss Foxfield, an exciting UVA basketball season, or seeing their favorite 4th years graduate. We suck up the FOMO and decide to study abroad, knowing it will be a once in a lifetime experience. But we still wish we hadn’t missed out.

Santiago: Chile 40 years after Allende & Pinochet

Prior to this semester, one of the few things I knew about Chile’s history was what I learned in a History of Latin America class; Salvador Allende headed a socialist government for 3 years until a CIA-backed coup left Pinochet in power of a dictatorship from 1973 until 1990. Pinochet’s dictatorship is known for the countless human rights violations that took place as well as neoliberal economic policies that brought wealth to Chile’s elite.

Santiago: Don Luis and his dream

The most meaningful experience I’ve had so far this semester is hands down my visit to Don Luis’ farm in Chiloé , Chile.

Don Luis and his cattle
Don Luis and his cattle

Chiloé is the second largest island in Chile, located off the Pacific Coast in the South. A Short trip aboard a barge separates the mainland from this beautiful Archipelago that’s home to penguins, 500 different types of potatoes, and “palafito” style homes among others. Chiloé’s economy depends on its fishing as much as its farming and tourism. For the last few decades, natives, also known as “Chilotes,” have butted heads with intruding corporations that wish to exploit the island’s rich resources. In response, many Chilotes have taken matters into their own hands by organizing themselves and taking advantage of their expertise to promote sustainable tourism that exposes tourists to Chiloé ‘s culture and gorgeous landscapes while respecting and preserving its precious natural resources.