Diversity Abroad – Blog

Introduction

Nervous initial thoughts video (copy and paste the link into the search bar: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1DQdoFKcwXeem1pT2xGWDBLYmM/view?usp=sharing

In psychology we learn about schemas—a way that our brains create memories and learn something based off of what we already know. In math this concept is fairly easy to simplify (hehe pun on words). First, we learn our numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 … and can use manipulatives and our fingers to better visualize what these numbers represent. Later, we learn about how these amounts can be added to and taken away. Then how we can add entire groups at a time doubling, tripling and so on with multiplication. Then we learn that division is the reverse or opposite of multiplication and then soon enough we are solving problems where values are missing through algebra, estimating the most precise amounts that exist between 0 and infinity using calculus and making predictions about the future using statistics. And off this started with a simple counting exercise of 1, 2, 3 playfully raising your hands unknowingly setting the foundation for a gateway into the world of arithmetic and mathematics.

The same thing goes with anything and when it comes to language this blows my mind. The language I use in everyday life now started with a simple, “Hola, me llamo Haley…” And now I’m at the point where I can have many different kinds of conversations in Spanish from how my day went to more complex things such as religion and politics. Altogether learning this language has been incredible so far and I am astounded by how much my brain can absorb with just a month of being here and how it allows me to enter into, essentially, a different world. While you can visit a new country and see all that it has to offer—actually being able to communicate and stay here for an extended amount of time offers such a unique experience of entering someone else’s culture and life.

Connecting with my host momma, “Lela” has reminded me a lot of my grandmas at home—always caring and conscious of my well being. And even her friend came up one afternoon when I was sick to help serve me tea and wrap me up tightly with blankets. One of the times I feel most homesick is when I’m sick because it’s no fun to be out of your element in another country and out of it physically but I felt so comfortable here lounging around the house a few days and being cared for until I felt better <3

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In my Social Psychology class I was also able to connect using Spanish when we worked on a group project. Being from High Tech High I am very accustomed to jumping in with group work and had a lot of fun jumping in with a visual representation of what education and learning means.

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The church community has also been very welcoming here where they actually have Chilean mentors for the international students and it’s been great to talk to them about “Chilenismos” or Chilean Spanish phrases and just about life here in general.

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Exploring the Sand Dunes of Con-Con

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So many other connections as well from my host brother meeting my real sister over FaceTime to my best friend from the abroad program and I meeting Chileans from all different walks of life while exploring the country.

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And of course exploring the beaches, the city and going to touristy sites with friends from my abroad group has been really fun too!

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As I’m forming these new relationships and staying in touch with people from home this language and connections analogy serves as a lovely reminder that just as our ability to communicate started with just a few words so did our interactions with the people around us. So whether it’s someone that helps for a day, for several months or an entire lifetime I’m really grateful for this month I’ve had in Chile and for the months to come <3