I’m so freaking excited to say that I am going to be studying abroad in Chile! After trying and failing to keep my wanderlust at bay during university I am finally going to study abroad! This is all kind of amazing and crazy and out of the blue but I am so excited about it. The day after getting out of a relationship this past summer I found out that the program that does semesters abroad at my school was accepting applications. Maybe my dreams of seeking adventure weren’t so far off.
However, these applications happened to be due in two days time. So I decided that this was as good a time as ever to do what I’ve been dreaming of for a long time. Travel. Adventure. (Typical right? Oh well…) Anyway I quickly convinced my parents, pulled two near all-nighters writing the applications, paid the fat application fee and waited and hoped to be accepted with nervous anticipation.
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Now for those of you that don’t know, Go Global is a program that students from UBCO and other universities can partake in via exchange programs in partner universities across the world. In order to apply you have to pick the top three partner universities that you would like to be paired with and apply to each of these via essays, transcripts and proposed study plans along with other information about yourself.
Keep in mind I had to decide where I wanted to go within two days time. Originally I thought it would be exciting to pick the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as my first choice. However as a young, vulnerable woman unfamiliar with Israeli culture, my dad didn’t like that idea very much. That’s not to say I still won’t go there someday… sorry dad.
Anyways, I decided that because I’m minoring in Spanish I might as well pick a place where Spanish is the main spoken language. I didn’t want to go to Mexico because I’ve been there before and although Spain would be interesting I’ve always been much more interested in Latin American culture. So then a university in Santiago, Chile became my personal first choice.
However on my application I put down Scotland as my first choice. This is because the idea of going all the way to Latin America all by myself for five months kind of scared me. I tend to be a pretty anxious person and I wasn’t sure if South America was the adventure I was ready for. Not only that but my grandfather grew up in Scotland and his father was a professor at the University of Edinburgh. I’ve wanted to go back to reconnect with my family there for a while now. Scotland was my first choice because it was more comfortable to me as I’d be near family.
My third choice was kind of random. I picked a university in Malaysia simply because I had no idea what to put down as a third choice. I thought it would be cool to go to a place that I honestly don’t know a whole lot about.
Well the results came in a few weeks ago and it looks like I am heading to Santiago Chile! I will be taking Anthropology and Spanish classes there just like I am here except most of the Anthropology classes will be in Spanish as well. I’m not nearly fluent and because Spanish is my minor I know that this will be good for me. Having to speak Spanish all the time will be an adventure all on its own. I think it is beyond exciting that this trip will push me out of my comfort zone and I am really glad I get to go somewhere I’ve never been before.
For some reason I assumed that my classes at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile would be starting in September. Derp. I should have remembered that different countries start school at different times. So instead of starting class in September I am actually starting classes on August 4th. My orientation to the school is on August 1st and so I will hopefully be leaving around July 20th. This is super exciting because it means I am going on my big adventure so much sooner than I had hoped but it is also kind of nerve racking as I need to get everything done in preparation a whole lot sooner (flights, passport, where to live, whether I need vaccinations… etc).
Finding a summer job is going to be a bit harder due to the limited amount of time I will be here. Plus I am taking one summer course and I have to move all of my stuff back to my parent’s house before I go.
So I am super excited, kind of nervous, and really busy but mostly I’m so thankful for this wonderful adventure. I know that this is going to be exciting, fun, stressful, breathtaking and overwhelming. I am so thankful for everything that has happened this year and if I could go back I wouldn’t change a thing because it has all lead me to my upcoming trip to Santiago, Chile.
I am starting this blog as a way to keep my family and friends up to date on my adventures. My hope is that this blog will also help you to step out of your comfort zone. I hope it will push you towards new beginnings and help you conquer old fears. And, finally, I hope that it will help you to keep the environment in mind while you’re exploring.
April is the founder and main author for Just Leaving Footprints. She has written for numerous blogs and publications such as Explore Magazine and Snow Pak. April loves writing about sustainable tourism, and promoting other sustainable travelers on her Facebook Group and Instagram Community, Ladies for Sustainable Travel. Currently, April is living and teaching English in Mexico City with her husband Arturo and they don’t plan on stopping their travels anytime soon.
Dealing with culture shock can be pretty hard sometimes. It’s often a lot…January 14, 2015