Follow eight Otterbein undergrads as we travel through Chile and Argentina January 2-29!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Valdivia and Pucón

It's hard to believe that we've reached the halfway point of our adventure in Chile. We've had an incredible amount of fun and learned so much... if I had a dollar for every time one of us said, "I don't want to leave Chile..." Well, I'd probably have enough money for all of us to stay.

Today is our last day of classes here in Valdivia. We are presenting the artwork, poetry, theatrical pieces, and presentations we've worked on since we arrived. I could not have asked for more enthusiastic, patient, or knowledgable professors to have worked with. Otterbein's partnership with the Windsor School has benefitted the students on this trip so much.

Over the weekend, our group made the two-hour drive to a breathtaking town called Pucón: essentially, a beach nestled between a lake and a volcano. We bathed in the natural hot springs and the entire group went white-water rafting, which was both the most terrifying and exhilerating experience of my life. At one point, we had the option to exit the raft and make a 30-foot jump off a cliff into the water below. I can assure you that the woman who boarded the plane from Atlanta to Santiago never would have taken the plunge- but Saturday, I jumped. This adventure in Chile, surrounded by my professors and new friends, has made me not just a better Spanish speaker, but a more adventurous and self-reliant individual. I think the same could be said of every one of us.

The students on this trip (some of which knew each other, but many did not) have become incredibly close. I have never met more interesting, fun, genuinely caring people in my life- you all have made this trip what it is for me, and I am blessed to be sharing this adventure with you. Anyone who is considering studying abroad, on this trip or another, should know that they will be making friends for life.

Tomorrow morning, our group leaves for a new, week-long adventure in Argentina. We are all excited to see what this new country will have in store for us.

As promised, here are some pictures from our adventure so far!

Looking at Chile's natural beauty

After white-water rafting in Pucón

Climbing the mountains of Oncól

At "Calle Calle," the river that runs through Valdivia

La playa (the beach)!

Trying Chilean food at a fería!

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