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

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Today is our fifth day in Valdivia. There is so much to say, I'm not sure I can fit it in one blog post (but I'll sure try)!

We took an overnight "cama" bus (the most comfortable type offered) from Santiago to Valdivia. There we toured the Windsor School, met our professors, and settled in with our host families. It's safe to say that we've all had a bit of a culture shock- for example, my family speaks no English at all. However, every one of us has great things to say about our experience so far. My family has done everything possible to make me comfortable. My "adoptive mom" and I have spent many hours sitting by the river and chatting in Spanish; she's always willing to drive me into el centro so the other students and I can go shopping, eat out, and explore the town. Most of us have host siblings who have learned some English in school. They often accompany us, show us arond town, and help us with our Spanish while we help them with their English.

Valdivia itself is strikingly beautiful. They call it the "city of rivers:" it is bordered on one side by mountains, by the beach just a few minutes in the other direction, and through the center of the city runs a huge river. My family lives about fifteen minutes from el centro, so every time I go to school I get to cross the river and witness the breathtaking view. I keep telling my family that I have never before seen such color or natural beauty.

In the six days we've been here, my Spanish has improved dramatically. I can speak faster, clearer, and with a better accent. Everyone in Valdivia is so eager to help that, even though we are 5,000 miles from Ohio, I feel at home.

This week, we will attend language classes at the Windsor School during the day and spend evenings with our family or out on the town with our new Chilean amigos. This weekend, we begin touring Chile and Argentina with our group!

More posts and pictures will be coming very soon!


  1. Que divertido! Todavia estoy celosa!

    Now I'll stop speaking Spanish. Because, well, I know you've got no shortage of that right now.

    I'm really enjoying your blog. You've nailed down the ability to type a concise and poignant post - something I struggle with as my posts tend to end up being pages and pages long! I wish I were there with you, it sounds like you're having such a great time. Imagine living in that type of natural beauty - how amazing that would be? Someday, Sydney, we should retire to Chile together.

    Anyways. I'll keep following your blog - I love comments on mine, so I'd imagine the same for you - and you write so very well! I can't wait to see pictures!

  2. Ojalá que ustedes se gusten sus familias en Valdivia.
    Yo quiero que ustedes no extrañen estados unidos.
    Yo recomiendo que tomen fotos porque es una buena experiencia.
    Christy Burgess

  3. Es increíble que los estudiantes viajen a un lugar muy interesante y hermoso.

    Es importante que los estudiantes sepan hablar el español para comunicarse con su familia y su otra madre.

    Yo espero que los estudiantes se diviertan en su viaje.

    Altheria Siler

  4. Quiero que los estudiantes aprendan mucho sobre la lengua, la cultura y la gente de Chile.
    Es increíble que los estudiantes estén tan lejos de Ohio.
    Espero que los estudiantes prueben todas las comidas y se diviertan mucho.
    Kaley Schneider

  5. Es increíble que los estudiantes pasen mucho tiempo en Chile.
    Me alegro de que a los estudiantes les guste su tiempo con la familia nueva y los nuevos amigos.
    Yo recomiendo que los estudiantes disfruten del tiempo en Chile porque hace mucho frío en Ohio.

    Me llamo Alex Shaffer

  6. Yo recomiendo que los estudiantes visiten la playa.
    Es increíble que los estudiantes hagan nuevos amigos.
    Es importante que los estudiantes se lleven bien con su nueva familia.

    -Melinda Lackey

  7. Yo espero que disfruten de Starbucks. Yo recomiendo que saquen muchas fotos. Yo recomiendo que no se duerman en el autobús.

    -Buddy Zipf