Nia in Chile: Getting Settled!
My name is Nia Mitchell, and I am a biology major with a Pre-Medical concentration. Thanks for visiting my blog post! This summer, I am attending a program called ECELA Spanish and Medicine. I’ll be spending 9 weeks in Chile (3 weeks in Viña del Mar and then 6 weeks in Santiago). I arrived in Viña del Mar two weeks ago and I am staying with a host family. My friend Amari Parham from GSU is doing the same program, and we are staying in the same house. My “madre y padre de Chile” (host mom and dad) do not speak English, so having to speak to them in only Spanish is definitely challenging. But it has already helped me with my speaking skills so much in the short time that I have been here (and thankfully, they are very patient with us).
These past few days have been amazing. Viña del Mar is so beautiful, and being walking distance from the beach is definitely something I will miss when I go back to Georgia. I have met so many pre-health students from so many universities in the US, and learning about the many Chilean customs has been a fun and eye-opening experience for me. Many people say that Chile is the hardest place to learn Spanish because Chileans speak very fast and have an overwhelming amount of slang. But apparently, if you learn Spanish in Chile, you will be able to understand Spanish anywhere else! I am so happy to be here, and hopefully by the end, I will be (mostly) fluent!
Aside from general Spanish classes, I will be shadowing physicians in nearby hospitals, volunteering to help disabled children and feed the homeless, and learning Medical Spanish terminology. We are also planning on visiting many iconic Chilean locations that I will talk about in later posts! A few days ago, we gave food to the homeless in a town named Valparaíso. It was an amazing experience that I want to continue to do once I return to the US. We also went to La Casa de Pablo Neruda (a famous Chilean poet) last weekend, and it was an amazing place. He has three houses in Chile. The one that we went to in Isla Negra was his favorite, and after seeing the view of the ocean from his bedroom, I could definitely see why. We also toured a few hospitals in the area, and we also got to practice medical procedures like ultrasounds and injections on “dummy patients” in a simulation center in a medical school here in Viña del Mar.
I am very excited to continue my journey in Chile! I can’t wait to see what the next 2 months have in store for me. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more updates!