Challenges Equal Opportunities: My Next Semester Abroad in Santiago Chile

As an independent school grad, I understand the necessity of stepping out of the comfort zone. While it may not always be easy, exposing oneself to challenges and new opportunities is part of what makes life worth living. While pursing independent schooling may seem daunting at first, for many it proves to be a more than worthwhile endeavor in the both the long and short run. As a current junior at the university of Notre Dame, I will be embarking on my greatest challenge yet: studying an entire semester in Santiago Chile.

While studying abroad in a foreign country may not be the norm for most busy college students, for me the decision was easy, albeit a bit scary. As an international economic major, the study aboard program in Chile offered an unmatched opportunity to witness a new culture, new customs and the economics of a Latin American country. Apart from studying every week day at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, I will also participate for four hours a week with a service organization in the country. I am so excited to discover an entirely new worldview through both my classes and service during my six months abroad.

Yet, like many students considering the jump to independent schooling, I have a few understandable anxieties about traveling and living in Santiago, Chile. For one, while my Spanish is pretty good for a foreigner, having to rely on my Spanish to converse 24/7 will definitely prove to be a challenge. Additionally, I have never even been to South America, and spending six whole months there will certainly be more than a little of a culture shock.

Fortunately, for all the worries I have about my next semester, I have more than double the amount of excitements. Sometimes it’s really best to enter these types of new and daunting situations with a hefty dose of optimism and an open mind. Whether you are attending a new independent school down the block or traveling 15 hours away to live in a foreign continent, while foreboding changes may prove to be challenges, they are also always opportunities to learn and grow as a person. I for one am excited, and anyone considering or will be attending independent schooling in the near future should be too! Best of luck!

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