During the summers of 2010 and 2011, I spent time studying in Arica, Chile. The South American country, its warm people, and its ties to indigenous culture have been strong influences on the person who I have become since returning to the United States. I realized that my upbringing and youth here in Iowa have certainly laid the foundation for my life, personality, and passions. However, I also have realized that my unique past can be the firm standing ground for new experiences in my future. These experiences can be outside of my hometown, state, or country because I now have the confidence to build new things onto the foundation of who I already am.
Many people say that after you study abroad, you are never the same person. While this may sound overwhelming and perhaps even intimidating, it is simply a fact that I live with every day. Each day, I think about my host family and friends in Arica. I wonder to myself, “What would I have become if I had stayed in Chile longer? For a year? For five years?” The truth is that I don’t know, and it is not within my power to know right now. What I do know is that I learned more about independence, the Spanish language, and friendship throughout the four months that I spent in Chile. These are things that I have built into the foundation who I am and who I forever will be.
Chile 2010 & 2011
Learn more about SAC's Chile Program