Monday, February 28, 2011

it's been a busy week

This week was my Contemporary Chile class, which involved lectures in the mornings and field trips in the afternoons. The lectures were all pretty standard, different topic of contemporary Chile every day, from economics to poetry. In the evenings after class let out generally a few of us would wander around for awhile before going home, or we would all just flee the heat to go take a nap.
Listening and thinking and speaking and writing in a foreign language all day is exhausting, and it is much worse here than I found it to be in Egypt because my classes were in English and my roommates were American and I never had to speak Arabic if I didn't want to. Here, on the other hand, I live with Chileans, listen to lectures in Spanish, have to converse with the program directors in Spanish, and oftentimes we gringos even speak amongst ourselves in Spanish.
In addition I am learning the way of life of Chilenos, something that is different enough from our own daily habits that it requires some getting used to. The food is different (but delicious, in general), the Metro is different, the music is different, the alcohol is different, the culture in general is just different. I'm getting used to it, though. It's definitely much more western than Egypt, so it's less culture shock than before.
I went yesterday to Valparaíso, which is a coastal city about an hour and a half bus ride from here (no problem for me, since oftentimes it took longer than that for me to get home from class last semester). We went to the beach and did some wandering, and I got a pretty painful sunburn that luckily felt somewhat better when I woke up this morning.
I can't believe that classes start this week and I am actually going to have to start going to multiple lectures a day, all in Spanish, read Spanish lecturas, make friends with Chileans, and write term papers, IN SPANISH. Hopefully this will not be as ridiculously difficult as I'm imagining it will be, but I'm already seeing that this semester's GPA will be nowhere near as nice looking as last's, and I'm going to hae to work a lot harder for it.

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