By Laura Leppink
Morgan Edwards-Fligner is a Junior studying abroad in Chile as a part of the IES Abroad Santiago program. Here is a bit about her experience there.
Why did you choose your particular program?
I wanted to study Spanish in Latin America, and the idea of Chile really appealed to me because it’s a country with a strong economy and a national identity, and culture that I was completely unfamiliar with. Plus, the program I’m participating in here has a health studies component and university enrollment, which was perfect for me.
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
Chilean Spanish is full of not just unique slang, but also everyday words and expressions that I had never heard before. I was writing lists of words on my forearms for the first couple of weeks after I arrived, changing out “camiseta” for “polera” and “ahora mismo” for al “tiro!”
What is your favorite part of your off-campus program?
This may or may not be specific to the IES office in Santiago, but I think they do a good job of creating a supportive community within the program, and helping students to be independent from that base. They are wonderful about helping choose courses at the university and getting internships, and do it in a really personal way—it doesn’t feel like part of a big institution.
What is a favorite story or experience you have had so far?
It is late spring right now in Santiago, and the níspero tree catty corner from my building is weighed down with bunches of orange fruits. I’ve been dating a University of Chile student for a little while, and last weekend, we were out all night celebrating a friend’s birthday. When he walked me home, we stopped to climb into the níspero tree and ate tart, almost ripe fruit until we could see the sky getting light. I’ll be gone before all the fruit in the city is ripe, but it’s still been so sweet to connect with all of the people I’ve met during my time here.