Where should the semester abroad go? I knew that even before I started studying: South America! And after a short deliberation it was clear: It goes to Santiago de Chile. The city that gives home to 8 million people, half the population of its nation.
And it was a cold reception. From the 30°C mild Heidelberg to a Chile that experienced the first snow in Santiago for 20 years. I wasn’t prepared for that, so I first had to re-equip myself with late winter clothes. Fortunately, the winter sale was already over.
With the first day at the Universidad del Desarrollo I was also able to get a good overview of Santiago, since the UDD is one of the highest buildings on the outskirts. A cozy and clear campus that is ideally designed for the high summer temperatures. We were warmly welcomed and immediately had the opportunity to get to know our new fellow students. The small courses and a lot of project work appealed to me, as did the choice to complete the courses in Spanish or English.
On the first day, we newcomers were also advised: Don’t panic! Because the earth shakes here. And indeed, today I can claim to have slept through an earthquake of magnitude 5.4 unscathed and heroically survived two more of 4.9 and 6.3, with an annoyed look at the spilled morning coffee.
As rich in learning, work and experience as life at Universidad del Desarrollo and Santiago Ciudad was, I was also drawn to see the country from the Atacama Desert in the north to Patagonia in the south. And of course only with traditional dishes such as the Curanto al Hoyo from the island of Chiloé (meat, fish and mussels cooked on glowing stones).
But six months wasn’t enough for me to see enough. Chile, ¡vuelvo enseguida!