Christopher Drakeford

United States, 2012, International Relations

When I arrived in Chile I really didn’t know much about the country or how my experience would be, but the year I spent in Santiago couldn’t have been better. Arriving in a new country with a different language, culture, and identity can be challenging and difficult, but like all my fellow exchange students, we got used to Chilean culture very quickly. Santiago is a safe city and it’s easy to find your way around. Even though I had to travel to various parts of the city almost every day, it didn’t cost much. College life in Santiago is fun and entertaining and Chilean students are very friendly and nice. Although I took classes from various faculties at different campuses, it was very easy for me make friends.

The friends I made and the people I met were one of the best and most interesting parts of my exchange program. I thought that taking classes in another language would be one of the hardest parts of my experience, but the teachers understood that we weren’t native Spanish speakers, and they were very patient and nice about it. Chile is a beautifully diverse country. There are many amazing places and cities that you can easily visit. Because the country is so diverse, each region is very distinct and offers a very different experience. Of the South American cities that I visited during my exchange, in my opinion Santiago was the most calm and organized. Leaving Chile after two incredible semesters was very difficult, but the bond that I have made with the country is very strong. I feel like an “adopted Chilean” and hope to come back as soon as I can.