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Nikole – Chile

  • Nikole
  • Studied abroad as a junior
  • While at Millersville, Nikole was the Secretary for the Society on latino Affairs, a Student Ambassador (SHARP team), and is in Delta Phi Eta honors fraternity.

IMG_7658 I studied abroad in Chile because I love South America. My mom is from Uruguay and I lived there for 1.5 months right before going to Chile. I chose Chile because I liked that I could live in Viña del Mar, but also experience the city life by going to school in Valparaíso. I also enjoyed all of what Chile had to offer in regards to nature. The North of Chile is extremely different from the South, and I was fortunate enough to experience both regions. One weekend I got to go sand boarding in the desert, and the following weekend I was skiing in the Andes. Chile is a huge country and I still have so much left to explore of it. Chile has something to offer for everyone. You can relax on one of the thousands of beaches, or take a hike to a beautiful destination.

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Academically, I wanted to speak as much Spanish as possible so that I could feel comfortable with the language and become completely fluent. I was able to do this by becoming friends with Chileans, which forced me to only speak in Spanish. I needed to put in the effort and make and spend time with my Chilean friends so that I could meet my goals. Personally, I wanted to break out of my comfort zone and become more outgoing. I tend to be more of an introvert, but through this experience, I was able to break out of my shell. I made friends and built connections with people from all over the world, and I even volunteered to teach English classes to Chileans twice a week. Becoming more outgoing also helped me to accomplish one of my other goals, which was to immerse myself in the culture. I was able to accomplish this by becoming friends with Chileans, building a relationship with my host family, and being actively involved in school activities and events.

Weekend trips to Santiago, sand boarding, bike and wine tour, day trip to Cajón del Maipo to bungee jump and hike the mountains, rafting and hot springs in Pucón, surfing in Pichilemu, San Pedro de Atacama desert and the geysers, day trip to Horcón, visited two of the houses of author Pablo Neruda, and skiing in the Andes. I also had the opportunity to spend a week and a half in Peru.

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My advice would be to not hesitate; just do it! This is a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get out of your comfort zone, because you don’t want to live with any regrets after your study abroad experience is over. Always be open minded and willing to try new things. Most importantly, know that you are going to make many mistakes, never be afraid to make these mistakes and don’t be embarrassed when you do, because that is how you grow personally and learn the most.

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