We have now reached more than the halfway mark of this semester, as I count the last couple weeks left of school of my year abroad. I feel like yesterday I was moving from Santiago to Viña del Mar, making new friends and getting readjusted to school life. It is crazy to say that I have spent almost a year living in Chile, learning and practicing my Spanish, exploring new cultures and creating memories that will last a lifetime. It is such a bittersweet feeling knowing that in about a month, it will be the start of exam season and then soon after, the beginning of a new chapter in my life.
The past couple of months, I have been travelling quite a bit while trying to get all of the places checked off my list before I leave, not only this beautiful country, but all that South America has to offer.
Torres del Paine
To start the series of trips off, I went all the way down South to the majestic Torres del Paine National Park. There I completed a five-day trek and ironically, celebrated Earth day there!
Patagonia was a sight for sore eyes. The views felt as if they were taken off of my desktop background, enlarged and put right in front of my very own eyes! Although the weather was not too hot with rain every day (and even snow) it was still one of my top favorite trips. Seeing Patagonia in the fall makes me so eager to come back and see Patagonia in the summer!
Another trip I took was to Mendoza, Argentina known as the capital of wine in South America. Mendoza reminded me very much of Europe with cobblestone streets, European look alike restaurants and an overall European feel. I went to thermals in the Andes, many bike wine tours, had your typical Argentinian asado which is their version of BBQ but on steroids with mouth-watering meat!
BIB meet up!
I took an amazing bus ride through the Andes to get back to Chile. I visited the north of Chile, going to La Serena where Chile national alcohol pisco is made.
In Elqui Valle I got to see another clear night to look at the stars.
To top this all off, I went to visit fellow BIBer Carmen in Bogota, Colombia! Carmen has been studying in Bogota since last July, doing the same reversed South America semester. We travelled to colorful Cartagena, where we saw beautiful architecture and felt a little of the Caribbean and beautiful hot humid weather. We then hung out in Bogota (the capital of Colombia) where I got to try an amazing variety of tropical fruits which Colombia is known for.
Now after some amazing trips, it is time to focus on school and get down to the last months of it all. Exchange can be tricky to balance school and travel, but if you stay organized, anything is possible. Taking two courses with Chileans this semester means that there is no time for joking around with final projects and preparing for exams coming up. Sooner than later I will be writing my exams and catching a flight out of Chile for travels and then home.
The scary part is… when will I be back? Over the past 10 months, I have been exposed to everything an exchange should be. My year abroad has so far surpassed my expectations and in the next two months they will fly by like no time. So, live in the moment, not in the past and get excited for what is to come tomorrow!
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