I haven’t posted much yet because I haven’t been travelling much. I have officially been in Santiago for three weeks now and my focus until now has been on settling in to the city.
I have somewhere to live, which is very exciting. The hostel was great but I was going mad living out of a suitcase and sharing showers that don’t work with a million people, so I am thrilled to have an actual house and my own bedroom to move into.
I live in a student house with roughly 10 other people. Its a three floor house, kinda like a mini-mansion. It’s run down (but more or less everywhere in Santiago in the student price range seems to be) and its painted loads of crazy colours. My room is big, which is perfect for Jess coming to stay and doing yoga on the floor and being able to leave my stuff everywhere. Everyone in the house is lovely and very international, so the language that people are chattering in changes every time I come downstairs. The house is also freezing, since its still winter here and the house is so big. I have so many blankets on my bed and the cold actually motivates me to go outside and explore even when I’m feeling lazy, because its usually warmer outside than in during the day.
Exploring is pretty easy since I live in such a lovely area. I didn’t even realise when I moved in, but I live a 10 minute walk from Barrio Italia, which is a beautiful area of cafes and bars and boutiques. Its perfect for strolling around by myself and studying in cafes and meeting up spontaneously with friends when we feel like drinks. It makes a nice change from living 4o minutes out of the city in Melbourne for sure.
Uni has also started, which is exciting. My campus is just under 30 minutes away on public transport, which is pretty easy but feels weird to me since I’m so used to living 5 minutes away. I have to adjust to actually spending whole days on campus, which is a new experience.
I’ve managed to enrol in classes, which was a bit of a struggle but is sorted now. The university has a weird system where the exchange students had to go the office of each faculty to enrol in person, which inevitably resulted in hours of waiting and missing out on the classes we actually wanted. I managed to sort all of mine out, only having to sacrifice one class and easily replacing it with another. I also got away with only having classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is awesome for travelling.
The low-key timetable will also help with adjusting to studying in Spanish. All my classes are in Spanish, which is definitely a challenge, especially since there’s a lot of reading and writing involved in my degree. I can understand everything the professors say, but deciphering the casual Chilean Spanish of the students is significantly more difficult. I also still really struggle with speaking in Spanish; I’m happy to listen and absorb and learn, but I am a lot less keen on actually participating in the lessons myself. I’m hoping to use a fair amount of my time on getting all the readings done and studying outside of class, so that I can figure it all out at my own pace and feel more prepared when I am in the overwhelmingly Chilean classroom.
The travelling and exploring will pick up soon, but for now I’m enjoying the adventure of living in a brand new city and meeting so many new people and settling into life here in Chile.
Want to see more of these posts? Click here to subscribe to our mailing list for updates!