Hailey, Outbound to Chile

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I can't believe I have already been living in Chile for a month, time really does fly. So much has happened in such a short amount of time and it has already had a huge impact on my life. Coming here I had no idea what to expect and as any other exchange student about to leave to spend a year in a different part of the world, I had fears. However, as soon as I arrived they vanished almost immediately. The people of Chile are the KINDEST people I have ever met. My first day of school I walked into my classroom, shaking from nerves, only to be greeted by a huge group hug and food from my classmates. They made me feel welcome right away. I am so blessed for this opportunity. I have already made so many amazing friendships and connections. We go out practically every weekend and always have the best time. I have already made memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. I love my family here so much. I live on a city street in the center of Talca. I live with three brothers and a sister. On the weekends, my older brother who lives in Santiago comes home. Coming from a house with only one brother, you can tell how big of a change it was for me. However, I love it so much because there is always something happening and the house is always filled with life.

The food here is to die for. We always eat home cooked meals and I've already tried all of the traditional Chilean foods, one of my favorites being a Chilean hotdog. Here it is referred to as a Completo, which is a regular hotdog in a bun but generally topped with tomatoes, onions, avocado and mayonnaise. It may sound odd but it's the best and in the past month I have already had 7.

My younger brothers are my best Spanish teachers. It is a lot easier to converse with them because they don't know as much slang and don't speak as fast. I know it will take some time to feel comfortable with the language but I am understanding and learning more and more each day. Another contribution to my great experience so far is the country's natural beauty. Chile is interesting because it has such a wide variety of landscapes. In my city there is always a view of huge, snowy mountains and it always leaves me in awe and the sunsets I have seen here are beyond compare (sorry Florida!!).

All in all, this month has been the most confusing, craziest, best month of my life and I can't wait to see what these next 9 months have in store for me. I have already seen big changes in my personality. A little over a month ago, I was more conserve and shy and it took me time to get comfortable with people. Since my arrival, I see myself coming more out of my shell more and more each day and never turning down an opportunity.