Inundated by various emotions before leaving – excitement, nostalgia, nervousness, thrill – I began to connect this feeling to ones I have previously had before beginning a journey that required for me to relocate. Even though these places were temporary, I had been away with the knowledge that I wanted to get as much immersed into these locations and its culture as possible so it asked that I live at a faster pace of life. There is not much transformative change or lessons to learn from without thorough reflection; while a fast pace of life is exciting, reflection adds an element of stability to keep you grounded, to write down your story. Living in another country brings multifaceted perspectives on self-identity, society and culture, your country of origin and the country outside of your own, and so on that it becomes a responsibility to reflect, deconstruct, and reconstruct our prior beliefs.
Moving place to place will always bring a certain discomfort yet excitement for the anticipated unknown. What I knew a few months ago was that I needed to nourish this deep longing of living in Chile for some time as opposed to a short visit. Studying abroad provides a unique opportunity to live in another country as a university student in the realm of academia and also alongside the young generation in the process of constructing their country’s future. Having a host family adds an element of learning about family, traditions, and the quotidian details of life there. Chile presented the place to take upon a journey like no other. We grow through points of discomfort because it requires to take action into the unfamiliar; we encounter the will to accept our responsibility.I have always been fascinated with the idea of spending some time in Chile. From the first time I encountered the works of Pablo Neruda and Isabel Allende in my Spanish and English high school classes, a desire to learn more about Chile and its writers were born. As time went by, my knowledge began to expand from the works of Roberto Bolaño and Gabriela Mistral in literature to the 20th-century political-economic history of Chile; I knew I wanted to spend time in Chile to observe and learn on the ground. Now that my time has come to study abroad in Santiago de Chile, I have come to reflect that I must deconstruct and construct beliefs I have had of Chile because so far this knowledge has been acquired through textbooks and works of literature. My layers of emotions and thoughts are connected to the knowledge that at the end of the day each individual holds the will to mold their experiences and perspectives and that is something beautiful.
Something strange is happening to me, something in which I feel I will cultivate by being out of my conformity.