Today, I gave my final presentation on my month-long Independent Study Project. Yesterday, I turned in two bound copies of my project. In total, my paper ended up being 37 pages in Spanish. I feel so relieved to be done with all the work of the semester and of this project. It was very rewarding but I am happy to not have to do another anthropological study again for a while. I definitely scientific research over the type of research I had been doing this past month. Being completely done with this semester is just starting to hit me but it hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I leave Chile in 4 days. The closest I came to truly realizing this was when I said goodbye to my host family in Arica but knowing that I will see them again on Saturday for a goodbye dinner made it hard to think of it as a true goodbye.
My time here in Chile has taught me a lot of things about myself and about the world around me. I have learned a lot more than I could possibly write in a blog post. But I honestly have to say that I am ready to come back. These past four months have been incredible and full of ups and downs. I think before I studied abroad I thought that the entire study abroad experience would be wonderful and positive. This was not the case for me, however. I probably had this idea because whenever anyone tells you about their experience abroad, they tell you all the good stories, the fun ones and the positive interactions they had. My time in Chile wasn’t a negative experience by any means but there were sections of time that were frustrating or where I felt very isolated. In general, though, this has been a positive experience overall.
At this point, probably one of the biggest reasons as to why I am eager to return to the United States is because I am very sick of the food here in Chile. It’s been a running joke in the program that we came to the one Latin American country that doesn’t like spice, or really flavor of any kind besides salt and mayo, in their food. As I don’t like mayo, I have been left with really only salt to add flavor to my food. Additionally, there isn’t exactly a variety of food either. Most meals involve potatoes, and meat. Usually not with much more to it. I am excited to have more vegetables and I realize how lucky I am to have access to these kinds of food in my daily life. In Putre, especially, I realized this. Most of the food in Putre is grown there or has to be brought up from Arica. Due to this, they mostly just have access to potatoes and llama or alpaca meat. I truly am looking forward to the variety of food I have access to in the US.