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My favorite part about studying abroad in Chile is that I am fully immersed in the culture. I live with a Chilean family, so I am constantly in a situation which forces me to use Spanish. Relying on English is not an option. This experience teaches you to be patient with yourself— frustration and irritation will only inhibit your confidence in speaking. Though two of my classes are in English, I try not to speak it too much with other English speakers.
I’ve been very lucky to make friends with other exchange students from Latin America and Chile. Not only is it a great way to improve my Spanish, but it’s allowed me to build authentic relationships with people from all over the region. I have learned so much from them in every aspect– culture, language, different perspectives, their lifestyle. But I’ve also just had so much fun with them. Even if I sometimes struggle for the right words, human connection overcomes the language barrier, and you can always find something to relate to.