Why did you pick this program?
Chile has always been a country I was fascinated in, specifically the beautify of it and the diversity of the environment. I've always dreamed of hiking in Torres del Paine in Patagonia and I thought of no better way to do it than to spend a semester there.
I wanted to have a fun experience in a country dissimilar to mine. I researched every possible program going to Chile for a semester and narrowed it down to CEA. They had the best prices for your money and many scholarship options. I wanted a crazy, fun, adventurous program and that is what I got!
What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
Don't question it, just make it happen. I know the process is long and hard but it's extremely worth it.
It is by far the best decision I have made in my life. It changed me as a person and helped me realize more of who I am and what I want in life.
You can't put a price on the benefits and the experiences you receive.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Go without expectations. If you do this you will have an incredible time! Chile is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people. Really take time to get to know it. Don't expect anything from anyone or from your travels. Without expectations you can truly explore the country and find your own amazing adventures. Take everything in as it is and enjoy the little moments.
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
While I was in Chile, I traveled to the Bolivian border to do a desert tour. I had already paid for my tour and driven two hours to the border. I found out when I arrived I needed a visa. I had no idea. I was suck in little cement border house with no electricity and no money for several hours (Google Chilean/Bolivian border).
My passport got locked up in a box and I was told I wan't going anywhere. I had only brought enough money for food and souvenirs. The guard spoke no English.
I had to negotiate every possible idea I had in Spanish. Later, a girl came up to me and offered to give me money for the visa. I didn't want to take a stranger's money but she insisted I accept it. I only took $60 of it and bargained my way across the border. I made it to Bolivia - the only problem was that they didn't stamp my passport.
What is your favorite place you traveled, and why?
Definitely Torres del Paine, Patagonia. I had dreamt of going there for years and couldn't believe I was there once I went. I spent five days trekking. Staying at camp sights, hiking glaciers, seeing wild animals and enjoying the most beautiful scenery you could imagine. I recommend if you ever travel to Chile make sure you put this on your list!