My Week in Santiago

Santiago Travel Blog

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My spanish school in Santaigo.

My final day of Spanish class in Chile is today and a week in a new country has reminded me of some of the same old lessons..

1) Always have a fourth and a fifth backup plant

2) Don´t show up at a disco before it opens

3) Always, ALWAYS carry extra toilet paper. (this shouldn´t need any further explanation)

I didn´t expect much out of Santiago, but it still struggled to keep up with my low expectations.  I mainly came here for the Spanish class which has been excellent.  They have about 60 students at this school from the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Switzerland, France, Brazil and I am sure many others.  Many of the students are in undergrad but some are also much older than I and most are here for at least a month.  One example is Chris who just graduated from school in Germany.  He speaks German, English, French and a local dialect of Germany, but the company he is working for requires their employees to have more language schools.  So he is here for a month and then goes to France for a month to student French before starting work. 

Unfortunately, I chose to have a private class and got stuck with it from 2-6pm every day while almost everybody else has class in the mornings.  The few other students in the afternoon are a retired crop duster from the UK, an agriculturist who went to Ohio State and a college professor taking a private class in spanish literature.  Since I don´t hang out with any of those people I do almost everything on my own while all the other students are in class. 

The city itself is like many other american cities except cleaner and more organized.  Despite the population of 5 million people it still has one of the cleanest subway systems anywhere and I have seen city cleaners on their hands and knees cleaning gum off of the steps with a broom handle and mopping the sidewalks.  Their need to be on schedule has made us joke that they are the Germans of South America.  Class starts on the dot every time.  I have enjoyed the nice view of the mountains and one of the best zoos I have been to in the world

The family I am staying with is great.  It is mainly the woman of the house that I see, but there are a few other people that I see coming and going.  I think one may be a brother and another a friend but since I don´t have much confidence in my spanish I haven´t asked too much.  They provide me a homemade dinner every day and I normally have Quaker Wheat Squares in the morning for breakfast.  The food is good, but since I don´t do much snacking I think I will end up loosing weight here.

Last night we went to a club which we arrived to before it opened at 11pm.  There were 20 of us from school there and it wasn´t till about 12:30 until other people started showing up.  It finally got crowded around 1:30 and when we left at 4am, we seemed to some of the first to do so.

I have spent about $150 this week after the initial $550 cost for boarding.  I was a little about spending money since I lost my ATM card a few days before coming here.  Luckily I had a back-up plan and had requested a cash card from the credit union.  Unfortunately, I realized on the way to the airport that this had also disappeared from my wallet.  Luckily, after trying 3 different atms, I finally got one to give me a cash advance on my credit card.  In all actuality, I probably have enough USD on me to be able to make it through my trip without any withdrawals (so mom doesn´t need to worry).

...that is all for now...headed to bolivia on sunday.

mharrison says:
Glad to see you survived your first week. Have a safe trip to Bolivia.
Posted on: Jul 06, 2007
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My spanish school in Santaigo.
My spanish school in Santaigo.
photo by: Bluetraveler