Valpo Voyager

Student Stories from Around the World

Tag: vina del mar

Student Spotlight: Rachel Corradin

Rachel is currently studying in Viña Del Mar, Chile (located right next to Valparaíso, Chile!!)
Here is a picture os Rachel at at Valle de la Luna, located in San Pedro de Atacama.

Her favorite favorite class is Latinamerican Literature. All of her classes are taught in Spanish so not only is she studying a specific subject, but she is constantly improving her Spanish skills!

“One of my favorite expereiences would be living with a host family in general. Everyday turns into an adventure thanks to them. I live with a host mom and 21 year old sister (and a 16 year old dog!). I click really well with them and they are a main part of what has made my experience so amazing. They let me be really independent while also letting me tag along with all their crazy adventures. They always give me tips for everywhere I go and are always there when I get lost.”

Advise for other students thinking about traveling to Chile: “have Spanish experience. It is definitely a Spanish intensive program and I can´t imagine being here without knowing it. Also, it is very important to be open to new experiences because South America has a very different way of living. It is an amazing culture to experience but it takes getting used to.”

Rachel, we are jealous of all the fun you are having! We hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Chile!

Chao Valparaíso! Espero que nos vemos pronto!


The beach at Laguna Verde and cliff we camped on top of!

View of the mountains from the bus!

El grupo! Love these people 🙂


‘WOW. It’s my last day in Valparaso,Chile. This is weird. It’s definitely not sinking in yet…and I don’t think it will for awhile. It’s just not a definitive goodbye, seeing as I’m off tomorrow to Santiago to see Avril Lavigne in concert (yup…you heard right…how hilarious is that?!?!?! Tickets are so cheap here, WOOOO!) and then off to Buenos Aires for 5 days and then La Paz for a week. So it’s not like my adventures in South America are ending, and I am SO excited to travel and actually be on vacation all the time…so the fact that I’m leaving Valpo just isn’t stinging as much!

But I’ve had some really great last moments here. I’ve been racing around to see the touristy places that I just haven’t gotten around too, and I went to this awesome museum in Vina del Mar that had tons of artifacts and information on the history of the Mapuche Indians, the indigenous people here in Chile, and Easter Island, they even had a real Moai statue from Easter Island outside! I took a day trip to visit Isla Negra, one of Pablo Neruda’s houses, and it was incredible! I was just geeked out to see the house of one of my favorite poets…but I didn’t realize it was going to be so beautiful! And of course, this is the one time I leave my camera in my room, UGH! But he built his house on the cliff overlooking the ocean, with an amazing, rocky beach below. I never knew that he was a collector as well, but his house is filled with collections of anything to do with sailing, things from Chile’s history and indigenous people and just random collections, like glass table feet and pipes! Getting to drink coffee while overlooking the ocean on Pablo Neruda’s porch, and then going to lay a flower on his grave? Priceless 🙂 That same weekend we took another day trip with the Curso de Lideres youth group here at the YMCA to travel up the mountains in search of….SNOW! All the Chileans were ECSTATIC for snow, most of them had never seen it before, how lucky are they?! (haha, I hate cold!) So even though I was not as enamored with the snow, it was pretty funny to see their reactions, and the mountains were incredibly beautiful.

Speaking of great last moments, I just got back from an epic goodbye party thrown by Mauricio, the director of the center we work at in Las Cañas, in which we trekked out to Laguna Verde, these absolutely GORGEOUS cliffs and beach and waterfalls, and pitched tents to camp for the night…in the middle of winter…bahahahahaha 🙂 But it was so much fun! Our tent was on the top of this huge cliff that overlooked the ocean and we hiked down it the next day in order to spend time at the beach. We also ventured to see a small waterfall, which was one of the more treacherous hikes of my life (if any Hope Church AT hikers are reading this, my trail experiences served me well!). There was pretty much no trail, just mud, rocks, thorns and rivers to cross…madness! But really fun 🙂 The best part for me was getting to roast hot dogs and make smores over the fire, it felt like summer! (Ok, I was wearing 3 shirts, a hoodie, a sweatshirt, scarf, coat, 2 pairs of leggings and two pairs of sweatpants….but still!). Our Chilean friends had never had smores before, and graham crackers don’t exist here…so Johnna found some sweet, square cookies and we went with it! I thought they were delicious, I miss making smores with my family in our backyard firepit so much!

I’m going off to serve at the soup kitchen for the last time this afternoon, preparing myself for tears….the people who work at Las Cañas have really become my family here, they crack me up, have seen me cry, give me advice and are just wonderful friends. I’m gonna  miss them a ton. Plus, I’m sad to leave the soup kitchen. I love having my English students tell me “Thank you Mees (how they pronounce “Miss” :D), this looks good!” when I serve them food and I love that I know so many faces by this point and receive hugs and greetings wherever I walk in the center. It’s been a gradual goodbye process, from center to center and program to program…but this is really it…still not hitting home! :-/

I’m doing 2 posts today before leaving, so check out the next one too! I should have internet this weekend in Santiago, and the hostel we’re staying at in Buenos Aires is supposed to have wi-fi, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep blogging as I’m traveling, but it’s going to be a little more up in the air from now on. Wish me luck on my travels, I can’t wait!

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