The GoGlobal Blog

Author: Frances Way

Hello! My name is Frances Way and I'm from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. I am a sophomore at Loyola University Chicago, majoring in human services with minors in studio art and psychology. I am spending my spring 2016 semester studying abroad in Santiago Chile. During this six month program, all of my studies will be in Spanish with a main focus on poverty and development of Latin America. I look forward to keeping you updated with many of my adventures as I explore South America during my stay.


It was officially my half way mark yesterday. Three months have past and three months to go here Santiago, Chile!

It’s crazy to look back on how the time is flying and how much I have already done. It is about a month into school now and the work is starting to pile up. Papers, presentations, tests ect. But, there is still a lot of time to explore!

Things to know before you arrive:

  1. Chileans speak really fast and really “bad” or incorrect Spanish. In some cases it is described as speaking Spanish or speaking Chilean. So, learning a word like, ¿cachai?  is very helpful. ¿cachai?  is essentially saying “do you understand?”or “get it?” after explaining something.
  2. Winter exists! After the summer which is so extreme compared to Chicago, forty degrees is freezing. There is no central heating and we are all dreading the winter as it is starting to get cold.
  3. Santiago is beautiful diverse city with amazing places to explore

Things that have stuck out to me in Santiago:

  1. The amount of smog in Santiago is unbelievable and somehow it is possible to go without noticing it. However, after some rain (which is very rare) you can see things that did not seem to exist before.
  2. Respect for the elderly is extremely prevalent. There is no questioning, if an elderly person boards the bus or metro at least three people will get up for them.
  3. No matter where you are in Santiago, metro, parks, streets, stores or homes PDA is present. At the beginning none of us study abroad students could believe it.  However, at this point I do not even notice it.
  4. The pick pockets are real. Before arriving many people warned me of it, but of course I did not believe it could be as bad as they said. The good thing is that there is not a huge presence of other violence. It is just necessary to be constantly aware of your surroundings.
  5. Café culture is so prominent here and it is amazing! Every café has a different atmosphere, but they are great places to study and have amazing cakes or gelato!
  6. Chileans love their protests! Whether its a “protest” celebrating international women’s day. Or participating in the annual Dia del Joven Combatiente.

Regarding school at Universidad Alberto Hurtado:

  1. Time is a different concept. You may only get part of your schedule for the semester the night before and figure the rest of it out during the first week!
  2. Books are not bought. Instead you have to pay to make copies of documents, books ect.
  3. The campus culture reminds me of high school. Everyone commutes so in between classes people socialize, play guitars, juggle, and play ping pong. Not a lot of people study on campus.
  4. Group projects are very common in curriculum.








Back to Reality!

Back to Reality!

After about three weeks of travel, I’m back in Santiago and have my first class tomorrow. But, obviously I do not want to think about that! So, I’ll share a bit about the month of February, which in this program is a month open for traveling! It took tons of planning and stress beforehand, but my trip included five main stops, Torres del Paine, Chiloé, Pucón, San Pedro de Atacama and Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

From this trip, we have our crazy stories of course, met interesting travelers, ran into the same travelers multiple time because South America is actually so small, ran into a few hostel problems and nearly missed a bus, but it was all so amazing!

Torres del Paine is a Chilean national park known for glaciers, mountains, rivers and lakes. It is known all over the world for the W trek and Circuit trek. These respectively are five or ten days each, and it is one of the most popular destinations for backpackers. We decided to take a tour – don’t judge – not everyone enjoys hiking. This allowed us to see the highlights of the park in one day and continue to travel to diverse areas of Chile during our vacation.

For lunch this day, we were supposed to make reservations to eat at the one restaurant that is in the National park. It turns out we did not make this reservation or bring a picnic for lunch, so we went to a small supplies store which is there for the hikers. Not having the reservation ended up being a blessing in disguise. We enjoyed the only food available in the supplies store for lunch which was chocolate and Pringles. But even more special was spending the time right on the water, of a Patagonian lake being so much closer to the nature than we would have ever been in a restaurant.

torres del Paine Chile

Our next stop was Chiloé, where upon arriving at our hostel we were told that they did not have enough beds for all of us, despite our reservation! It all worked out, but there is nothing like arriving at a hostel expecting a bed for the night and being told “surprise”. Chiloé was the most laid back destination over the month. We enjoyed a penguin tour, exploring the neighborhoods and waiting for sunsets which unfortunately never happened because of the cloudy weather.

The last stop on our “South” trip was Pucón, the adventure capital of Chile. We were able to white water raft at sunset, zip line across rivers and finally “canyon”. I did really want to either paraglide or skydive while I was there, but for the time we were there it was too windy and the conditions were not safe enough. Out of our three activities, “canyoning” was the favorite. It was an unexpected adventure, as none of us had heard of it before doing it. Essentially, early one morning we went to the office and changed into wet suits, booties, helmets and harnesses. After a short ride, we arrived at the start of our trek with the group. We walked along with the river, sometimes crossing it, other times using it as a natural water slide. And then at three points of our exploration we hit water falls. There we were able to repel down next to and within the water falls into caves. Pucón was absolutely amazing!

After this fourteen day trip all of us were quite tired, but we still had a week until school started. So I met with a friend and within two hours we had booked a four day tour in Bolivia to see the Salar de Uyuni! Ironically, near her host family’s house the only place that was open for us to meet up and plan the trip was Fuddruckers! I don’t think I have ever gone to a Fuddruckers in the States, but I will say their milkshakes are not bad! So for this trip we took a 24 hour long bus ride from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama. Now, flights are available but obviously were very expensive when we booked two days before leaving. I liked to believe we are young and can rough it sometimes! Overall, the bus ride was not terrible, except for the fact that the AC broke three hours into the trip.

The Bolivia tour was absolutely amazing. We saw white lagoons, green lagoons, rock valleys, a train cemetery and the Salar de Uyuni. No words can describe it.


So, I’m back to reality pretty soon, after two trips of a lifetime. Classes start tomorrow and the goal is to get a schedule with class times and room numbers before they start in the morning (this is my reality in Chilean time).


Summer Vacation!?!

Summer Vacation!?!

After about three and a half weeks of a 3 hour a day class, I am on summer vacation in Chile! Our program essentially had us take an intensive (J-term) Spanish class, but now we are free to travel around South America for a month and then we start the real semester the 2nd of March.

Tomorrow morning to start, I will be flying to Punta Arenas, the most southern point you can get to in Chile by plane. There with two classmates, we will be touring Torres del Paine national park. We will then be meeting a third classmate to explore Chiloe an island with very distinct culture and food. And of course taking a penguin tour! Lastly, we will be heading to Pucon, where we plan to zip line, white water raft and I may even sky dive over a volcano!

But, back to the things that I have experienced. Last weekend, the program took our whole group to Isla Negra, Chile. It’s about a two hour drive west of Santiago, that goes through the countryside. We went to visit one of Pablo Neruda’s three houses, and enjoy some time on the beach. Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, and was the second Chilean to be awarded it yet. Neruda, a lover of the sea and all things maritime, built the home to resemble a ship with low ceilings, creaking wood floors, and narrow passageways. A passionate collector, every room has a different collection of bottles, ship figureheads, maps, ships in bottles, and an impressive array of shells. Following this beautiful tour, we headed to the beach and enjoyed getting soaked by waves and climbing on the rocks.

This weekend a small group of us went to the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolumbiano ~Precolumbian Art Museum in Santiago. This museum in particular is said to have the best collection of artwork in Santiago, and I would agree. Items in the museum’s collections are drawn from the major pre-Columbian culture areas of Mesoamerica, Intermediate / Isthmo-Colombian, Pan-Caribbean, Amazonia and the Andean. The museum has over 3,000 pieces representing almost 100 different groups of people. The collection ranges from about 10,000 years ago. And more importantly for me, the majority of the collection was incredible examples of ceramic work.

Well, I better finish packing for tomorrow!





Bienvenidos a Santiago!

Bienvenidos a Santiago!

I’m here in Santiago, Chile in my second week on the Universidad Alberto Hurtado Affiliate Program. So far, it has been extraordinary! I moved in with a host family, which consists of my “mom” and two “sisters” who are 16 and 18. We have two cats and a dog. The cats are named Bicho and Negri (a black cat), while the dog is a cute mutt from the street named Nala. Our intensive Spanish class started last Monday and is only for three hours a day! Essentially, everyday is an adventure of exploring this new city. I have already seen, La Moneda (the White House of Chile), Cerro Santa Lucia (pictured below), Barrio Bellas Artes, and many more markets. I was even welcomed to Chile my second day, by a flying piece of corn “choclo”  that hit my back! The Spanish situation is going much better than expected. Before, arriving I found the idea of living with a family who only speak Spanish, taking all my classes in Spanish and exploring a city where I do not speak the language fluently very daunting. However, everyone is very patient and I can already see my Spanish improving.

Tomorrow, we are going to Isla Negra to see Pablo Neruda’s house and the beach!

Hasta Luego!

Cerro Santa Lucia