By: Sydney Samples
It is easy to want to sleep in on weekends, and to decide to not leave your room on days that you don’t have class. But, one of the most important things I have learned on this trip is that’s the last thing you should be doing. More than anything, you don’t want to return home and think about all the things you have missed because you didn’t leave your room. Even just getting out of your room to talk to your host family, staying for the entire sobremesa (after dinner conversation) which can last for up to an hour, or getting in the car when your host family says they are going somewhere without asking any questions, can teach you a lot about Chilean culture and expose you to cool, new things.
Some of my favorite things on this trip have been the things we decided to do last minute to explore Concepcion or one of the other cities we visited as a group. I have done everything from beach days with my host family, hiking with friends, visited museums, gone on multiple walks in different parks, picnicked next to one of Concepcion’s 7 lagoons, seen a movie in Spanish, taken too long to figure out how to take a group picture and still have everyone in it, stopped to eat at as many ice cream and dessert shops as I possibly could, and wandered around new cities with no destination in sight (the list could go on and on). I’ve seen new things and tried new foods. I’ve gone completely outside of my comfort zone and loved every minute of it.
These moments and experiences were the things that brought us closer together as a group. The things that make everything worth it when I look back on my days here. Most of them are little, and often cost little to no money, but have become some of my favorite memories and have helped turn strangers into my close friends. So, moral of the story is leave your room. Go outside! Live life to the fullest! No matter where you are in the world there is always something new to see, and I promise it is more exciting than sleeping in.