Test by Oscar

Got my eyes on you

By Makynze Davies

When I came to Chile I knew I would get some looks because I am a tall, heavy set, red-headed, loud and proud, pale white girl from the middle of a corn field. However, I didn’t realize how frequent and how intense the stares would be especially here in Concepción where, I’ve come to find out, they don’t get very many tourists. At first, the stares really bothered me because one of the first things my host family warned me about was the pick-pockets and flytes. They even told me a story about how my host sister’s phone was snatched straight out of her hand while on the bus. I wasn’t oblivious to the fact that there would be pick-pockets and other typical dangers that come with traveling, but the intense warnings from my host family and Chilean friends made it sound like being pick-pocketed was a common occurrence and had me worried that my obvious foreigner status would make me a common target. So, I walked around with my Spidey- Senses on for weeks with every stare making me even more on edge.

Eventually, I began to relax and realize that as long as I kept my wits about me and didn’t do anything that opened me up to being pick-pocketed I would be fine. Which is done with these easy steps:

  1. BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Keep an eye on what is happening around you and who is around you.
  2. TRY TO BLEND. You may not be able to control your physical appearance, but you can control your personal appearance. One example is the type of wallet you carry while traveling. Typically, they use little coin purse instead of bigger wallets like mine, here in Chile.
  3. ONLY CARRY WHAT YOU NEED. My personal mantra is: Phone…Wallet… Keys… the rest you can live without. However, when it comes to your wallet, be mindful of what is in it. For me, my wallet only contains the amount of money I need for the day and my cedula.

I still get many intensive stares; I have even thought about purchasing a t-shirt that says “Sí, Soy Una Extranjera” in big bold letters as a way to lessen the intensity. Luckily though I have begun to receive just as many smiles and waves, especially from children and the people in my neighborhood who have gotten use to seeing me around.

I have come to understand that the stares are just because Chileans are just curious about who I am and where I’m from. I have had several very nice people engage in conversation with me as I eat my lunch in the various cafeterias/ cafes on campus, such as our new long-term friend Felipe Ceballos (pictured) who is studying to be an English teacher. Thanks to him and many other wonderful people I have met here in Chile I feel as though I have assimilated well to Chilean culture and I can’t wait to see what this next month brings.

Cata Tiene Dos Familias

By Katy McCollum

When I arrived here in Chile, one of the scariest parts of the first days was wondering how I would get along with my new family. It’s strange, leaving your own country and transplanting yourself into a brand-new family who doesn’t even speak your language. I had no idea what they’re expectations would be or if we would even like each other. At first it was a shock, the bio school had given me to tell me about the living situation wasn’t quite correct. I had been told I would be living with three adult women and one child, but upon my arrival I discovered that the reality was a little different. Not only do my two host sisters not live at home, but there is a host father who stays with us on the weekends who was NEVER mentioned at all. However, after I figured out how the family functioned, it was quite easy to assimilate into the family.

When I come home from school, I play with Bea, my host niece, until her mom finishes work and comes to take her home. She loves doing my hair and saying borderline creepy things, like “You’re going to die.” My host mom and I spend a lot of time together, because during the week it’s just the two of us. I call her Mamá, and she reminds me to wear my pantuflas when I’m downstairs, constantly in fear of me catching cold because I’m only wearing socks. She also calls me Cata instead of Katy, and laughs when I am mistaken for her real daughter when we go out shopping together, as I have red hair and the whitest of skin, while she has a typically Chilean appearance. My host dad only spends weekends in the house and he is a huge fan of quizzing me about myself and my family back in Iowa, most recently we talked about music and it ended with us listening to Fall Out Boy, and Panic at the Disco at the dinner table, and a request from my host dad to ask my real dad if he liked Cat Stevens or not. My other host sister lives in Chillan, and she comes to visit on the weekends sometimes. She loves shopping and always has some new article of clothing she found online that she’s swooning over.

My role in the family has recently taken another step, and for Mother’s Day, Bea and I (the “children” of the house) were sat down and given the news that my eldest host sister is going to be having another baby in 7 months. I think I was more excited than Bea. It’s crazy to think that at the beginning I was worried about how I would fit in with my Chilean family, and now it feels as though I’ve known them my entire life. I am so grateful that I have the family I do, and that they care for me and have helped me not to die while I figured out how to function in Chile.

En Busca del Español (In Search of Spanish)

By Michael Peterson

This past Wednesday was the exact mid-point in the semester abroad here in Chile. I think for all of us in the group, when we look back at when we first landed in Concepción and how we struggled to communicate with our host families, and our hesitance to go out alone or without any of our buddies, we can appreciate how much we have changed and grown more comfortable with living here, with speaking Spanish, and with communicating on our own.

We all arrived here in Concepción with different levels of Spanish proficiency, some of us with a few Spanish classes, some with maybe one or two, all at different places with the language. But, these past two and a half months have made all of us put English aside and give Spanish our best go, to learn a language through exposure and practice, through speaking with native Spanish speakers and with others still learning the language.

Photo courtesy of CosmoPolíglotas

This is the idea behind the group in Concepción known as CosmoPolíglotas, a group of people living in Concepción who want to practice their language skills with others doing the same. This group meets every Friday near the center of Concepción to just talk. A few hours every week, people who speak German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and English come to the bar CosmoPolíglotas has chosen for the week. We interact with each other, practice whatever language we want (for me I usually speak in Spanish while those I talk to speak in English) and we help each other.


Photo courtesy of Lihuén Bar

For me, aside from learning about a different culture and having an experience abroad that I would remember for the rest of my life, I came to Chile to improve my Spanish. Halfway in, I can say for sure that I have improved and become more confident speaking with others in Spanish. Less and less I have to ask someone to repeat themselves, and more and more I feel like I can have a conversation with a native Spanish speaker without having to think about my words. Spanish being more instinctual, building a vocabulary, and losing at least a little of my gringo accent have been some of my goals this semester.

One of the major steps I took to improve my Spanish was – of course – speaking with native speakers and being away from English as much as possible. Meeting friends through the University and through CosmoPolíglotas has helped me tremendously to become more confident in speaking Spanish.

Photo courtesy of Lihuén Bar

With the two and half months that I have left here in Chile, other than travelling and seeing all the amazing and beautiful places here, I hope to come back to the US feeling like I did everything I possibly could have done to improve my Spanish.

And as of right now, I feel like I am on track to do exactly that.

Experiencing a Different Culture

By Alex Millan

Okay, to start off, I am a Latina. I am Mexican-American, so I have an advantage here in Chile since I am semi-fluent in Spanish already. I grew up speaking Spanish to my parents and extended family members. I grew up singing Las Mañanitas whenever it was someone’s birthday, I considered tortas to be a sandwhich, ate elote, and would say “mande” every time I asked someone to repeat themselves or if they called my name.

However, my experiences here in Chile show that Latinos do not all have the same culture. Chileans here are super affectionate. Whenever you meet up with someone, it’s custom to kiss them on the cheek. I’ve only done that with family members, but here I’ve done it to friends, my host family, and people I’ve just met.

Being Mexican also captures the attention of Chileans. My host family thinks its super entertaining when I use Mexican slang such as güerito (pale person), mande (literal translation is ‘send for me’), or ahorita (right now), though it also grabs the attention of complete strangers when I’m just minding my business. I think it’s pretty funny since Concepción isn’t as touristy as Santiago so I’m constantly stopped and asked about my accent.

Chile, itself is completely different from my experience in the United States and Mexico. Chile is such a loooong country, so the weather in the north can be super-hot while down south it could be windy and rainy. That being said, Chileans think 50-60 degree weather is freezing. Once, my host mom and I went to a beach where it was warm and slightly windy. I wore shorts and a t-shirt. She went for hiking boots, jeans, and her trusty jacket.

May is also the time when winter begins here in Chile. So it has been getting slightly colder and windier. This past weekend, our group took an excursion down to Puerto Montt, Chile. There it was actually pretty cold but the views there were beautiful. In one of our trips, we hiked on Volcano Osorno and we saw the Petrohué waterfalls. It’s nothing like Iowa where it’s mainly flat and nothing like Mexico’s mountains (well, the ones I’ve been on) where it’s extremely hot. Chile is unique compared to the countries I’ve visited. Since it’s such a long country it has a very diverse geography and I can’t wait to explore more of this beautiful country.

Get Out of Your Room!

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.

Survivor: MultiComm Edition

Survival of finals week is exactly what you make of it. Many students have their own ways of surviving this week full of stress and sleepless nights. Read below to learn how students from the Multimedia Communications department brave finals.

“I survive finals week by chilling on my couch watching Netflix and YouTube. Sometimes I tune out to music to focus on my assignments to get them done and out of the way. Then I can relax before graduation day!” -Jayde Vogelar, senior graphic design major 

“I survive finals by listening to classical music while I’m studying and eating ice cream when I’m not.”  -Maddie Travis, sophomore exercise science major

“Scheduling brain breaks. Whether it’s watching an episode of a show on Netflix, taking a nap or talking to my plants.” -Madison Behney, senior public relations major  
  “I usually take a lot of breaks that include me going outside with my friends and doing something like skating or playing basketball.” -Coby Berg, sophomore public relations major

Learning to Go with The Flow

By:  Chloe Landsverk

Today is our 45th day in Chile and we could not be having more fun. Time is going by so fast it almost seems like a semester isn’t enough time. We continue to learn new things every day, the biggest one being to go with the flow. Chileans run on a completely different time schedule than we do in the US, and we are still not used to it. To them, 8 am is an ungodly hour to be awake. When an event starts at a specified time, they show up whenever they want. I have been learning this as well as many other cultural differences with the help of my host family, who I am really enjoying living with. Here are some examples of the cultural differences that have really stuck out to us:

  1. When saying hello or goodbye to someone, whether you’ve met them once or a thousand times, you kiss each other on the cheek. If you forget to do this, they will make fun of you for it every time they see you. This form of greeting is just one example of how caring and affectionate Chileans are to everyone they know.
  2. Making fun of someone is a sign of love. Chileans like to joke around and sometimes you are the joke. This just means they love you.
  3. They eat A LOT. And they try to feed you whether or not you’re hungry. Just today, my host mom asked if I was still hungry, to which I said no, and then she proceeded to offer me a second piece of cake, a piece of bread, or some eggs. I definitely will not starve to death here.
  4. Shoes must be worn at all times, or you will get sick and die. A few of us have had colds so far on the trip, and our families were convinced that it was because we don’t wear shoes inside the house all the time.
  5. They do not always wear seat belts in this country. The day I arrived in Chile my host family laughed at me for trying to put on my seat belt in the car. Since then I have not worn one, and I’m worried I will forget it is a law when I return to the US.

Despite all of these differences, we are having a great time getting to know our host families and the city of Concepción, and everyone’s Spanish skills are improving greatly. We were told before our trip to be easygoing, but we are just now realizing how important that truly is when traveling abroad.

Morgan Frideres: Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church

What is your work environment like?

Both the environment and supervisor were very personable and kind, so it was a comfortable atmosphere to learn and grow in. They didn’t have me there just to do grunt work; they were very invested in helping me learn and gain skills as a future professional. I would highly recommend this internship site in the future.


Reflect on how your internship has impacted your plans for future work in this industry.

This internship has truly expanded my capabilities and given me real-life experience I couldn’t have gotten in the classroom. I’ve gained technical skills, like how to use design software, along with professional skills, like collaborating with co-workers. I will be more valuable to a future communications team because of my widened skill set and workplace experience.


Looking forward, set one goal which aligns your personal aspirations with the needs of society.  What steps will you take to achieve this goal?

Many non-profits don’t have the resources to have a large communications team – it’s usually one person trying to do the work of many. These non-profit organizations really need someone who can do it all. I’m not sure exactly what I want to do in the future, but if I don’t work full-time at a non-profit, I want to volunteer and help with communications at a non-profit. Whatever organizations I’m part of after college, whether is a church or advocacy group, I will be in contact with the administration and volunteer my time and skills to allow better communication for the organization.


Tell us about a task/project you completed during your internship which brought you pride.

The Iowa Conference of the UMC has their biggest event each June – the Annual Conference – which thousands of people across the state attend. The conference is trying to modernize its technology and wanted to use some type of app to organize the information for attendees. My boss found the website for the app, then asked me to figure it out. I researched on how to use it, created the app, then showed it to all my co-workers. We had a communications meeting with pastors and communications directors across the state, and I explained the app and how to use it to them, too. They are going to use the app for the event, and it brings me pride to know I helped create it.



Edited and Graphic Designed by Baillee Furst