Courtney Jendemy is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Chile.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
While in Chile, I had the opportunity to volunteer in an orphanage for children under the age of 5 years old.At first it was very difficult to communicate with the children because I could not relate to their situation and I was still learning Chilean Spanish. But after the first two weeks of volunteering, I fell in love with the children. I ended up volunteering much more than instructed because I had found something that I was passionate about and it really had an impact on my life. I was able to see the impact I was having on the children's lives and that will forever stick with me. It made such a lasting impression on my life that I will definitely be going back to visit the children who helped put a lot of things into perspective in my life.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I knew coming into college that I wanted to study abroad. I have always had a passion for traveling and wanted to have the wonderful experience of emerging myself into a new culture. I am a Hispanic Studies major, so the Chile program was very fitting for my major. Also, I loved to volunteering aspect to the Chile program, it turned out to be my favorite and most prized memory of being abroad.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My elevator speech for them would be:My adventures in Chile were much more than trips around the country or days spent in class. I had the amazing opportunity of experiencing life-changing events that I know may never repeat themselves again such as paragliding through the Andes mountains of Argentina, or volunteering in an orphanage. I can say that my second home will always be in Chile because it is the one place I know I could go and fell just as comfortable as I do in the US. I am now a more well-rounded individual who possess greater confidence, independence, and knowledge of the world after studying abroad.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
My study abroad experience has had such an effect on my life. I now have a much better understanding of another culture and am able to accept other cultures as different but equal to my own. I have also become a much more independent person from this experience because I often only had myself and close peers to rely on, my parents were no longer there to figure things out for me. I also believe that my tolerance and patients are much stronger now after diving into a culture where they did not speak my primary language.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
I feel like I am bursting with advice for future study abroad students! A big thing would be not to pack the night before you leave to go abroad, and also that not spending any money the summer before going abroad and working really hard will pay off once you get to your host country, I promise. Travel early once abroad because the time flies and before you know it you will be on your way back to the US. Take pictures and VIDEOS of everything!!
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Chile? Email Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org.