Ethan Pluimer ’24

Program: Chile Semester

Major: Chemistry

Minor: Biology & Spanish

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I chose to study abroad to open my eyes to a side of the world I was unfamiliar with. I wanted to learn and be a part of a different culture. I decided on Chile for its innumerable opportunities to enjoy its natural beauty.

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your program that made a lasting impression.

In Chile, there is a massive festival during the week of September 18th. some friends and I went to las ramadas (the fair) and hopping from fonda to fonda (cheap restaurant). We met several Chileans our age and spent the night enjoying kebabs and dancing so much that I was sore for two days. We learned how to dance cueca, ate traditional Chilean foods, and enjoyed some Chilean beverages. That night I discussed the cultural differences between Chile and USA with one of the guys we danced with. He made the point to me that in the US we live to work and nearly every where else people work to live. It was an exciting and simple point I had never considered before.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My study abroad experience was incredibly formative. The experience overall has been ineffably important to forming who I am today. I loved almost every moment of it, including the stress of travel.

Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?

The benefit of spending time abroad is being able to learn how you can adapt to a new place and new culture. Spending time abroad forces you to acclimate and in doing so you can learn many skills. For instance, in my time, my Spanish skills improved immensely. From a professional standpoint, studying abroad allows you to network on a different side of the planet. I now have friends in Chile interested in doing the same things I am. I know that I could contact them and pull some strings to find a job there possibly.

What advice can you offer for CSB+SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

You should do it.