After returning from a recent exchange to Chile, Nayland student Joe Williamson has a lot of good to say about his time spent there.
One thing that seems difficult on such an exchange would be accommodating to speaking purely in a different language but Joe adapted quite quickly. “It took about a month, the first month was kinda hard (…). Once I passed the months, it got easier and I could converse more,” Joe said.
Despite very much liking the atmosphere of Chile, Joe did start wanting to see the landscape of his home again. “I found it cool, it was a different experience, different view but after a while I started missing the greenery of New Zealand and the green mountains,” he said.
Many of the places in Chile were standouts to Joe, such as Pucón or Viña del Mar. Modern cities aren’t all he remembered though, as he also visited some more historical places. “When we went to the desert we went to the Inca trail and (…) learned all about that (…). It was really cool,” he said.
Another thing that stood out greatly to Joe and was the Chilean sense of sociability. He noted a big difference in the teenage interactions between the two countries. “Teenagers here, they give you a death stare sometimes, but in Chile they are really nice,” he joked.
This applied not only to typical interactions but also to the way they spent time with friends. “Like friends, they book a night, they go out and they just talk for ages,” Joe said. He noted that, unlike in many circles in New Zealand, these social nights didn’t involve alcohol or drugs.
For anyone who is thinking of going on an exchange trip, Joe imparts some choice advice. “I went in January and no one’s in school at that time there, they are all out. So you get to meet heaps of new people and get to learn Spanish way faster than when you are in school. So, my recommendation would be December-January time.”
By student reporter Marian Clement