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Going to Chile this summer for three weeks was definitely a life changing experience for me. I had never been truly out of the country before other than to resorts or tourist locations so there were a lot of ‘firsts’ for me that really opened my eyes to how many amazing opportunities are out there in the world. It was the first time I saw a glacier which literally took my breath away (it was also really windy) because although I studied global warming at Bucknell, it never hit me that this could be the last time I ever saw one. It was also the first time I saw a cactus and a volcano which doesn’t sound that exciting, but to me growing up watching Animal Planet and reading NatGeo it was really exciting. I met entrepreneurs who had left everything they had in the US, and with little to no spanish ¬†moved to Chile to start businesses. I’m involved in a lot of entrepreneurial activities on campus so I understand the risk and courage it takes to start your own business… the fact they had left their country and home to do it as well (and were succeeding) was absolutely mind blowing. Probably the biggest challenge for me was the language barrier; it was suddenly every little task we take for granted in the US became a struggle. The first couple days were exhausting and stressful because of the constant helpless feeling of not knowing what was going on. Ordering food for every meal was the best example of frustration and confusion because you couldn’t avoid it at least a couple times a day. However the meals were also the best part of the day because in Chile they really take them seriously which made me realize how in America we don’t stop and enjoy the present even close to enough. For 3 days during our visit we stayed on an isolated farm in a large cabin where we all participated in a design competition with little to no resources including no internet. During this time we reflected on the how engineering in Chile affected their society, policies and economy- these reflections and many other gave me a better idea of what I wanted my future career to be.

 

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