La Serena

CIEE Santiago Study Tour - Fall Block II

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La Serena, the capital of the Coquimbo Region, was founded in 1544 and is the country’s second-oldest city. The Elqui Valley, 400 km north of Santiago, lies at the southern end of the Atacama Desert in the Coquimbo region. It is known for producing table grapes and other fruits, as well as pisco, Chile’s second most popular alcoholic beverage, after wine. The region is characterized by a sunny, desert-like climate, less than 70 millimeters of annual rainfall, dry rocky terrain, steep valleys and temperate hills cooled by strong winds from the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains. All these features present these northern skies as the perfect location for many astronomical observatories.

SAMPLE ITINERARY

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FRIDAY

WALKING TOUR THROUGH LA SERENA
Upon arrival in downtown La Serena, the groups start the tour together, walking through La Serena lead by a local guide, passing by the city’s historic downtown and landmarks: The lighthouse and costanera, La Recoba, and the Japanese garden.

SATURDAY

BIKING THROUGH ELQUI VALLEY AND VISIT TO PISQUERA ABBA
A relaxed bike ride descending through the Elqui Valley (20kms), by the old route of the Tren Elquino. There will be one stop at the vineyard of Pisquera Abba to learn about the production of pisco from the perspective of a family business. There will also be a pisco tasting of the region’s most iconic products. Pisco is a clear or yellowish-to-amber colored brandy produced in winemaking regions of Peru and Chile, made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high-proof spirit.

WORKSHOP ON THE POETRY OF GABRIEL MISTRAL AT GABRIELA MISTRAL MUSEUM
Guided visit of the museum devoted to Gabriela Mistral and learn about the most influential female poet in Chile and the challenges of being a female teacher and poet. In 1945 she became the first Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature. Some central themes in her poems are nature, betrayal, love, a mother’s love, sorrow and recovery, travel, and Latin American identity as formed from a mixture of Native American and European influences. A guest lecturer will speak about the poetic work of Gabriela Mistral and gives prompts to understand the most recurrent themes in her poetry.

FREE TIME TO EXPLORE THE TOWN AND VICUÑA AND HAVE DINNER
Dinner is on your own, and you should make sure you have dinner and buy snacks according to your needs, since the group will be back in La Serena around 23:00 at night. Although Vicuña is a small town, there will be a couple of alternatives to have dinner and buy snacks.

ASTRONOMICAL TOUR AT MAMALLUCA OBSERVATORY
The Astronomical Observatory Cerro Mamalluca belongs to the Municipality of Vicuña. The remoteness of the city, relative lack of light pollution, and the attractiveness of observing the night sky in the Elqui Valley led a group of fans called CASMIA to begin meeting there in the 1980s. The first steps were to get the ground as well as funds from the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) and the Municipality of Vicuña, along with donated equipment from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO). The group will listen to a lecture on the work the observatory does and a general description of what will be seen when using the observatory’s telescopes. All students are expected to have had dinner prior to this activity, as after the activity, the group will go directly back to La Serena hotel.

Free Time Suggestions

MUSEO MINERALÓGICO IGNACIO DOMEYKO

The museum maintained by Universidad de La Serena, which has been named after the Polish scientist, Ignacio Domeyko, who was given Chilean citizenship because of his extensive work investigating the geology of vast zones in the country.

PARQUE PEDRO DE VALDIVIA

Perfect place to enjoy nature and hiking trails. In this park you will find trees such as eucalyptus, Chilean palm, Alamos, Cypresses and Willows. There is also a mini zoo where you can see llamas, ostriches, chickens, condor, turtles, guanacos, goats, tricahue parrots, condor and Cai monkeys, among others.

MUSEO ENTOMOLÓGICO Y DE HISTORIA NATURAL DE VICUÑA

Biggest private insect collection In Chile, including fossils, butterflies, beetles and the like.

WHAT ARE THE STUDY TOUR LEARNING OBJECTIVES?

The intercultural learning objectives of the study tour curriculum—delivered in two parts, pre- and post-tour—are to promote cultural self-awareness, cultural literacy, and the ability to bridge cultural gaps. Through activities and exercises, students are encouraged to consider issues of culture, identity, values, beliefs and assumptions. Ultimately, students develop competencies to experience new and unfamiliar experiences without relying on stereotypes and heuristics.

Each study tour should achieve learning objectives in each academic track whereby students can:

ARTICULATE some of their own values and beliefs, and explain how these values and beliefs, as well as their experiences, have shaped their own views surrounding politics and international
relations in general.

RECOGNIZE diversity and difference within the local cultural context, and be able to compare and contrast this with the diversity that exists in other contexts with which they may be familiar.

IDENTIFY at least two ways in which practices surrounding media in the host environment are culturally-influenced and/or ways that media practices in the host environment impacts culture.

EVALUATE at least two ways in which social and cultural factors in the host environment have influenced values, beliefs, assumptions, or practices surrounding local healthcare.

DECONSTRUCT their own assumptions and values and analyze how these shape their views on international business. In addition to achieving learning objectives in the academic tracks a study tour presents opportunities to support students understanding the cultural beings of Self and Other. These include developing abilities to self-reflect and become more self-aware, increase their understanding of the salient values in their previous and current environment, and develop their capacity for the awareness of others in their previous and current cultural context.

Santiago, Chile

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