As an exchange student in Chile, I have experienced many different things, whether it is cultural or just the different things that the people here tend to do. If you are living abroad in Chile or maybe even anywhere else, you may have experienced these things before:
People Want to Speak in English
Despite the fact that you are most likely here for the sole purpose of expanding your Spanish, it is likely that people will want to talk to you in English. In school, many of my classmates try out different english phrases they know during classes or ask me how to say specific words in English. At shops or restaurants, if the workers hear you speaking english they will sometimes try out their own knowledge of the language. Although these instances are not ideal, they are common while studying abroad but it is important to push past them and keep speaking in your target language!
Birthdays here I have experienced are a bit different. First of all, the cake is usually filled with manjar (dulce de leche) or has an odd, sweet, clumped powdery substance- sort of like astronaut ice cream! Then, my favorite part, is that after the singing of feliz cumpleaños, the people there pick up the birthday person and lift them once for every year old they are. This is always hilarious! I think i might try bringing this custom back to the US (watch out everyone).
Selling Food at School
My second day at school here in Chile, the girl sitting behind me had a box of cookies. I was pretty excited, believing that she was just giving out cookies. But then, as the day progressed, I realized she was selling them. In the month and a half that I have been at school, almost every day, someone has brought in a snack to sell. Some people sell these because they need the money while others sell it just for fun. This was interesting to me because generally in the US, if someone brings in food it is simply to share.
Last Friday night I went to my first ramada with my host family. A ramada is sort of like a fair. This one was at a school. When I arrived, there was a live band and some people dancing around. There were a lot of food stands, each one presented by all the different grades in order to raise money. I ate some french fries and my family and I played some kids games for fun! It was super interesting and the coming week I have school off for the celebration of Chile’s birthday. There will be many more ramadas in the coming week!