Some very brief reflections on my year spent teaching in Chile:
As I prepare to leave Chile for Ecuador and Colombia and, eventually, the United States, I find myself thinking about the lessons I've learned during my time here. I tend to think of everything in life as a learning experience, so I've compiled a list of important take-aways. Some are more cliche than others. But all of them rang true for me, so I'm going to share them with you in the hopes that they may be helpful.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Working relationships, friendships, and social ties are important. Build them and maintain them.
- Not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes that’s for the best, even if it's not readily apparent.
- Be flexible.
- Be humble.
- Be inquisitive.
- Be the only gringa in the room when possible.
- Try new things - constantly.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
- Take time to get to know yourself. Step outside your comfort zone. Challenge yourself often.
Today I met with Tati and Nati to go ride the teleférico and also sort of as a despedida/farewell. But, the teleférico was closed for maintenance, so we walked around the park and then had juices at a vegan café. It was so nice to spend time with them. Nati gave me a graphic novel called A punto de partir, about a Chilean woman’s travels.
I had a blast catching up with them. We reflected on my year here in Chile. We talked about relationships, social media, minimalism and documentaries we’ve seen. I think I have progressed with my Spanish even further during this year in Chile because I know I wouldn’t have been able to follow the conversation when I arrived here 10 months ago. Although I would have been able to understand the Spanish, the cultural elements and Chilean modismos would have been largely inaccessible to me. But, out of necessity, I have become more culturally literate since I got here.
My time spent with Tati and Nati made me realize that I'll miss my friends and coworkers here in Chile un montón. (Shoutout to everyone at Plaza Oeste and un abrazo enorme.) But I know I will take the next step in life confidently, many thanks to you all, with the knowledge that I am resilient and capable.