A little more than a month has gone by here in the “Pearl of the South” of Chile, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice! Right from the beginning, I’ve met incredible people among both the exchange students and the Chileans in my courses. All the professors were really understanding about the language difficulties in the beginning, and even now they continue to give me extra help. People are helpful and relaxed around here, and I definitely feel welcome! On top of that, the weather and the environment reminds me a little of the Finnish autumn, and just yesterday I found Finnish baking powder in the supermarket—it already feels like home.
In my major, Pedagogy in Physical Education, the classes are really versatile. One day we are swimming in a pool, and the next we’re practicing to rescue a drowning person from the freezing river. The program covers sports and courses that we don’t have in Finland, so I’m able to expand my capability as a teacher here and bring something new to my university back home.
Arriving to Valdivia and UACh all went very smoothly. The university has a great exchange program and staff to help all the incoming exchange students with whatever they need. When the first culture shock is gone and you get used to your daily rhythm, including traveling on the weekends, you will fall in love with Chile! All the local students love exchange students, so you can get to know them naturally and easily. That is how we share stories and experiences from our own cultures and learn from each other in a way that unites us.