“TILA”: This Is Latin America

Reina Slaymaker is a student at the College of Charleston and an ISA Featured Blogger. Reina is currently studying abroad with ISA in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, Chile.

“TILA” is the phrase ISA, myself, as well as other students studying abroad in Chile this semester, have adopted as a way to laugh at our mistakes and explain cultural differences as we, humorously, adjust to this completely foreign yet wonderful place. I’ve been in Santiago for less than 48 hours and I already know that this is a country that I will return to again and again, following the end of my program.

Me just moments after receiving my visa in the Consulate General of Chile in Chicago.
Me just moments after receiving my visa in the Consulate General of Chile in Chicago.

I can’t express my relief and happiness toward finally being here. After weeks of stressful phone calls and somewhat harassing federal and international governmental agencies, I was finally able to get my student visa with just a few days to spare before my departure.

The Chilean Flag just outside the Palacio Presidencial in Santiago.
The Chilean Flag just outside the Palacio Presidencial in Santiago.

With little time to settle into the Santiago hotel, the group was almost immediately bused off to our first of many adventures. With trips to the Cousino Macul Vineyard, Pablo Nerudo’s House and the Presidential Palace, including several last-minute schedule changes and spur-of-the-moment tourist stops, there is one thing I have learned above all else in the past couple of days: This Is Latin America. A beautiful, friendly, quirky, and at times, confusing region with some of the strangest Spanish and accents that I have ever heard before.

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