Hey~ I am in TAIWAN!!! Yeah :D After all sorts of difficulties.

I arrived here in August. I was too exhausted and excited to write down anything during the first few weeks. Anyway, right now, I am in my cozy dorm and will type down every interesting and meaningful thing I have experienced here. But before I start this long long story, let me first talk about the process I have gone through to study in National Taiwan University, the best university in Taiwan – a school that does not have exchange program with Franklin and Marshall.

First of all, it is possible to study in a school that does not have any connections with F&M and get the credits transferred back. For more information about the individual approval process, please visit the Off-Campus Study website. I am not the first one who chooses to study in NTU from F&M, but I think that so far I am the only one who went here during the fall semester. It needs more work to study abroad in fall. Some obvious reasons are: the expiration date of the health insurance card, the possibility to miss the core courses which are only offered in fall in F&M, the rooming situation after getting back, possible departure from countries other than US (which usually causes some trouble), the visa application process outside US (huge trouble), etc. Thus, my suggestion would be to study abroad during the spring semester. But you have to risk the possibility of missing interviews for summer internships as the price…

Procedures written down:

  1. Credit Transfer

Check the courses you want to take online, translate the syllabus if it is not in English, and bring it to the department chair in F&M who will approve the courses. It is always a good idea to approve more courses than needed, because usually, one can only get the old class schedule for the school he/she wants to study in and some of the courses listed there might not be offered next semester.

For students who want to study in NTU, they should go to the NTU course information website https://nol.ntu.edu.tw/nol/guest/index.php. This page has an English version which allows students to check out courses in every department.

  1. Application

Since F&M does not have an exchange program with NTU, we can only study here as visiting students. One should apply for an account number with his/her passport on the website of Office of International Affairs http://www.oia.ntu.edu.tw/IncomingExchange/www/visit/framework.php?act=visit-login. The website also provides information in regard to the documents needed.

Several tips:

a)      Health Insurance: if you plan to study in NTU in the fall, you would not have the health insurance card for the fall when you are applying, because the one you currently hold will expire in August and you will not receive the new one until next semester. But NTU allows you to provide the document for health insurance when you arrive in Taiwan. Thus, you should go Appel and asks the receptionist to scan the card for you when it arrives and send the copy to your email box asap.

b)      Recommendation Letters: the OIA website only asks you to upload the electronic version of the two recommendation letters needed. However, some professors in F&M will only write recommendation letters if they can seal them into envelops and send out by mail directly. I do not know how to deal with this situation. My suggestion would be to find professors who are willing to provide you the electronic version and allow you to upload it by yourself.

c)      Financial Documents: NTU asks you to provide a certification which tells that you can afford yourself when you are in Taiwan. F&M can provide this certification for you. However, it takes time. Thus, if you are able to get some sort of certification of your bank account by yourself, it will make things much easier.

d)      Application Fee: NTU asks for 15000NTD application fee (around 500 USD). Though the websites states that the fee should be paid upon application, an F&M student can pay it after getting accepted and F&M will cover the fee. Here, I have to express my thanks to those F&M alumni who studied in NTU before. Due to their excellent performances in NTU, NTU has great impressions for students from F&M. Thus, this school is willing to postpone the fee payment.

 

Next time, I will explain the process to apply for Rutaizheng (the visa for people who hold Chinese passport).

 

In the end, I have to thank two of my friends, Anqi Hu and Luke Yang, who have helped me a LOT when I arrived in Taiwan and during my stay here. Anqi Hu is my friend from senior high (in Beijing). When my flight reached Famosa, she was in her last two days travelling on this island. Luke Yang, a local Taiwanese who visited my high school three years ago, is now a student in NTU also. He is freshman in International Business Department.

 

Here is the picture I took when Anqi and Luke went to Taoyuan International Airport to pick me up in August. It was almost three in the morning. I hope that in the future they can go to US, so that I can help them there as a way to say thanks.

 

When we were in Taoyuan International Airport

It was almost three in the morning. They went to pick me up and stayed up with me…

 
Me and the ladies up at the historical amphitheater dancing in May!

So this post is a bit spur of the moment after I came to a realization in the shower this morning, but I promise it will be the best, mostly because of the awesome German word I’m going to teach you all in this one

das Tohuwabohu – pronounced tow-who-va-bo-who (as fast as you can to make it all the better) das Tohuwabohu is German word for hullabaloo!  As awesome as hullabaloo is Tohuwabohu definitely needs to be adopted by the English language.

Anyways, as awesome as Tohuwabohu is (can you tell how much I love this word yet???), there is another reason for this post besides wanting to say Tohuwabohu as many times as I can without making you want to rip your hair out!

While in the shower this morning I was thinking about stuff back in America and imagining the conversation I would have with a professor about a class or MVA employee about renewing my license.  This sparked the rather obvious but cool epiphany that I was imagining talking to these everyday Americans in German.

Sunset outside my apartment! The weather is finally getting nice!

So midway through my conversation (in my head) with the guy at the checkout register in the grocery store I realized I was speaking in German and that’s why the man had a confused WTF expression on his face as I babbled along.

As obvious as it might seem, I had never really thought about how I’m thinking in German even when I’m in America in my mind (and it turns out it’s been happening for a long time).  Some of you might say, well duhhhhh you’re thinking in German, but it really isn’t that simple.  Thinking in a foreign language is a whole new ballgame, and if you can do it it’s a real sign of how much you know of another country’s language.

One of the beautiful views I get on sunny days while riding my bike around Heidelberg while thinking in German!

So coming to the realization that I think in German most of the time (I say as I write and think in English for this blog post) gave me a great ego boost on a Mosey Monday, and I thought it warranted a good ol’ blog post!

We’ll see whether the epiphanies keep on coming because the past two have been pretty big ones.  Besides the two recent realization making me feel über German, some other stuff has been going on too!

Most recently I celebrated my 21st birthday a couple Saturdays ago!  Why am I reminding you about my already celebrated birthday you ask?  Well because there are a few interesting differences regarding a 21st birthday in Germany as you might expect.  If you’ve been reading my posts from the beginning, you know that Germans can drink alcohol legally from age 16 on, and if you haven’t been reading my posts now you do!

Celebrating the big 2-1 with my Amis!

This difference in the legal drinking age means that my 21st birthday really means absolutely nothing to the Germans because they can already do everything anyways.  Their final legal limitations are removed when they turn 18, and so what was I to do for the all-important 21st birthday in a country where it doesn’t really matter to anyone?  That’s why I keep my fellow Americans close at hand of course, and so it was the Americans in my program (who know what a 21st birthday means) who made me feel so special!  They made me breakfast (pancakes with Vermont Maple Syrup!), baked me a cake, and, of course, bought me a few drinks later!

That was amazing, but what I really thought was amazing was what my German friend, Ozzy, did for me.  I’ve known Ozzy for 6 years now and he is studying English at the Uni here in Heidelberg, so he does know how much a 21st birthday means to us Americans.  So, being the great friend that he is, he took me out to dinner for traditional German food, house-brewed beer, and good conversation at a local restaurant.  It’s a well-known fact that when you have a German friend you have a friend for life, and my birthday was just more proof of that fact.  And everything combined made for an awesome Tohuwabohu!

Just wanted you all to see my fantastic bike with all it’s awesome colors!

For even more Tohuwabohu fun, last Wednesday was the 1st of May, and for Europeans this is a big deal because it means the weather is actually starting to get nice again!  So of course we need to have a celebration to go along with this exciting beginning to a new season, so in Germany we tanz in den Mai!  This means we dance into May, so naturally we build a big bonfire up at the historic Nazi era amphitheater and dance around into May!  So basically this just adds to the list of awesome celebrations and things that should come to America in my opinion.  So that was another awesome Tohuwabohu, and that’s the last time I’ll say that…in this blog post.

Me and the ladies up at the historical amphitheater dancing in May!

So that’s the (relatively) quick update on life here in Deutschland, and I didn’t even get around to talking about my new classes! O well!  More to come soon, so stay tuned for more tales of fantastic Tohuwabohus!  Ok I lied…one more was necessary!

 

One thing that IFSA Butler (my study abroad program) emphasized during orientation and pre-departure newsletters is the fact that Australians tend to underestimate how much work they do/have done. So instead of the boasting about/lamenting how little sleep one has had that goes on in American universities like mine, students here would say they didn’t spend any time at all on an assignment when that was not the case. I have definitely observed this on numerous occasions. Everyone in my residential college talks about how they were going to do work, but they ended up sleeping or watching TV, so they didn’t get anything done.

Australian students are definitely more relaxed about schoolwork. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about just wanting a pass (C in the US) in an exam or an assignment, which is interesting, considering you need to be a top academic performer to get into one of Sydney Uni’s 5 residential colleges (my college had 800 applicants for 60 spots last year).

Or maybe school is just more difficult in Australia. When I was told that an A here is 75+, I imagined it would be easier than my home university, where an A is 93+. However, fewer students than I expected received academic honors during the college’s academic dinner. I think it may be because grade inflation does not happen as often here as in the U.S.

Studying habits are definitely different here. Sydney Uni has 54,000 students, and only about 2,000 or so (probably less) live on campus, so most students commute, and do their work at home rather than on campus. Also unlike in the US where libraries are open later, Fisher library, one of Sydney Uni’s 11 libraries closes at 10pm from Monday-Thursday, and 8pm on Friday, because Australian students do work in the day and just chill at night. The library is also not designed as an optimum study space. On it’s 6 or so levels, there are the most computers and printers I have ever seen in my life. It seems to be more for students printing papers, or students surfing the net between classes.

My classes are fairly difficult because they are 2,000 level classes (for 2nd and 3rd years. Most degrees here are 3 instead of 4 years like in the US). I am taking 3 classes (Gender:Anthropological Studies, Foundations of Management, and International Human Resource Management), and completing an internship that counts as a 4th class because it has an academic component (4 reflective journals, 4 workshops, and a 2,500 word final report). Word of advice to anyone planning on studying abroad anywhere: make sure you get all your classes approved as soon as you can. Don’t just assume they will. I found out a day before the course drop deadline that 1 of my classes hadn’t been approved because it was too similar to 1 I had taken at my home university, and I had to make some major changes to my schedule 2 weeks into the semester.

Even though my study abroad experience is not as easy on the academic front as I anticipated (both my roommates feel the same way), it is a challenging and rewarding experience. I am new to the discipline of Management, and it is quite enjoyable.

Next week, I will attend one of my International Human Resource Management lecturer’s consultation hours to discuss an assignment. It will be nice to see her face up close, so far she’s only been a voice lecturing to a theatre of about 100 students, and I don’t know what she looks like haha.

Cheers!

 
DSCN9704

Hey, faithful readers, (I learn about more of you every day)!  First off I’d like to say thanks for following my adventures over the course of the past semester!  It means a lot to know people are keeping up with all the stuff I’ve been doing!  A new semester is about to begin for me in less than a week, so I would love to start with a German lesson!

 Vielen Dank (feel-uhn dahnk)!  This means, when literally translated, many thanks, but it is used in a more casual tone for the Germans as a generic thanks!  So, dear readers, vielen Dank, for your continued interest in my European adventures!

Me standing in front of the Millennium Bridge across the River Thames from St. Paul’s Cathedral

As many of you know I’ve been pretty much constantly traveling for the past two months while between semesters in Germany.  I’ve made the grand European circuit (only Poland and the Netherlands are left in Western Europe really), and through the process of moving around constantly I have come to a great realization.

The Heidelberg Schloß (castle)

I now consider Heidelberg to be home.

Might seem obvious I guess, but it is something that hasn’t come particularly easily to me.  What brought this on was, in fact, all the traveling that I’ve been doing!  As I’ve zigzagged across Europe I have met a ridiculous amount of people, and with pretty much all of them the topic of home has come up.  When it inevitably does, I inevitably need to make the important distinction between home in the USA and home in Germany because more often than not I’m talking about Heidelberg!

And now that I’m leaving London (and family), I have found that I’m ready to go home to Heidelberg.  I miss the city.  I miss speaking German.  I miss my apartment and friends!  I have been so unsettled for the past two months that I’m sooooooo ready for the routine and normalcy of my life back in Heidelberg.  The things I’ve seen from Barcelona to Copenhagen and London to Rome have amazed me, but none of it really is home despite the friends and family I’ve found along the way.  So as I head home, I’m so very much looking forward to it!

Me and Chipotle caught up a couple of times while I was in London!

As I said this epiphany took a while, and that is a testament to how great home across the pond is!  I hung on to my family and friends from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the rest of the U.S., and that for a time prevented me from really putting down roots in Germany.  In the end Germany has changed me and affected me in ways I don’t even understand yet, and I know that my multiple homes can coexist peacefully.  There’s no reason that Germany and America have to be mutually exclusive, and I’m so happy that I’ve come to that realization!  So here’s to the beginning of another amazing semester at home in Germany!

 
Me in Madrid in the Retiro! It took me long enough to get there!

As promised on Facebook, here is the story of my night on the streets of Barcelona!

So as most of you who will read this know, I am on vacation between semesters for a two-month period! Crazy right???  Anyways, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my life that is critical to fun vacations it is the phrase Semper Gumby, a.k.a. always be flexible.  My youth pastor at home taught me this wonderful phrase, and it always comes up whenever I’m traveling.

My first stop on the journey in Karlsruhe, Germany

So, you might ask, why am I talking about Semper Gumby now? Well, if you’re patient and read on I’ll tell you!  This time around I really needed to refer to this saying while attempting to get to Madrid to visit a friend there.  I was supposed to travel on Tuesday, the 12th of February, in a travel time of about 15 hours.  Instead the journey took an extra 33 hours, and didn’t begin until the 13th.

So clearly there’s a decent story here!  Turns out that on Mardi Gras my train that was supposed to take me to Paris was cancelled. I have no idea why and neither does Deutsche Bahn, but I definitely wasn’t going to make my connections in Paris and Figueres Vilafant (northern Spain).

I hurriedly ran to the information center, and asked what was going on and could it be fixed.  Well the long answer made short is yes, but, unfortunately, not until tomorrow.  Apparently there was no similar connection on Wednesday, so instead of 2 simple connections I had to make 5, and I would be in transit for 27 hours.

The central train station in Strasbourg, France (stop number 2)

So after waking up at an ungodly hour I hopped my first train at 5:45 am and after traveling through Karlsruhe (Germany), Strasbourg (France), Montpellier (France), and Port Bou (Spain) I arrived at the Barcelona Sants train station at 10:30 pm.  After that I was stuck.  No more trains were traveling to Madrid Wednesday, so I would have to wait until 6:05 am Thursday to finish the journey.

 

The view out in front of stop number 3, Montpellier, France

I figured that a stay overnight at the station wouldn’t be too bad.  There was a McDonald’s (which I am sitting outside of now writing this) that provided free wifi and some surprisingly comfortable seats!  But that was before I found out that the station closes at 12. Womp womp…I was in trouble now.

The view from the train between Montpellier and Port Bou, Spain

Next to me I saw 2 (also confused) young guys and decided it was worth a shot to ask what they had in mind.  They were French and in the same situation as me with an early train and nowhere to stay overnight, while trying to get back to Paris.  After a few minutes of deliberation in broken English we decided to go looking for a nearby hostel that wouldn’t break our meager banks.

Me being lonely in the Port Bou train station…I was catching the last train of the day!

And, staying true to my horrible luck in trying to get to Madrid, there was absolutely nothing we could do, so it looked like it was going to be a night on the streets, my first ever!  I found a few benches and they found some coca-cola and we settled in.  I turned on a movie on my IPod and they tried to find some way to get home, which they did around 2 am.  They found a cheap bus, and so I was faced with what I figured would be about another 2 hours alone on the streets.  I found another bench closer to the station and bundled up because it was getting down into the 40’s.  Finally two hours later I nearly ran into the station and got warm and some wifi back in front of McDonald’s.

The Barcelona Sants station circa 4 in the morning!

2 hours after that I was on my train and almost immediately asleep, and 3 hours after that I finally arrived in Madrid!  Without keeping my motto in mind every leg of the journey I probably would have had a mental breakdown, due to all the stress and craziness involved.  Luckily, I kept my cool (literally I felt like I was freezing), and I got to Madrid in one, tired piece!  So to all you other travelers out there stay flexible, and in the end you’ll have a great time like me!

Me in Madrid in the Retiro! It took me long enough to get there!

 

Hello once again faithful readers!  Your German word to take to heart this time around is…

die Ferien- which means vacation or break, like in the sentence in den Semesterferien reise ich um ganz Europa!

So that vacation I mentioned is beginning as I write this post, but before we get to that exciting stuff I want to take a look at what my first semester in Germany was really like.  This post will focus on the school bit and the next one I’ll be looking at how I’ve adjusted to life in Germany outside of the classroom!

Uni here in Germany is very, very different from uni in America.  It’s going to be hard to just remember all of the differences (so there will probably be a few that are forgotten).  So I guess I should just be honest about it, so this semester was a lot easier than a semester back at dear old F&M.  The first thing that made it easier was the fact that I was taking fewer classes during the actual semester.  I took one of my classes before the semester started and then only took 2.5 F&M credits, a.k.a. 2.5 classes (after dropping Arabic).  This is, however, not the norm for German students.  My German friends take 6 classes or so a semester and do that for 5 years rather than the 4 of American students.  I will however be making up my lack of work next semester, so have no fear that I’m wasting all your money Mom and Dad!

Another huge difference is what many of the classes are actually like.  Compared to F&M (and the American system in general) the German system is heavily based around lecture as opposed to seminar style teaching, and grading is much more concentrated on a few assignments.  This turns out to be both a blessing and a curse!  Being lectured at has never been my style, so luckily I found classes that were seminar based, but the grading system still put me on edge.  In both of the classes where I received a grade I had only 1 or two grades the whole semester, which means of course if I bombed anything my grade was bombed. I only had tests, but there are classes that also grade based on lengthy presentations (I had a short one) and term papers due after the semester ends.  Luckily everything turned out fine and my grades didn’t suffer due to the lack of assignments.

The final major difference that separates the German unis from the American ones is the lack of homework.  In uni here in Germany there is hardly any homework.  Nearly all of the work is focused on class and papers at the end of the semester. Where us Americans are forced to slave away for hours with homework every night the Germans are left to their own devices to study, obtain extra information regarding class materials, and do the little amounts of homework they are assigned (and it’s rarely graded).  In the end it comes out to a system that is more relaxed, more self reliant, and more fun (in my humble opinion).  So from that description I would say I’m enjoying school here in Germany very much so far, and I will have a difficult time readjusting to life when I get back to F&M in the fall.

 

So here’s the non-academic side of the past 5 and a half months!

I guess we can give the German words a break since I’m on a train in France going to Spain while writing this!

The view from the train in France headed for Port Bou, Spain

As you might expect life in Germany is quite a bit different from life in the United States, and it has taken quite a while to adjust, but I would say that now I’m leaving to travel around Europe for a couple months I feel pretty well adjusted to life over here.

The lifestyle of the college student here in Germany is what I think was one of the hardest things to adjust to besides leaving my family and friends.  Being a uni student here is actually like being a young adult.  Students are expected to find their own housing, register themselves completely for uni, cook most of their own food, and be independent in almost every way.  It is a real change from the almost pampered atmosphere that F&M provides its own students in Lancaster.  And it really was a change to have a period in my life as a young adult.  Our parents and elders at home in America talk about us as young adults, but in reality we’re still treated largely as children!  Many of us go back to living at home between semesters where everything is given to us, and while at F&M we have a dining hall at our disposal for food, simple course registration, and housing provided for us.

Cooking and shopping for myself pretty much the whole time!

We hardly get any training in how to live life on our own, as so many of us do once we graduate from college.  I can’t help but feel that if I hadn’t come here to Germany I would have felt wholly unprepared once I graduated from F&M.  Luckily I chose to come here to Germany, and while still pampered some by my study abroad program, I have largely been left to my own devices, and finally I am coming to enjoy it and have learned so much!

I have of course had ups and downs over the past 5 and a half months, but I haven’t set my apartment on fire yet and I haven’t been arrested or anything terrible.  As a result of having this time to explore myself I know that when I come back to America I will be a changed person (how could I not be after 11 months abroad), but definitely changed for the better.  The only problem I worry about at this point (and it’s a stretch to even call it a worry with it being so far off) is how will I adjust to going back to the pampered life of home and F&M?  Will my new experiences just add to the fun and incredible experience I’ve had at F&M so far, or will the reverse culture shock hit like a ton of bricks?  In either case it’s still 5 months away, so it’s not really a problem and won’t be for quite a while!  For now I’m just focused on enjoying my life here!

On that note I’ll stop and get on with enjoying my train ride to Port Bou, Spain on the way to my final destination of Madrid!  You’ll be hearing about this wild experience soon I can assure you!

 

I’ve been telling all of my friends and family about how rugged South Caicos is, and how is isn’t a tourist hot spot. Now, I’m going to take some time to tell everyone what South Caicos does have to offer.

South Caicos

South Caicos used to be an important salt producer, but nowadays it is known for its large fishing industry. Locals on the island harvest queen conch (pronounced “conk”), spiny lobster, and bonefish. Once processed the fish, and sea creatures are most often exported to Provodenciales and the United States. Because of its proximity to dramatic wall drop in the ocean, the island is also known for its deep sea fishing.

Tourism is virtually nonexistent on the island, as it is very small (8 square miles) and little has been developed, but once a year many people flock to the island for the “South Caicos Regatta”. The Regatta started in 1966 when her majesty the Queen and the the Duke visited South Caicos for the first time. The highlight of the day was the “SAIL PAST-SALUTE” by the local fishing sloops (a specific type of sailing vessel). In present day this regatta includes sailing regattas, speed boat races, beauty pageants  float parades, and donkey races.

And last, but certainly not least, the island is known for its SCUBA diving. Because of the lack of tourism, the coral reefs remain undamaged. The water has unbelievably clear visibility (so I’ve been told) and when diving you can see an array of creatures including dolphins, eagle rays, giant grouper, turtles and a wide variety of sharks. January through April, South Caicos becomes a prime viewing location for the humpback whale migration, and I hope that I will be lucky enough to witness it!

 
Christmas in Germany!

Hey faithful readers!  Thanks for patience in waiting for another blog post!  It has been a couple months I know, but I’m still in classes for first semester, so cut me a little slack!  There has been sooooooo much going on since I last posted, so the hope is that I’m about to throw up a few blog posts right in a row!

Soooo if you can remember we always have a German word of the day!

We’ll start with Christmas because that’s always a fun topic even if it happened last year!

The Christmas tree in Strasbourg, France…the most impressive one I saw in Europe!

Weihnachten – Christmas

Weihnachten ist mein Lieblingsfest, weil ich Santa Claus liebe!

So Christmas is a tad different than in America as you might expect!  Kinda surprisingly I would say Christmas is just as commercialized here in Germany as it is in America.  Instead of endless commercials and Christmas music on every radio station (some still play it!), the Germans have Christmas markets.

 

The Christmas market at the castle in Heidelberg

Pretty much every single city, town, and hamlet in Germany has a Christmas market (Weihnachtsmarkt or Christkindlmarkt in German), and they are done as much for the locals as for the tourists!  They are very exciting and personify Christmas in many ways (in my opinion at least).  Everyone from tourists to Germans congregates in the markets to grab a drink and share some quality holiday time with their friends and family…much better way to spend the holiday season in my opinion!  And of course there is a drink of choice at these Christmas markets- Glühwein- heated mulled wine!  It is different in every village and city and is very tasty!

Besides the entirely different advent season the actual holiday is very different too!  The big holiday day is the 24th not the 25th and gifts are swapped then.  And overall the celebration is smaller and more intimate, which makes for a wonderful holiday.  I got to enjoy mine with the family in Vienna, and despite being thousands of miles away from home family turned out to be all that mattered!

 

The St. Stephen’s Cathedral all lit up inside on Christmas Day

So I hope all of you had wonderful Christmas holidays or whatever holidays you might have celebrated.  My holidays were wonderful here, and I still have a few more days left to enjoy (and write blog posts!), so a happy new year to you all!  Hope it will be the best one yet!  More to come soon and maybe even a photo one!

The family all together for the holidays!

 

¡Estoy trabajando en Móvil Dental!

With all SIT programs, students finish classes earlier in the semester and have an entire month to select an independent study project (ISP). My ISP period began this past week and I’ve decided to study the differences in oral health between rural and urban regions. After looking over ISPs from previous years, I was shocked to learn that no one has ever studies oral health (salud bucal) through this program. I’m really looking forward to the next month because a big component of my project is studying the preventative health programs offered by public health centers and going with dentists to schools to give free care and teach about oral health. The dentists drive around this truck called “Móvil Dental” which has one operating seat in it and put fluoride on children’s teeth (those who don’t have cavities). Those who do have cavities take a form home to their parents to sign and the following day, the dentist drills out the cavity the and seals the hole. Currently in Chile, all citizens have a right to free dental care at ages 2, 4, 6, 12, and 60. But what happens to everyone else? Dental health is one of the most expensive medical services in Chile and combined with the poor nutrition of most Chileans has lead to almost 100% of the adult population having cavities. I am interested in seeing what I discover about the differencesbetween rural and urban locations over the next month.

¡Mis compañeras de cuarto!

In addition to having the entire month to only focus on research, I also decided to move out of my host family’s house and into a new apartment with 3 of my girlfriends from the program. I’m excited to be living more independently because I now have the opportunity to eat healthier and don’t have to feel like a guest all the time. I did enjoy my time with my host family and found that it was a better way of improving my spanish than courses, but I definitely prefer my independence. A $1 taxi ride away from our apartment is the AGRO or huge farmers market of Arica. I cannot believe how many different types of fresh vegetables and fruits they have available (and for SUPER CHEAP). Definitely the best mangos, kiwis and chirimoya I’ve eaten in my life.