Lauren Porter, '12, is currently living with a family in Limach, Chile. She teaches English in a public school in Olmué through a program called English Opens Doors. This program places volunteers in different cities throughout Chile and began in 2004.
Lauren is learning about the program, the school systems, and life and culture in Chile. "Schools, students, teachers, everything is very different here," she says. "Chile is a beautiful and amazing country." She is also learning the local Spanish, which incorporates a lot of slang that is only used in Chile. Lauren says, "having lived in Mexico and Costa Rica, Chilean Spanish is something completely different."
She explains that Chileans primarily listen to '80s music as a result of the Pinochet regime. There are protests, or paros, frequently in which students take over schools or march in the streets because they want cheaper or free education. But Lauren is looking forward to the week of September 18, the week of Fiestas Patrias. "Instead of one day of celebration (like July 4th in the U.S.), they celebrate for an entire week and have been preparing since the first of September." The celebration includes a national dance and lots of food and drink.
Lauren will end her teaching term in December and then travel to Machu Picchu, the Patagonia in Argentina, and possibly even Brazil.