Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bryant Spanish faculty member, Profe Heather Moon, writes about her travels to Argentina and Chile this summer

This past August I had the opportunity to travel to Mendoza, Argentina and Viña del Mar, Chile representing the Office of Study Abroad and the Department of Modern Languages at Bryant.

Viña del Mar
In Viña del Mar I visited with Bryant students who are currently studying at the Universidad Adolf Ibañez as part of the International Business customized study abroad program, in partnership with the study abroad provider API. It was a wonderful experience to see many of my former students (and several that I met for the first time!), now living and working in Chile. All the students are living with host families, taking classes at UAI and interning at local businesses, where they are able to use their Spanish language skills and to gain valuable business and cultural knowledge.
Bryant students and Profe Moon outside the Museo Fonck in Viña del Mar  
I impressed to see...and much they have learned in their time abroad. At the time of my visit, the students had only been in Chile for a month and already I could hear them speaking better Spanish, and understanding the language and culture around them. I can only imagine how much more they will improve before the return to Bryant at the end of this semester!

We all went out to dinner, with the students choosing an authentic Chilean restaurant with absolutely delicious food for our meal.

Patel de Choclo

I also toured the university UAI, the cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, and visited one of the local companies where a Bryant student is interning. While only there for 3 days, I left with a wonderful impression of the program and the area. The views of the bay, and the twin cities with their wonderful contrasts, the beach just steps away all made it quite clear by this area is one of the major tourist destinations in Chile.
Profe Moon in Viña

The hillside houses of Valparaiso

The view of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso from UAI

I also visited Mendoza, Argentina to evaluate whether or not that city would be a good place for Bryant students to study. Yes, it definitely is! Nestled alongside the Andes, Mendoza is a small, very friendly city in the heart of the Argentine wine country.

Sunset in Mendoza, with the Andes in the distance.

API runs a wonderful program there, and I was able to visit the Universidad de Congreso and several businesses where students could intern, including Bodega Cecchin and the media company Medios Uno, which houses print, digital, television and radio media all in one location. While entirely different companies and industries, both locations would provide Bryant students with high quality internships.
Bodega Cecchin

We ate lunch at Bodega Cecchin, which included some delicious empenadas

During our visit to Medios Uno, we were interviewed about the collaboration between Universidad de Congreso, API, and Bryant for an article that came out in their newspaper, Diaro Uno, which you can read here. (None of us were expecting to be interviewed as we thought we were just visiting the media company....guess we should have known that good reporters can't resist finding a good news story!)
Plaza Independencia on a Sunday afternoon

When I wasn't working, I had the opportunity to be a tourist in Mendoza and to observe a bit of the culture. From having a coffee and people watching at a sidewalk cafe or walking through the many city parks, and enjoying the culinary richness the city had to offer, I had a wonderful time!

Coffee, a necessity when traveling.
The Italian influences on Argentine cuisine are plentiful, from gelato to pizza to pasta.

When my study abroad visits were done, I spent 24 hours in Santiago, Chile. While not nearly enough time to truly get to know the city, I stayed in the Bella Vista area and made the most of my time by visiting one of Pablo Neruda's three Chilean homes, La Chascona, Cerro San Cristobal with its amazing views of the city, and visiting the many local shops and restaurants. I also took a 3 hour walk early Sunday morning through the Parque Forestral (along with half of Santiago who were out for a morning run), up to the top of Cerro Santa Lucia, and to many of the historical buildings of Santiago, including La Monda and Plaza de Armas. And of course, there was plenty of time for food and coffee.

La Chascona

Gran Torre Santiago with the Andes in the background

Early Sunday morning, taken from Cerro Santa Lucia

How Chilean....a bit of avocado on my morning toast (along with the required coffee)!

Palacio La Moneda, the Presidential residence

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