I’m going to Chile on the 23rd of January.
I’ve wanted to study abroad since I was in second grade. Well, that might be a lie because when I was in second grade I doubt I knew that there was such a thing as study abroad. But, in second grade I did a report on the Incan empire. Based in Cuzco, Peru, the Incan’s empire stretched from what is now Ecuador to the middle of Chile. The Incans reigned as the largest empire of the pre-Colombian era until the Spanish invasion at the end of the 1500s. I’ve wanted to see their city since I did the report. In high school I had a fantastic Spanish class that focused on both the language and the culture, and drove me to continue my studies of the place into college.
I’m endlessly fascinated by culture and literature. And I was endlessly intrigued by a culture I thought so different from my own. I fell in love with my perception of Latin America.
But, since being in college and actually visiting Ecuador last summer, I’ve realized that the culture as a whole is more diverse and complex then I had initially realized. I wouldn’t say I’m in love with Latin America. That’s too broad. I’m more in love with learning about Latin America. It’s something so close and so familiar that we know so little about. Something so unique that the US has made so narrow by our rhetoric and media. Even by calling it “Latin America” we narrow our vision of 20 incredibly diverse countries into a single category with a Euro-centric filter.
So then what is this place? I don’t think I can answer that in seven short months from the vantage point of a single country. However, I can write about my experiences and my vision of the culture and people I encounter. Hopefully it will help me understand this place that so holds my fascination.