Walking, Walking, Walking…

Oh what a day! Coming from a country that uses cars as their primary mode of transportation, it was definitely a hard transition to walk to most of our destinations today. The theme of the day today was learning about the history and lifestyle of Chile. We started our historical journey with a subway ride to La Moneda Palace (the president’s palace).


Picture of the President’s Palace

Unfortunately during our tour, the President was not working at the time, so we were not able to see her; however, our tour guide taught gave us a great tour and taught us about the unique Chilean past. While the president does not live inside today, it used to house the president as well as provide them with the ability to work on their governmental duties. As we toured some of the rooms inside the palace, we noticed that cooper was a common element used in many of their artwork and framework. Our tour guide mentioned that copper is so prominent in the palace because it is Chile’s largest export. Another common property was the Chilean flag seen below. The white represents snow, the blue represents the sky and ocean, and the red represents the blood of military men who fought for their freedom. The star in the corner represents the freedom and democracy of the country. Whenever the president is using the flag, the coat of arms is put in the middle to show respect.


The Chilean flag

During the second half of our day, we took a walking tour of the city, so that we could understand and grasp the lifestyle. Although there are many lifestyle characteristics that we saw today, we are choosing to focus on a few of the most noteworthy observations. The walking tour took us to three different markets that included fresh fruits, vegetables and meat for the locals. While visiting these markets, many of us got to try some of the unique food that was available to us.


Claire eating a vegetable unique to Chile

The foods were marked at a cheaper price than what you would find at a supermarket (grocery) store, which is a great draw for some of the locals. These markets are in very tight buildings with little to no sanitation but are crowded with consumers. I was fascinated to see this type of lifestyle experience, however, many of us were called out by the locals for looking like Americans.


During our walking tour, we were also greeted by many animals, specifically dogs, cats, and one rat. We were told that it is common to see a lot of stray dogs and cats roam the streets of Santiago because many families just want the anima when they are puppies and get rid of them when they get older. Since many of our class are animal lovers, it was hard to watch the poor little animals search for food, water, shelter, and for someone to give them some love.


One example of a stray dog

As I end this blog, I want to leave you with the picture below. During the last stretch of our walk, I noticed this artwork stating, men equal women. For some reason, this really hit me because Chile has a stereotypical masculine society. To see this picture means that there is change in the air and someone is trying to make a difference. Having a female president for the first time in their country’s history is also recognizing a historic change coming to this country.


Equality wins!

Adios y hasta luego!


We Have Arrived.

After chatting with fellow passengers and falling in and out of sleep, we have arrived in Santiago! Even though our class knew that we were leaving Des Moines for much better weather, we were each pleasantly surprised to feel the sun as we stepped outside of the airport. Walking into a Chilean summer is one of the greatest welcomes you can hope for (especially when you know there is snow on the ground back home). However, the best welcome to Chile came from our two tour guides with International Studies Abroad (ISA).

There are many notable differences between Chile and the United States. Santiago is filled not only with sounds of a typical city (like car horns), but is abundant with conversations in Spanish. Making our way through the city with a limited knowledge of the language may become a challenge. Therefore, it will be incredibly helpful to have two native Chileans help our group become more comfortable speaking Spanish.

Another sound not commonly heard in the streets of Des Moines is live music. After a long day of travel and settling into the city, the entire class retreated to their respective hotel rooms to sleep for the night. We were welcomed to the distant sounds of a mariachi band, and were able to get a view from our balcony attached to our room. The mariachi music was full of life, strong trumpet undertones that are true to the unique Chilean culture. Below is a picture we snagged that includes the view from our hotel.


But the mariachi band isn’t the only distinctive thing we saw today. Wrapping the city of Santiago is a giant range of mountains. The Andes Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the world, and Santiago sits at the heart of this range. Flying into Santiago, we were able to capture a picture from a bird’s eye view.


But even when you are standing in the city itself, you can see the peaks in the distance, as shown in the picture below.


In addition to geographical differences from Des Moines, Chile is home to a different type of branding and marketing. As in the United States, advertisements for a number of products follow you with each step. The advertisement pictured below is for Palmers, a brand that sells underwear for men and women. Palmers is an international underwear brand that, as evidenced by the billboard, has an established and growing market in Chile. This advertisement depicts a beautiful man and woman in a scene similar to high-end fashion advertisements we may see in Des Moines. However, the brand is unique to Chile and not something we find every day in America.12494346_10207311983512182_1830517541_o.jpg

Chile is a unique country with a number of identifying characteristics. As we fall asleep to the sounds of mariachi, nestled in the heart of the Andes, it is clear that we are not in Des Moines any more.

Adios, América

The week before going abroad is similar, in many ways, to the week before Christmas. There are so many lists to make and things to do, but the anticipation drives you. You have more energy than an elf in May after drinking the a few of world’s greatest cups of coffee, all because you know what’s to come will be a joyous, amazing, miraculous adventure.

If you can turn back the clock a few weeks, and try on the shoes of your pre-Christmas-self, you’ll understand perhaps half of what we’re feeling. In three short days, we’re embarking on the trip of a lifetime – we’re boarding a Santiago-bound plane, to spend the next few weeks immersing ourselves in the Chilean culture.

Whilst abroad, we’ll learn about some of the reasons corporations are interested in Chile, from advertising, journalism, and business standpoints. Through a partnership with the Universidad de los Andes, our group will work on special projects with businesses like Principal Financial Group, Santa Rita Vineyard, and the Santiago Stock Exchange and Treasury.

How exciting is this for us, you ask? Let me refer you back to the original analogy, but multiply that by a few million and then add the vigor and child-like reverie of a six-year-old to the equation. That’s us.

But wait – we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Before you join us on our travels by way of the blogosphere, allow us to introduce ourselves:

Meet Molly!

Hola, mis amigos! I’m Molly; I’m a magazine journalism and 430522_518497118179058_586880498_ncreative writing dual major at Drake, with an affinity for storytelling, travel, biographies, and tea. I’ve had the opportunity to explore some pretty wonderful corners of the world through internship and study abroad opportunities in London and L.A., with side trips to countries like Ireland, Amsterdam, Belgium, France, Spain, Greece, Mexico, and Hungary. I’m looking forward to learning more about the corporate culture in a new, unique country. I can’t wait to broaden my view of the world, try new things, make more memories, and meet new, interesting people – all while escaping winter and getting a tan. Thanks so much for reading!

Meet Claire!

Hey there! My name is Claire, and I amwww.antillanafoto.com-99 a junior at Drake University studying accounting and finance. Incorporating the opportunity to study abroad during college is important to me, because I truly believe in the value of learning about other people, places, and cultures. I studied in Turkey during the 2015 January Term, and gained incredible insight on Turkish culture and the country’s major religion, Islam. This year, I am excited to immerse myself in Chilean culture over the next couple weeks. I am looking forward to learning about the way of life in another country. Additionally, I am interested in learning more about the way businesses operate outside of the United States. My passion for finance and economics is crucial to my major at Drake, and I cannot wait to learn about the similarities and differences in Santiago’s global market. I hope to apply the cultural knowledge I gain in Chile to my understanding of the world. Likewise, I intend to apply the business knowledge I gain to my studies at Drake and to future professional opportunities after college.

Meet Tommy!

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Hello all, my name is Tommy and I am currently a Senior studying Accounting/Marketing at Drake University. This is my first time traveling to South America, so I am so excited to learn about and experience the unique culture in Chile. International studies seems to be a huge factor in business related endeavors within the past decade or so, which is why I believe it is so important for business majors to experience international societies. Through this study abroad experience, I hope to understand the business culture in Chile so that I may become more aware of differences within international business affairs when preparing for my career in the future. I am so excited to immerse myself in the Chilean culture with my classmates for the next few weeks and be able to gain life experiences as well as many incredible memories.