Global Engagement Experience
Chile Spring 2024

Day 2

Sunday, March 3rd, 2024

Image 1Image 2 On a sunny Sunday morning, we all gathered in the lobby of our hotel room, ready to explore the city! Our first stop was the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, which was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel. On the way, we saw a unique weekly tradition specific to people from in and around the Providencia area: CicloRecreoVía. This occurs every Sunday or on Public Holidays; certain roads are blocked off from vehicular traffic and people are encouraged to bicycle, walk, or jog, promoting physical activity, community engagement, and a car-free environment in urban areas. This sense of community is something I noticed was especially prevalent in Chile.

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We got to take a cable car all the way up to the top of the hill, while soaking in gorgeous views of the Andes Mountains, Coastal Mountains, and the tallest building in South America. At the top, we got to see a beautiful statue of Virgin Mary, and take pictures of the view looking down at the entire city of Santiago.

Image 7 Something I was keen on trying at the top of the hill was a drink called Mote Con Huesillos, which is a traditional Chilean drink that tasted much like peach iced-tea. It had an actual peach in it, and small bits of soaked corn at the bottom which added a unique texture to the drink. I even got to test my 12 years of Spanish by trying to order the drink by myself, and was rather impressed with myself! I made it a point to text my old Spanish teacher right after that to tell her that my years of Spanish classes finally paid off. Something I tried to do increasingly in Chile was express my gratitude to the people who deserved it, inspired by the sense of community and closeness I felt between people in Santiago so far.

Image 8Image 9Image 10 We then took a funicular back down the hill to explore more of the city. As we made it closer to downtown Santiago, I was in awe of the colorful landscapes of Bellavista and the lively energy of the place. I was trying to be intentional about noticing small things like the colors used in Santiago and the way people interacted, because I knew that those details would be important later in the week for our design challenge. I think that observative mindset is something I developed much more this week since I had to be more aware of my surroundings and the way things worked if I was going to engineer a viable product for such an environment.

Image 11Image 12 As a STEM student, I often ignore more artistic or humanitarian subjects, history being one of them. But this day in particular we immersed ourselves into the history of Chile by visiting places like La Moneda (the presidential palace) and learning about how the dictatorship period in Chile affected people.

Image 13 Something we were told a lot was the importance of meals and how lunch time was less of a time to eat and more of a time to connect with people and have meaningful interactions. So aside from the amazing food, we made it a point to talk to each other and have a good time! Following lunch, we went to a museum: El Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos to learn a bit more about the history of Chile and Santiago in particular. We took meticulous notes, not just in fear that we would be tested about it later, but so we could retain that information and apply it where necessary– be it in our projects or future discussions we would have with people we would meet in Chile.

Image 14 Image 15 The museum was beautiful, and we left feeling a deep sense of respect for the people who lost their lives and those who had to leave their country in the fight against the dictatorship and a sense of motivation, knowing about the hardships behind the citizens’ victory.