Santiago provides elegant backdrop for new Latin America program

By Kim Chaudoin on 7/26/2013

  
  

The Mapocho River lined by lush parks, the Andes Mountains, 19th century neoclassical architecture and winding side streets provided a unique classroom for 24 Lipscomb students this past spring who were studying in Santiago, Chile, as part of the university’s Lipscomb in Latin America program. This spring marked the first full cohort to complete the newest study abroad offering.

Santiago 1
Lipscomb students with Yali (host mom)
Santiago 2
Daniel Hutchison with ice from Glacier Grey in Patagonia.
Santiago 3
Pedro Matta sharing with the group at Villa Grimaldi's wall of memory.
Santiago 4
Santiago 2013 group outside La Moneda, the presidential palace.
Santiago 5
Three Lipscomb students prepare to run the Santiago half marathon.

This spring’s curriculum included courses inspired by Chile’s history, culture and environment. The university partnered with Universidad Alberto Hurtado for language courses, academic space and experiential learning events. Students also explored the region and traveled to a variety of locations including Patagonia and Easter Island.

In addition, the group had the opportunity to spend the day with human rights activist Pedro Matta, who was held at two torture centers and imprisoned for more than 13 months following the overthrow of then-Chilean president Salvador Allende. Matta and the students visited the remains of the notorious torture center Villa Grimadli and Cementerio General, one of the largest cemeteries in Latin America.

“The courses offered as part of this program were inspired by the country’s history, culture and environment,” said Linda Zelnik, Lipscomb in Latin America program director. “I've been blessed to see and help this program grow from an idea into reality over the last few years. It has grown in many meaningful ways: our understanding and engagement with the city, her people and culture; partnerships with wonderful people; and the number of students who have gone, learned and enjoyed. Chile is much lesser known than Europe, but it has a rich, welcoming story, beautiful landscape, delicious food and most importantly, lovely people.”

Students developed relationships with the people of Santiago as they participated in intramural sports with UAH students, had tea in the homes of their Chilean hosts, volunteered with local organizations, joined home Bible studies and shadowed professionals to learn more about their careers.

“Studying abroad in Santiago was the best decision I have ever made; I now realize just how limitless my future options are as God has opened my eyes to a world outside of my own culture, comfort, and convenience,” Daniel Hutchison, a junior molecular biology major.

Rachel Craddock, also a junior, said she came to love the people of Chile because of the relationship she built with a native named Yali.

“She is funny, she is sweet, and she is the epitome of the hospitable, family-oriented Chilean culture that I came to love while we were there and am determined to incorporate (at home),” said Craddock. “We went to her house just about every week to learn about Chile’s rich culture and to realize that everyone isn’t so different after all.”

The Lipscomb in Latin America program will return to Santiago spring semester 2014. Zelnik said a few spots remain for that cohort. Applications are already being accepted for the spring 2015 program.

For more information, visit www.lipscomb.edu/globallearning or contact Zelnik at globallearning@lipscomb.edu.