| I get to enjoy this view while
walking to school everyday
Depending on the day, I either walk or take one of the three main public transportations in Viña Del Mar to school.
First the MICRO (bus)
Buses here are convenient once you know the routes. Each bus has names of cities and roads that they are going to. They only cost 400- 600 Chilean pesos ( 60-80 cents).
Colectivos is also very common. They look like regular taxis but have signs with numbers at the top with the places they are going to. It is very similar to the bus system. Usually, you look at the numbers, which tell you the direction colectivo is heading in. They are similar prices as the buses and are part of the common transportation method in Vina Del Mar.
The Metro is relatively new to Viña del Mar and contains one of the most stunning views of the ocean. You need a metro card to ride it and tickets are fairly cheap.
|Valparaiso (from the Metro)|
Because I live up on the hill, I also have an option of taking an elevator-train called funicular. (It's super fun and you get to enjoy a stunning view of the city during the ride.)
|Funicular (elevator train)|
All of my classes here in Viña Del Mar have been at the international school. It is a former house of one of the members from a legendary Chilean band called Los Jaives (equivalent to Beatles in Chile). It's now solely for us international students and provides a nice break from Chile.
|Chilean Beatles: Los Jaivas|
|Main entrance of the university's International center|
|Cultural melting pot|
Classes are designed small so that you can always have meaningful discussions with your professors and other students. You are also in a class with students from all over the world, such as Germany, Austria, Sweden, Korea, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, etc. We all have different perspectives; every class discussion provides enriching experiences from sharing and seeing other cultures' perspectives. You learn something completely new. Professors here are very attentive to your needs and extremely helpful in guiding you to understanding the differences you experience as a foreigner in Chile. If your Spanish skills are good enough, you are able to take classes with the local students. However, it is easy to meet locals because Chileans are extremely friendly.
Why do I love studying abroad? Not only do I get to experience Chilea, but I also get to experience the world from fellow international students. This experience allowed me to see how unique our world is.
Alex Chung is the Fall 2014 CEA Mojo in Viña del Mar, Chile. He is currently a senior at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
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