Two Weeks Abroad: What I’ve Learned

I have now been in Chile for about two weeks, and have already learned more than I thought possible. I have learned my way around the local community, and even got to take a weekend trip to the Chilean coast!

From prior solo trips, I learned that being confident and comfortable from the moment you land goes a long way! Asking questions and bringing your best to everything you do is the best way to get a strong start in a new community.

On my first full day in Chile (the 3rd of June), I was asked to go to a local zumba class. I accepted without second thought, knowing that the best way to adjust to the rush of feelings and overwhelm that I was experiencing would be to meet more people and learn my way around. Plus, dancing was a great way to start the trip off after flying for 23 hours! I met many new people, and the feelings of overwhelm started to lessen.

I had a full weekend before starting my work at the local school, which was great for getting accustomed to a new schedule. When I started my work on Monday, I felt prepared and ready to take on more change. I’ve learned that it’s important to plan ahead as much as possible, to make transitions less stressful. When you already have a lot of change, it’s better to make sure that you give yourself time to slowly adjust.

In the case of traveling to another country, the language adjustment adds a new dimension. During the first few days of my work at the school, I was taking naps for two or three hours when I returned for the day. I could feel my mind getting a workout from switching between English and Spanish so often. I no longer feel as mentally exhausted now that I am starting my second week helping in the classroom.

Maintaining my vegan diet has been easier than I initially thought, though there have been times when I have accidentally consumed something with dairy. Learning how to re-adjust my diet has posed some challenges, but I have to say the fruit and veggies here are the best that I have ever had. Maintaining an exercise regimen has also posed challenges, but I have a few tips that I will be sharing with you soon! (Very soon!) 🙂

Two weeks in, it’s easy for me to forget that I am just visiting for a short time. The community here is wonderful, and it has been more than I could have ever asked for. This past weekend I was able to travel to the coast (something that I wasn’t sure I would get the opportunity to do!) and it was one of the best weekends that I have had in a long time!

I did a small vlog of the trip to show you all the amazing places that I went, because it was simply too stunning not to film! I hope you enjoy it!

What have you learned from your travels (or from living) abroad? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

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