Chile Breifing 101

Alzar School | 06.02.19

This week, when walking into the Confluence Building you are greeted by the following whiteboard message, “COUNTDOWN TO CHILE _____ Days!!!” As the number in the blank space gets smaller as we move towards Sunday the 10th,  the excitement that is running through students and staff is palpable. To say the least, we are ready to head down south!

While many of our students have done their fair share of traveling, spending six weeks abroad with peers and teachers is new for everyone. In order to prepare students for the experience of traveling to, living in, exploring, and enjoying our second home in Chile, residential life staff, Kaela Frank, facilitated the first of two Chile briefings this past weekend. Below you can find an overview of the briefing:

Packing for Chile

We have all been there – the trip to a warm place where we pack two suitcases and end up wearing three items during our entire two-week stay. As instructors, we encourage and coach students on packing light, and keeping it simple when traveling. During their briefing students are given tips and tricks of packing, a detailed packing list, and an overall understanding of what our “duffel shuffle” while abroad will look like.

Packing for Chile is a delicate balance of cramming, folding and scrunching.

Traveling to Chile

We depart Cascade early on Sunday the 10th, traveling in two different groups until we reach Santiago, Chile. From Santiago we’ll fly as a large group farther south to Balmaceda, a small southern airport 30 minutes outside of our base in Coyhaique. Students can expect to be in “travel mode” for approximately 36 hrs between planes, buses, airport layovers, and the four hour time change between Chile and Idaho.

Living in Chile

When in Coyhaique, all of our Alzar community will be living in cabañas on a single piece of property. Students will be living in same-gendered cabañas with different peers than they currently share yurts with. There will be 4-8 students per cabaña, depending on size. Teaching Fellows will live alongside students in the student-cabañas and help students learn the new routines of classes, and cooking breakfast and lunches on their own. All other staff will reside in staff housing that is adjacent to student cabañas. Academic classes are to be held in student cabañas.

Activities in Chile

For their activity periods, students will be on the water, hiking, or doing a variety of cultural activities throughout town. Activity sessions vary depending on instructors and resources, but are always filled with beautiful landscapes, cultural immersion, and opportunities to practice speaking Spanish.

Part one of our Chile briefing aims to answer many of the questions swimming in students minds, as well as get everyone excited and thinking about the big trip ahead of us. While many questions will undoubtedly arise throughout the week, staff will be there, ready to answer questions, settle anxieties, and to help fit the one last hiking boot in an already overflowing drybag.