Monday, June 6, 2011
Greetings from South America!
¡Hola! It has been quite a nice trip so far down here in Chile. The total time of traveling 23 hours straight was definitely worth it! Here are a few things I have learned so far while traveling in South America.
1- Don't be late to the bus that leaves at 4:15 a.m. because you will never hear the end of it for the next 32 days.
2- Security at the SLC airport is very ornery so don't get offended if they pat you down.
3- The food at LAX is expensive so bring food in your carry-on or just sneakily get food from your fellow classmates who did bring food in their carry-ons.
4- The realization of a 13-hour plane ride doesn't hit you until you are 2 hours in and ready to get off.
5- When you haven't eaten very much all day, you will eat ANYTHING and it tastes amazing.
6- You might just have a falling-out with the friend sitting next to you, but don't take offense - they are just tired too.
7- Be careful who you follow around the city because some people know what they are doing and some people just act like it.
We are currently staying in the city of Vina Del Mar which is located about 1 1/2 hours away from Santiago and right on the ocean. Yesterday we went to Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso which is the 4th oldest university in Chile. We went to the Agricultural college campus (their campuses are located in different areas in the region) where we had two professors speak to us about the Chilean university and the agriculture systems.
It was interesting to see how their system of education is structured. An aspect of their system that is different from the U.S.'s is that once they choose a major to study, they must stick with that major for the rest of their education. It is very rare to be able to switch majors so most students drop out. Can you imagine that happening at USU when almost everyone is changing their majors every week?
Another interesting aspect of yesterday's visit is that the students of the Catholic University were currently protesting the higher education system, causing the majority of their college campuses to close. The students wanted stronger public universities and greater regulation on the profits of the higher education institutions. (Click here to read more.)
After listening to the professors, we were able to take a tour of a food packing plant which used to be owned by the Catholic University. Yesterday pant workers were processing lemons (it smelled wonderful!). The plant manager told us that they have workers quickly scan through to see if they have any bruised, scarred or off-color lemons which they remove (see picture on the left). The lemons then go through another sorting through a machine for color, size and shape. The "perfect" looking lemons then get shipped to foreign countries while the "rejects" are sold in Chile. They do this because Chileans typically care more about the price than the appearance of what they buy. Foreigners, on the other hand, often make their purchase decisions based more upon the appearance. It was interesting to see how even though two different-looking lemons taste the same, many of us are willing to pay more for the better-looking one.
Well I'm excited to see what the rest of the trip brings! Adios!
(Kathryn Grover is a student in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. She is currently with the school in South America for the South America Summer Study Abroad Program.)