|Knoxville junior's internship takes him to Santiago, Chile
RELEASED: June 30, 2005
DANVILLE, KYWhen Centre College students return to campus from their summer vacations, jobs and internships, few will have traveled as far as junior Adam Allen, who is in the midst of an internship with Latin Immersion, a Spanish immersion school in Santiago, Chile.
After three weeks of study at the school, the double major in Spanish and international studies from Knoxville, Tenn., will spend the rest of the summer researching market interests for Latin Immersion and communicating with prospective students in Portugal, Denmark, Thailand and Korea, as well as the United States. He will also be designing advertisements for the Latin Immersion Web site and a local magazine in Santiago to help recruit students.
Allen is living with a Chilean family during his stay in La Region Metropolitana in Barrio Providencia, in the shadow of the Andes Mountains. "My host family has opened their arms to me in a way that I've never experienced," Allen says.
Allen is also embracing the Chilean way of life.
"The culture excites me," he says. "For example, the meals here are not [just] for eating. They are for enjoying while you sit down to talk. There's no rush like there is in the States. Meals last for hours and people listen, turn off cell phones, and always ask if they can help with something."
Allen became interested in Latin America while studying abroad with a Centre group last fall in Mexico and admits that understanding the language was one of the most difficult aspects of his internship.
"Mexico was an eye-opening experience that made it clear that travel outside of our borders is necessary and beneficial to our own culture," he says. "Having said that, maybe I was a little too confident in my ability to speak Spanish, because I had not even the slightest notion of what was going on when I stepped off of the plane in cloudy Santiago. The language barrier had once again reared its ugly head."
Allen says that living and working in a Spanish-only environment is helping his language skills immeasurably, and mastering the language and diving into Chilean culture are important because he feels that Latin America has so much to offer North America.
"It's a place that offers beauty in every corner, and the people welcome you as if you're family," he says.
He's also learning about some aspects of Chile that be believes could be useful in the United States.
In addition to his studies, Allen finds time to do volunteer work for Nuestra Casa, a group specializing in the rehabilitation and relocation of the homeless in Santiago. And, of course, he has traveled a great deal inside Chile. He has explored Viña del Mar and Valparaíso on the Pacific coast, as well as Pucón in southern Chile. Before the summer is over, he also plans to visit Punta Arenas in La Región Antártica to see El Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, and the desert with the least rainfall in the world, San Pedro de Atacama.
After graduatation, Allen aspires to join the Peace Corps in Brazil or Costa Rica.
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