Chile | Spaces for Reflection, Healing, and Education


Nov 23, 2018

Throughout Santiago you can find spaces for reflection, healing, and education. These spaces provide resources for occupational training, information on human rights and legal policies, as well as opportunities to organize and build solidarity. Organizations such as ​INFOCAP: Instituto de Formacion y Capacitacion Popular: La Universidad del Trabajador ​work vigorously to tackle the alleviation of poverty in Chile. INFOCAP in particular focuses on providing classes and training in a variety of occupations to people with the highest need in the low income communities of Santiago. There is also a beautiful space with peacocks, rabbits, chickens, and other animals where people can sit, relax, work, and take a breathe outside of the concrete jungle.

Chile is also known for its street art which can be found in Valparaiso, the South, and in the bustling capital streets of Santiago. One of many examples is the Cultural Arts Center, GAM. It is a free space that has a variety of different artifacts, art exhibits, and spaces to sit. Their book store was also quite nice.

I think it is important that there are free spaces available for people to engage with art, books, and education. Art makes space for expression, healing, and reflection. It can be a form of education that brings people together and challenges us to engage with trauma, politics, and other subjects that we may not always be as receptive to in everyday conversation.

Other things that are important to acknowledge when considering human rights and social organizing in Chile and many regions of South America, is the history of dictatorship and state terrorism. People lived in fear and repression for decades with little to no opportunity to express themselves or speak out against the military or anyone in power. Today, there continues to be a complicated relationship between the people, politics, and police. People are still sprayed with water and the streets can be filled with tear gas as people unite against the injustice that is taking place on a national and international level. The land, water, and other natural resources are being stolen from the people of Chile by Transnational Corporations, primarily ran by the United States. This particularly hurts the Mapuche people living in the North and the South. There is a global trend of violence and exclusion against indigenous people and other people of color. After learning a bit of the history of Argentina and Chile I hope to continue to expand my knowledge in this subject, Spanish, international relations, and a variety of histories and socioeconomic research.

Education, whether through art, school, or experiences, provides opportunities to grow and shed light on possibilities and realities that are beyond us. It gives us a gateway to explore and question. Education leads to better understanding and through better understanding we find compassion. Art and activism give people a feeling of purpose and hope. What is happening throughout the world is difficult to comprehend and we may not always find the best solutions. Yet, the consistent desire to be better as an individual, as a people, and as a world gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the problems at hand and work towards cultivating a world filled with peace, love, equity, and freedom.

Chile | Day Trips to Valparaiso and Reñaca


November 15, 2018

I spent a day trip going to Valparaiso and Reñaca, which are two towns North of Santiago. In Valparaiso, we walked through the streets looking at the street art strewn about every alley, wall, and window pane. The color and precision amazed me. I have so much admiration for those who do this kind of work, because it takes so much practice, confidence, and skill. An amazing thing about art is everyone interprets it differently and everyone notices different things. The art on these homes and stores is different than going to a museum or any other visual art, because it is everywhere in this little town and it is so easy to miss something that could have been small, but powerful. Everywhere around you is a canvas. Most of the art had a lot of symbolism that varied in genre. There was a lot of political symbology critiquing gender, labor, education, and class relations, as well as a lot of advocacy and recognition of the indigenous people who once ruled this land.

In Reñaca, I was met with a relaxing time at the beach and a spectacular sunset. It would be my first and last time at a beach in South America, because there wasn’t any in Buenos Aires and the closest one to Santiago is Viña del Mar, around two hours away. The sandy beach was warm and the waves were cool. We ate gelato and enjoyed once with the family of a friend who I went with. Once is a meal that is very popular in Chile. There is a small breakfast consisting of tea, bread, fruit, and occasionally eggs. The lunch is relatively large, around 2:00pm. Instead of dinner, may people have what is called once. Which often consists of bread, avocado spread, egg scrambles, ham, cheese, tea, coffee, and other little finger foods. I must admit that I did not have much variety in my diet during my time in Chile, but that the woman I lived with in Argentina was better at diversifying our meal plan.

It was a beautiful day trip spent exploring a variety of different sceneries. I enjoyed taking public transportation and walk along the busy avenues. The buses in Valpo were also very special, because they were colorful and played music. It was overall such a warm, light experience that had me rekindle my love for murals and street art in ways that I had forgotten. It gave me time to step out of the streets of Santiago and school and focus on what’s really important to me: art, activism, and nature.

Argentina | A Wonder of the World


Oct 16, 2018

I spent a weekend in Uruguay exploring the small town of Colonia. It was a much needed break from the bustling streets of Buenos Aires and reminded me of the simple things I appreciate in life. The best way to get to Uruguay is on a ferry, which takes less than two hours to get there, and is really affordable considering you are going to another country. Many people in my program only went for the day, but my friend and I chose to stay the night there and I am very glad we did. The second day was the funnest for me, because our Air BnB host showed us around the streets of Colonia and introduced us to some great new friends and connections that we would not have met if we did not have such great help from him.

Colonia is a small, boat town with a good vibe, overpriced food, and an opportunity to sit by the water and lose track of time. The street art in South America is beautiful and very popular overall, often it speaks politically or socially to issues regarding the country/ community. I had a great time & definitely recommend as a weekend getaway to anyone looking for some mid-evil, small town architecture and fun!

Oct 20, 2018

I also spent a life changing weekend in Iguazu Falls where I encountered one of the seven wonders of the world. It truly was indescribably wonderful. Las cataratas (waterfalls) cover a portion of the border between Brazil & Argentina and cover the lands of the national park on both sides. The experience was indescribable, so I am just going to post some photos here and leave it at that. If you ever have the opportunity to go, DO IT!

Argentina | From a Rough Start to a Hopeful Beginning



Pre-departure paranoia. Excited for what is to come, but anxious to know what that will really look like. It seems there is so much to do in preparation for such a long time gone.. Am I forgetting anything? I cannot wait for the adventure that lies ahead, but I know that I must be thoughtful in packing lightly and doing everything I can ahead of time to have the best transition.


As I approach closer to departure day a wide range of emotions flood over me. I am excited, nervous, anxious, curious, and somewhat in awe.


My good friend and mother saying goodbye at the airport in SFO!

I turned twenty today! I decided to make what was meant to be two posts into one, because the first one “Pre-departure paranoia” was too short. It has been a very long last seventy-six hours. After a heart felt goodbye to my grandparents, mother, and boyfriend, I left SFO airport on Thursday at noon and landed in Newark 8:30. With less than an hour layover and a previously delayed flight, I was rushing to make it to my next gate. Of course, the gate on my boardingpass was not the gate I was actually departing from (it had been changed suddenly). Once I realized that I was standing at the gate for b-b-Barcelona, rather than b-b-Buenos Aires, I knew I was in big trouble. Sure enough- I had missed my flight, the only flight that goes to Buenos Aires once a day. Fortunately, one of my closest friends at UCLA is from New York and I was able to meet him in New Jersey to stay the night and morning with him at his beautiful vacation home. His family treated me like I was one of them and words cannot express how grateful I am to have had them at such a great time of need.

Every Lyft driver I met on the East Coast was super nice and one even gave me a few gifs for the road!

My flight was long, but I was able to meet two new friends, a couple native to Buenos Aires who agreed to show me around the city sometime. Despite all of the hardships, I have been coming away with so much patience and wisdom as a result. It also has made me realize how little you need as long as you have yourself and good people in your circle.

I wish I could say that I was feeling great right now and that everything is going so smoothly, but that is not the case. I am still waiting for my luggage which was left in Newark, my WiFi will not turn on AT ALL, my computer won’t charge, and literally- all of the basic, privileged, materialistic factors that make life comfortable and at ease are seeming to give me the hardest of times. Is that my lesson for the week? Let go of the material, take care of the physical and spiritual.. I do not need any material to define my experience. Stay calm, patient, openminded, optimistic, and thankful. I look forward. to writing in a few days when everything is more settled. For now, here are pictures of friends, family, and blessings.

August 27, 2018

Update: My first week in Argentina is officially over. I finally received my luggage with everything in it and have been slowly but surely getting myself organized. It has been amazing so far. The city is flowing with life and is filled with memories of Argentina’s rich past.

The feminist movement is stronger than ever as people gather throughout the streets demanding the legalization of abortion, workers rights, and other basic needs! Today was my first day of class at the Universidad Torquato di Tella. I skip to this point to add some context to why I chose this program in particular and how relevant it has been already in regards to the work I do. We discussed the foundation of human rights and what the world would be like without rights. What are rights and how do they differ from liberties? I chose this program in particular to delve into human rights and the cultural memory aspect of development, economics, and social justice. One of the beautiful things that I have fallen in love with in Buenos Aires already is how strong the LGBTQ+ community is here. Despite it’s size, the community is strong and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and find safe, queer spaces throughout the city.

There is a constant drive for change and demanding people’s rights. Although, many of the buildings consist of old, abandoned European architecture.. the people within Argentina refuse to be forgotten.

August 28, 2018

Two of my favorite adventures I have gone on with the program are to Estancia and San Telmo. San Telmo is where a ten block market filled with Argentinian tradition and tourist traps is located. San Telmo is considered to be the oldest barrio in Buenos Aires. In 1871, affluent thriving San Telmo was struck by Yellow Fever. Thousands of people died and those who were still alive believed that the disease was on everything that they touched, so the upperclass left to the North, leaving everything behind. People from all over moved into San Telmo over the next few decades, finding houses filled with jewelry, antiques, and chandeliers. Instead of keeping everything, they threw it out onto the streets to sell. Today, those same streets are filled with items and antiques of the like. As I was walking down the street, I was able to imagine and feel the people who once lived here, moving everything out onto the streets where some wealthy buyer would come and pick it up. You could feel the dynamics of social class and race between interactions both personal and interpersonal. Although, I had to leave early to pick up my luggage, the little time spent there was one for the books.

A few days later we took a trip to Estancia. At Estancia, I had the opportunity to ride bikes along the country side, practice archery for the first time, drink lots of mate, milk a cow, and ride a horse in the sunset. WOW, what a mouth full and what a full day! It was such an amazing experience and was probably the first day I spent not having to worry about anything, but having a good time. The food was amazing and all of the animals had so much room to roam. I have been making some great friends so far both from Argentina and the United States and am excited to continue sharing all the memories made! Hope you enjoy.

Peru | How I Ended Up in Peru


On the morning of our first day of class, everyone in our program met in the dining area of our hotel to enjoy breakfast together. I sat down to a breakfast of fresh fruit, mango juice, scrambled eggs, french toast, grilled sausage with vegetables, and a large cup of coffee. Our teaching assistants for the class met us in the lobby to show us the direction of the university. Brisk morning dew coated the streets as we made our 15-minute journey to the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, our new campus for the summer.

Our professors greeted us at the doors of the university before giving us an overview of the goals of their courses and the schedule for the next four weeks. Our first course would begin with an introduction to global health concepts, important themes of global health, a brief history of global health, and current strategies and actors in the field. The purpose of this course was to give us the context and language that would allow for a critical analysis of the global health interventions we would be seeing first-hand in Peru. The second course for the summer would focus on how diversity and disparities impact health in a global context. To create an in-depth and meaningful understanding of these topics, our group would also take visits to clinics in Lima and Iquitos. These excursions would allow us to apply what we learned in the classroom to the specific cases of health interventions in Peru.

While my professors explained their intentions for the class, I felt my excitement grow as I began to see how truly unique the opportunity before me was. I chose this program because I felt a need to see exactly what global health meant in action. Before my study abroad experience, I found that reading textbooks and learning about interventions in far-away places never satisfied my curiosity. I couldn’t ignore my desire to experience and see what I was learning about come to life in the real world. When I came across the Summer Travel Study Global Health Program, I immediately saw that this was my opportunity to gain unique and meaningful experiences in the field of global health. This was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

Upon my arrival in Lima, I found that Peru far exceeded my expectations. Lima is rich with color, art, music, dancing, incredible food, and extensive opportunities to learn about the history and culture of this incredible country. I realized that this program was much more than just learning about global health. I was learning about a new culture, discovering new perspectives, and experiencing sights unique to the neighborhoods I was surrounded by. All of this gave breath and depth to the academic terms and themes I was learning about. Global health began to take on a new meaning for me as I conceptualized what it means to bring healthcare to individuals on a global scale.

Mika Nagamoto studied abroad in Lima and Iquitos, Peru, in summer 2018:

Barbados | 10 Things I Learned While Studying Abroad


  1. The Golden Rule: No matter where you go, you will have a life changing experience.

I’ve lived in Germany, Ghana, and Barbados for extended periods of time. Three drastically different countries that speak different languages, are in different regions, and have completely different cultures. I’ve learned more about myself in the 6-12 months spent in each country than I had in years back in California. No experience is better or worse, they are all just different.

  1. Your food and people preferences will change.

Before leaving California, I was almost solely attracted to tall, lean Caucasian men (think baseball pitchers); however, now I find my preferences are all over the place. I also used to hate canned tuna, lettuce, black beans, plantains, and a wide variety of other foods that have now become a part of my daily diet.

  1. It’s possible to make a long-distance relationship work, but it can take away from your experiences.

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for the past four years. Three of the four years, we have been in a long-distance relationship (LDR). Fortunately for me (if you can call it “being fortunate”), I am already accustomed to not seeing him for months at a time so the biggest change for us has been living in different time zones; however, if LDR is new for you, be careful not to spend all your time locked in your room Facetiming/Skyping/Whatsapp-ing your better half. If it’s meant to be, it will work out in the end.

  1. You will learn what it means to be open-minded.

Even if you consider yourself to be open minded, this term will take on a whole new meaning. I find this to be if you live in a rural area on exchange, or in a third world country. People are different, food is different, daily life is different. And that’s just it, none of it is weird. It’s just different.

  1. Things that once seemed totally different to you have become completely normalized.

This has become a huge problem for me when telling stories about my traveling experiences. I might be telling a funny story about a bus ride I took, or a shopping experience, but I will make the mistake of mentioning an extraneous detail in passing (such as mentioning the monkeys who live in my neighborhood), and the listener will completely forget the point of my story and they will become completely fixated on the extraneous detail. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Angie: “As Rita and I passed the monkey who lives in the tree across the street from our house we…”


Angie: “Well, honestly, monkeys screech randomly all the time and often keep me up at night, but that really wasn’t what I was trying to tell you about…”

Listener: “But what are the monkeys like!? Do you pet them!?”

Angie: *sigh*

  1. You learn to be flexible.

In Ghana, we often didn’t have running water. We “solved” this problem by filling up buckets with water when it was running so that we would have a reserve supply. With our “bucket water” we could take “bucket showers,” flush the toilet, and even hand wash out clothes. It wasn’t ideal, but we made it work. We were being flexible.

  1. You learn to appreciate the little things.

When I came home from living in Germany, people would ask me, “Angie, what’s the biggest difference between California and Germany?” Obviously, the first thing that came to mind was that in Germany, people speak German. But before moving to Germany, I knew people would speak German so I mentally prepared myself for it. I wasn’t prepared for teenagers to talk about their sex lives over dinner with their parents. In Ghana, I wasn’t prepared for people to stop me on the street and ask me what my religious affiliation was and then be told why my beliefs are wrong. In Barbados, I wasn’t prepared to not be able to understand a single word spoken by some of my professors (even though they are technically speaking English). It’s all in the little things. The little things are the hardest to transition into because you cannot prepare for them, but they are also what makes your new country feel like home.

  1. The unofficial meaning of the term “third world country” is VERY subjective.

Formally a “third world country” is a country whose views are not aligned with NATO and capitalism. Informally the term “third world country” is used to describe developing nations, or as Urban Dictionary puts it “A country where McDonalds is not found.” The hashtag “#firstworldproblems” has become very common when people complain about things that are not “real” problems such as a barista putting the improper expresso shot amounts in a coffee drink. Before studying abroad in Ghana and Barbados, I incorrectly assumed that all countries with the label “third world” would be underdeveloped within similar levels. This is not the case at all. Even while living in the capital of Ghana, we frequently experienced no running water and rolling blackouts. While visiting Johannesburg, South Africa (another major city in a third world country), parts of the city made me feel like I was back in Los Angeles, whereas other parts made me feel like I was back in Ghana again. Barbados feels like I’m halfway in the U.S. in halfway in an undeveloped nation. I have drinkable tap water and electricity, but there are also very few sidewalks and at one point we got two flat tires from the same pot hole because the road infrastructure is so poor. There is so much variability when using the term “developing nation.”

  1. Some of the coolest people you meet will also be international students/travellers.

Have you ever heard the expression “birds of a feather flock together?” International students and travellers alike attract each other because they have core personality traits in common such as independence, flexibility, and a sense for adventure. Just try not to spend too much time with other travellers so that you have a chance to get to know the locals as well!

  1. Home is where your heart is, and my heart is in California, Germany, Ghana, and Barbados.

Angela Howard studied abroad in Cave Hill, Barbados, in Spring 2017:

Barbados | Eating Well

A common joke about living on a Caribbean island is that you learn to be a gourmet chef with very limited ingredients and spices (anything more than salt and pepper is fancy to me!). Food prices can be rather expensive due to the fact that all the food has to be imported. That being said, fresh vegetables (not frozen veggies, only fresh ones!) and fish lean more on the affordable side if you prepare them yourself. Even if the reason is strictly financially based, I’ve been regularly eating delicious and nutritious balanced meals for the first time in my college career!

However, it does get challenging when I walk the 20 minute walk down to the grocery store, only to see they are out of stock of their veggies. This is not me being picky. When I say “out of stock” I mean, they literally have no fresh produce on the premises.