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Chile: One Student’s Adventure of a Lifetime

Sammy Meverden and Ally Poss

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Opposite seasons, strange foods and a school system that is nothing like Neenah’s, Chile offers a major transition for one junior who is studying abroad in Angol this year.

Noelle Schumacher is one of four NHS students studying abroad this year. And her time in Chile has brought many new experiences that she is excited to share.

Unlike her high school back home, she is required to wear a uniform at her school in Chile, in direct contrast to her usual unique and free fashion sense. She claims there are more differences than there are similarities regarding her selection of classes and teaching styles. In Chile, students have a limited selection of classes. They all take the same core classes and choose one elective. The options include biology, humanities and math. During the school day, students remain in their classroom and the teachers rotate around the school for each class.

The weather is the biggest change for Schumacher, who arrived in August, the middle of winter for Chile. Growing up in Wisconsin has given her a sense of how truly cold winters can be, but going from 80 degree summer to the middle of winter in a day can be a shock for even the most seasoned Wisconsinite.

Schumacher grew up with many siblings in her family back home, but in Chile, she is practically an only child. She refers to her host family has her “parents” and already feels at home living with them. They are both kind and generous and have the same spirit for adventure as Schumacher. Her host parents have taken her to a farm in southern Chile to visit one of her host sisters, a party for independence day, and they have all gone snowboarding down the side of a volcano.

“I love it here.” 

With a world of possibilities, she is already making the most of her experience.

Native Chilean speakers are known for their thick accents and fast-paced tongues. Before her arrival in Chile, Schumacher completed Spanish one, two and three at NHS. She retained her ability to speak conversational Spanish, but the quick pace and strange dialect add difficulty to the language barrier. Thankfully, the boy who sits beside Schumacher in her classes is fluent in English and provides help whenever she needs it. Everyone was excited to meet her upon her arrival and many of the students in her class had never met someone from another country.

Schumacher looks forward to many new experiences in Chile, and she knows that she will come home with many exciting stories to share.

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Chile: One Student’s Adventure of a Lifetime