Global Thinking

My graduation from JMU, May 2013
My graduation from JMU, May 2013. Go Dukes!

It still hasn’t quite hit me that in a month and half I will 5,000 miles away, in Santiago, Chile. If six months ago, someone had even suggested my doing this, I would have thought the idea was crazy. At that point, I was obsessed with landing whatever boring and predictable post-grad job I could find. Senior-panic had hit me at full force as I watched my classmates accept their “dream jobs” or get accepted into their brand-name Grad Schools of choice.

With the advice of some professors, advisors and older, wiser family members, I eventually realized that graduation wasn’t this impending deadline for settling into monotony, it was an opportunity for self discovery and me to finally do whatever it is I’ve always wanted to do (In my case, live in a foreign country).

Since one of my biggest regrets was not studying abroad in college, I did some research on international internships and came across Globalinks Learning Abroad. What really set this program apart, was that it was so customizable. I discovered many internship opportunities through this program, that not only matched perfectly with my Media Arts background, but also personal areas of interest. I actually chose to intern in Chile, because I saw that there was a profusion of multimedia jobs available, specifically in companies that were working on environmental and philanthropic projects, that I could actually get excited about!

There was of course the one small hiccup in this otherwise brilliant plan….They speak Spanish in Chile and the only Spanish I knew was, “Lo siento, no hablo español”.

Me sitting on some train tracks with a map, trying to look artistic
“Where do I go from here?”

Fortunately, I was able to work in an english speaking company and have been soaking up as much RosettaStone and LiveMocha (both language learning programs) as I can handle ever since.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I knew very little about Chile before I signed up for the program, so my summer reading has consisted of the Lonely Planet and Culture Shock guidebooks to Chile, as well as a book of Poem’s by famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, and when I’m feeling extra optimistic, “La Ciudad de Las Bestias”, a Novel by Chilean Author, Isabel Allende, recommended to me by my Brazilian Professor (apparently it’s very popular in South America). She may be slightly misinformed about my Spanish proficiency.

I know nothing can fully prepare me for living in a foreign country for 10 weeks, but I hope I can make the most out of every opportunity I have while I’m there. I’d love to climb Mount Villarica (a volcano in Pucon), to go stargazing in Valle del Elqui and if I can make it down to Patagonia, to explore The Marble Caves. But mostly, I’m just excited to actually make use of the skills I’ve acquired at college.

I’ve spent four years studying web/graphic design, online marketing, journalism and video production and will be nice to actually use what I’ve learned in a real world setting and see the projects I work on come to life in a meaningful way.

I plan to document my trip though blogging, photography and videography. I hope it can provide entertainment to friends back home, inspiration to those who long to travel, but are hesitant to take the plunge and provide comfort and insight to those who have already made the commitment to go abroad.

¡Cariñosos saludos!

Danielle McLean


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