First Test Grade!

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the radio silence lately, my classes have been piling me with work. Yesterday I had a test in my Study of the Chilean Social Reality class and handed in a 12 page paper on El Cantar de Mío Cid for my Spanish Literature I class. The paper especially was hard work, especially because the assistant professor, who told me she would be happy to help me with any questions, did not answer any of the four emails that I sent over the last two weeks until half an hour before the paper was due.

At that point it was too late to make the formatting adjustments she recommended, but when I asked the professor he waved away my concern, saying that he really only cares about the content and he would be grading it anyway.

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Today I got my first exam back! It was for my Science and Religion class at the Universidad de Chile. The full title of the course is Science and Religion: Thanks to God We’re Athiests. But I’ve looked through the syllabus and it doesn’t seem like we will be covering atheism at all. I’ve been given the ol’ bait-n-switch!

The exam was on our first unit, natural theology. This is the theory that because of original sin, humans can never again have a clear knowledge of God. So God gave humans science to study his Creation, and through this they can understand more about God. We read some interesting texts from Copernicus, some Genesis, and some medieval theologists.

In Chile grades are on a number scale from 1 to 7. The passing grade is 4.0, and a 5.0 is the average grade for people to be happy with, like a B- in the American system.

So my score. Drum roll please, Mr. Costanza…

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6.5!

Yeay! I am very excited about this! It seems like I’m off to a good start, I just hope I didn’t peak too soon!

My next post is going to be about my trip to Atacama, a desert region of Chile. We will be there from Thursday until Sunday and I am super excited! Hasta Luego!

The Leveling Out

Remember when I said culture shock is a roller coaster? The other day, when I posted all those pics of Stitch and pandas and toddlers having tantrums, was definitely one of those wicked  near-vertical drops. The kind of drop when you are screaming and you’re thinking “Oh, god, oh, god, I’m going to die on this roller coaster. I’m going to die of fear/spontaneous coronary combustion and they’re going to have to shut down the park so people in biohazard suits can pick my dismembered pieces off the track and future kids will dare each other to ride that roller coaster “the one that killed that kid, remember?”. It’s not a fun sensation, and during the experience you swear off roller coasters and carnival food forever. But then the track levels out, and you catch your breath and go through an awesome loop and roller coasters are your favorite thing again. Today still wasn’t a loop-d-loop day, but it was definitely a leveling off day.

Today I went to the first class of a course I’ve decided to take: Study of the Chilean Social Reality. The syllabus is  much like another course at the Universidad Catolica, except the Catolica class was full of foreign exchange students and this one only has me. I feel like I will get more value out of a class of actual Chileans as opposed to other Americans who speak English between classes.

After the class, I had an appointment to register for classes with the Secretary of Academics for the School of Literature and Communication, so I was able to register for both the culture class and a literature class I wanted to take. My literature class was scheduled during my appointment so I thought I missed the first day, but the Secretary told me the professor had called out sick so I didn’t actually miss it. Yeay!

Since I was done with class early, I wandered over to the art building so I could figure out where my classroom was for my Art, Museums, and Education class. I hopped on the Metro and went to the San Joaquin campus of the Universidad Catolica to drop the culture class there, but the Secretary was out so I have to go back another day.  I also wanted to register myself to get my Chilean identity card and number, which I need to formally register for my Science and Religion class, but it’s closed so I have to go in the am.

Incidentally, I think I’m really going to enjoy that class. The full title is really interesting in itself: Science and Religion, Thank God We’re Atheists. The professor is also very interesting and he speaks reasonably clearly so I think it’s going to be a very successful semester!

Boring Orientation Mapuche Field Trip

Sorry, I’m a bit behind on my blog. This is what happened on Tuesday:

I successfully navigated public transportation again and met up with everyone at 8:45 at the IFSA office to attend orientation at the Universidad de Chile, which is luckily right on the same street so we all trooped into the campus.

The campus at Av Portugal is gorgeous, it houses the Facultad de Negocios (affectionately called FEN), the Facultad de Arquitectura y Deseno, and some other ones I don’t remember.

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However this was the most boring orientation ever. I thought the point of orientation was to be like “rah rah we are so exciting rah rah!” but some professor just talked for almost an hour about the political and economic history of Chile in a dry voice. Then there was a little show by some students and then more administrators talked but it was SO BORING. Luckily the refreshments afterwards were awesome.

Next we piled into a bus to visit the southernmost campus of the Universidad de Chile which is where the agriculture and veterinary schools are. This part of Santiago is also much poorer than the heart of Santiago and so illustrates very well the  stratification and segregation of classes in Santiago and in Chile as a whole.

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The Mapuche orientation was fascinating. We ate some traditional Mapuche food (I wasn’t a big fan of it but at least I tried it!) and then we were treated to a presentation inside the Mapuche roca, their traditional thatched grass communal dwellings.

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The presentation was about the Mapuche creation story and worldviews. Their cosmovision, or interpretation of the world, is really interesting. Above the earth is the Wenu Mapu, the source of positive energy, and below is the Miñche Mapu, the source of negative energy, and the people and animals and plants live on the Nag Mapu. On the horizontal plane, each cardinal direction has a significance, for example the ancestors are said to dwell in the east, so they send the sun each morning. This is why Mapuche dwellings, called ruca, always have a doorway facing east, so the light from the sun can come in and purify the home each morning. The sun and moon cycles also play a vital role in their cosmovision. I’m considering taking a class in Mapuche art and culture because it is so interesting.