By Dani Jauregui (Granada, Spain)
As someone who studied abroad in Alicante, Spain during my sophomore year of college, by the time senior year rolled around, I was itching to get back! There is just something incredibly wonderful about Spain and its no pasa nada attitude (I have no doubt Caroline and Lexa would back me up) and I felt like there was something pulling me back. Most everyone who studies abroad romanticizes about returning to those carefree, indescribable days, but I was determined to be someone who actually did it. In realizing that dream, I’ve learned that I’m at my best and thriving now that I’ve let my dream transition into ‘real life.’
Now that I’m doing it on my own, I find myself surrounded by different types of people: Some are Americans; some are Spaniards. Some work; some study. Some are older than me; some younger and we’re all in different stages of our lives. But that variety is what makes my experience unique and beautiful and ‘real.’
Of course, the reality of coming on your own means that there’s a lot of weight on your shoulders. You have to find your own apartment, set up your own bank account, and figure out more complicated paperwork. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who simply wants a year or two in Spain, but for someone genuinely thinking in the long-term. The truth is, there’s a lot of support online these days. You can find Facebook groups and other forums with a lot of searchable information, as well as individuals willing to answer questions based on your situation. I’ve found this incredibly helpful over the years.
By Matt Del Busto (U.S.-Indiana)
As I’m past the six week mark of my time here in Chile, I’d like to spit some gringo knowledge and share a few essential chilenísmos so if you ever visit Chile (you should), ever move to Chile (why not?!), see a film produced in Chile (it’d be fun!), etc. you can better understand the Spanish here.
I guess an accidental chilenísmo I used without even meaning to is the term itself: “Chilenísmo.” It’s basically a Spanish word/phrase used here in Chile that is more or less exclusive to the country.
Going from what I hear most-to-least often, let’s begin :D
This is a classic Chilenísmo. “Po” means, well, nothing at all.
Stick with me! Chileans use “po” like English-speakers use “like”. It’s a filler word that doesn’t mean anything. It gets added on frequently to sentences, usually at the end of a word or phrase.
Example: ¿Vas al cine hoy? ¡Si, po! (Are you going to the movies today? Yes, po!)
Another common Chilenísmo, “cachaí” comes from the Spanish verb “cachar,” meaning “to catch.” Sometimes the Chileans use the vosotros form (the Spain-Spanish “we” form, as opposed to the “nosotros” form most every other Spanish speaking place uses).
People will ask “¿Cachaí?” at the end of their sentence, basically meaning, “Got it?” or “Do you understand?”
Example: Necesitas doblar a la izquierda en Calle Álvarez, ¿cachaí? (You need to take a left on Álvarez Street, got it?)
#3. ¿Como estaí?:
Another time Chileans like to break out the vosotros form is when they’re asking how you’re doing. That’s right, “¿Como estaí?” is just another form of “¿Como estás?”
Example: Hola, ¿Como estaí? (Hey, how are you?)
#4. Al tiro:
Aw man, another classic. “Al tiro” is the Chilean way of saying “ahora,” meaning “right now.” Literally, this phrase means “at the shot/at the throw.” This is a pretty ubiquitous one in Chile—I definitely haven’t heard many “ahoras” in my time here.
Example: ¿Comemos al tiro, no? (We’re eating now, right?)
The blog posts featured in this section are written by friends we've made around the globe that want to share their experiences, lessons they've learned, and tips and tricks.