By Madeline Buerck
Often we, as people, get accustomed to our own culture and rarely think about any other.
We find ourselves so used to our way of living that it is difficult to even leave. A Pew Research
study of 2,260 adults revealed that a majority of people end up living in the same town their
entire life ( http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2008/12/17/who-moves-who-stays-put-wheres-home/ ). With living
in familiarity an entire existence, you become immune to uncomfortability and the thrill of
submersion in a foreign place, and this uncomfortable thrill is exactly what six teenaged girls
embarked upon. 8, 389 km from their home in Chile, Antonia, Martina, Angiolina, Sofia,
Antonia, and Camilla sat down with me to discuss their month-long adventure to Farmington,
1. Is America what you expected?
Antonia M: No, because I think people spend a lot more time with their cell phones than
people, so that is kind of disgusting some times.
Angiolina: No, because I thought it would be like the movies, but it wasn’t.
Antonia, Marty, Camilla, and Sofia: Yes, it was.
2. How is life in Chile different than in America?
Antonia M: The people are more close to you and affectionate in Chile. The food is so
different. The lunch is not as important as it is in Chile and the dinner is more important.
And we don’t eat as much fast food. We always cook. The people walk a lot in the street
of Chile, but not here. We drive when we are 18, and we use public transportation. Here
you don’t have a lot of recycling, you just put everything in the trash!
Antonia Meza: You don’t eat together. We eat at the table together. In Chile, at the table,
we finish eating and then we start talking. Ere, you eat and then… bye.
Antonia M: We are more closer to our family, and in my house we don’t use our phones.
Antonia Meza: *responding to Antonia M* … or in clase. In the classes we can’t
eat or use our phones. You always do that. We use uniforms to go to school.
Antonia M: The 99% of schools use uniforms.
Antonia Meza: We can’t have piercings, and boys can’t have long hair.
Sofia: People in America are a lot nicer.
3. Do you like American culture or Chilean culture more than the other?
We like Chilean culture more, but I do like it here. You do have a lot of things to do. You
always have something to do, like the games and stuff… we don’t have that. It’s also more
relaxed. School is more relaxed. We have tests every week, at least 3 times a week. We are
Antonia M: I like Chilean culture more, because the people are close.. Like with the family.
Everyone is more affectionate. There are more hugs. We are more expressive.
Marty: Yeah, we express everything.
Antonia M: To say hello to someone, we say hello with a kiss on the cheek, but here when you
hug someone they are scared like, “what are you doing?”
4. What is your life like in Chile?
All: It’s a boring routine in Chile. Everyday is the same. You study, you finish school then
you have to study or practice, you go to your house, then sleep. We study a lot.
Antonia Meza: Weekends you study and study and study. Everyday
Angiolina: *responding to Antonia* I don’t think so.
Antonia Meza: For us, the school is more hard. We also, go to our homes for lunch.
Antonia M: Our food is not as spicy. We eat a lot of vegetables and fruit. For us, our
lunch is the more important meal, but here it is dinner.
Antonia Meza: In Chile, our music is different. It is more to dance.
5. Do you wish you had gotten to go to a different place than Farmington in America?
Antonia M: For touring, I would like other places, but for school, here. I wasn’t sure that I
would like it here, but I really like here, it’s very good. It’s like “okay I’m going to school like in the
movies.” And everybody is nice here. Like I had friends that came to exchange at another place
in America and they did not like it, but I like it.
– *Asked if they wished they had gotten to go somewhere else instead* All of them: No, we
like it here!