Center for International Programs - Study Abroad

Student Profile- Timothy Dolinger- UAH in Santiago Chile

Major: Sociology

Minor(s): Spanish

Abroad Program: Universidad Alberto Hurtado

Where: Santiago, Chile

When: Fall 2012-Spring 2013: 

Favorite Course: Sociolinguistics

Highlight: Hiking/meeting people/watching life

Favorite Dish:Host mother's cooking

Least Favorite Dish: Mote con Huesillos

Describe your best travel experience.

Any time that I’m able to go to a hill or a mountain and gallivant around for an entire day is a good travel experience. Because I’m a dork, I tried to avoid taking personal vacations during the school year, focusing on classes instead of going to Easter Island or Machu Pichu. I won’t say I regret it, but it would have been awesome to travel more.

What is one piece of advice you would pass on to a student who is about to study abroad?

Be open and just let things happen. It might feel weird, but what do you expect?

How was the experience of studying the language in the classroom (in high school or in college) prior to studying abroad different from the experience of studying the language in and outside of the classroom once you were abroad?

I’d like to tell everyone who thinks they’re learning a foreign language in a classroom where a majority of the students speak English as a first language, I’d like to tell those people that they’re really doing it all wrong.There’s no way that the Spanish I learned in the High School AND the University was anything live being immersed in the language. Sure, in my classes, I learned about the conventions of the language, and that was useful, but that doesn’t help you get an ear for how it’s spoken. You can understand the language, but that’s far different that speaking the language. The last time  I returned, I went straight to one of my old Spanish teachers and talked to her for at least an hour, purely in Spanish.