Chile or Bust!

After leading 8 incoming Tufts University freshmen on a very successful, dirty, fun, and exhausting 5-day backpacking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, alongside my co-leader, THE Hannah Bassett, I am immediately changing course and heading on an entirely new adventure in Chile. Our 5 day trip was great- starting near Ethan Pond on the Appalachian Trail and making our way past Thoreau Falls, Zealand Mountain, the Bond Mountains with perfect blue bird weather and finally down the Bondcliff ridge through the wind-ridden clouds, everyone on our trip made it through with a sense of accomplishment and some awesome new friends who certainly who not have been made otherwise.

A-12 Treat-yo-selve!

A-12 Treat-yo-selve!

View of the White Mountains atop Zeacliff

View of the White Mountains atop Zeacliff

Now, while back on Tufts campus for a brief moment, there are certainly bittersweet moments of seeing and saying hi/bye to some of my best friends in a matter of minutes, knowing that I will not see many of them for a year. A bit overwhelming, but mostly exciting, and I know that it will definitely be worth it.

As I pack my final bags before the airport, I am extremely grateful for the experiential opportunity I have ahead of me. I will be heading to Valparaíso, Chile, where I will stay with a host-family for 7 weeks while taking a few courses at “Casa SIT” in Valpo. After, I am fortunate enough to be able to spend 14 days in Temuco and delve into the culture of an indigenous Mapuche community. Finally, I will be completing a 4-5 week independent research project (ISP) of my choice before traveling to other areas of South America towards the end of December. For my ISP, I propose to sociologically compare the role of sports/athletics in the lives of Chilean youth as compared to American youth. (A very broad idea that will eventually become more defined and concise). In order to better connect with and communicate with the Chileans around this topic, I want to bring some lacrosse with me to serve as a game/tool, completely unfamiliar to most Chileans, as to hopefully break down some social barriers and ease Chileans’ possible hesitations to talking with and opening up to a gringo like myself.

Fortunately, 3x Lacrosse and Maverik Lacrosse, have generously donated some equipment to me to use during my stay in Chile. “3x Lacrosse” donated two “3x” backyard lacrosse goals and Maverik donated 12 full lacrosse sticks. I could not be more appreciative and I only hope they will prove beneficial and fun over these next few months. I will be posting for 3x Lacrosse on their blog about all my Chilean lacrosse endeavors, as well here. A few more possible writing opportunities may present themselves in these next couple weeks too that I will certainly pass along should they work out.

Maverik's and 3x's donations

Maverik’s and 3x’s donations

It’s crazy to think that my study abroad adventure is actually here after all the preparation, anticipation, and distraction during the past few months. Nonetheless, I could not be more excited- for the good, the bad, the ugly. Thank you to everyone who’s helped in my preparation for the trip and I cannot wait to share the stories.

Con mucho amor,

Joel