Charmi-Lee Gordon Zielinsk, a TAFE Queensland student, who is studying a Dual Diploma of Marketing and Communication and Business, recently completed a short business course at the Catholic University of Chile’s vocational college, Duoc. She shared with us a little bit about her experience while in Chile.
What was the course you studied in Chile?
“The course I studied at DUOC while I was abroad was called "Doing Business in Latin America" but it was so much more than that. We learnt about starting a business in Chile, we got to visit a range of businesses and I even learnt about the Chilean people, in business and leisure environments.”
What was your overall experience of Duoc?
“My thoughts on DUOC as an institution are very high, the technology, the classrooms, and campuses are all at a standard I’d expect in Australia. I was able to speak to some of the Chilean students, hear about their courses, and the opportunities the campus provides for them, and it gave me a wonderful insight on the institution.”
What was your impression of Chile?
“My overall experience in Chile was a good one, despite taking 3 hours to get out of the airport and having MANY issues because I don't speak Spanish. The people I met were lovely, the places I visited beautiful. There was a massive culture shock when I saw so many stray dogs, pollution and got begged for food while I was sitting at a restaurant by a homeless person. All of this just made me understand Chile for what it really is, which is a beautiful county that is constantly evolving.”
Did you encounter any challenges?
“The biggest challenge I had to face was the language barrier, I unfortunately don't speak any Spanish, which made some things difficult. Even some of the Americans who spoke Spanish had some issues communicating, which made me feel better. Another challenge was the days and hours the shops are opened. I was so surprised about how little was open on Sundays, in Australia, everything but the bank and government companies are open on Sundays, which most definitely wasn't the case in Chile.”
What would you recommend to students wishing to study in Chile in the future?
“If I could offer any advice to someone wishing to go and study overseas, it would have to be to try and learn as much about the culture as you can. Even a little thing like does the country tip? You'll need to know that for when you make your budget and go out for meals etc. You don't generally need to know the language when travelling, all though it helps, you can buy apps to help you for that. What an app can't do is tell you about the people, and what their customs are.”