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Chilean student enjoys American 'pride' for education

Valentina Araya Barrientos is a 21-year-old geology student at the University of Chile in Santiago, Chile studying at the University of Alabama for the spring semester. CW | Luisa Sanchez Rendon

Luisa Sanchez

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Valentina Araya Barrientos is a 21-year-old student from the University of Chile, in Santiago, Chile who came to Alabama looking to improve her English skills and get to experience life in the United States while studying at the University’s English Language Institute for the spring semester. Barrientos is a junior majoring in geology.

Why the United States and Alabama?

Back home, my university had an arrangement with The University of Alabama and at the end I decided to come here because UA offers good and affordable programs for students who want to study English.

What do you like about campus?

In Chile, colleges are usually far from each other because it is an urban campus. Here, everything is close together which is really convenient for foreign students.

What do you not like about campus?

The community bathrooms, because sometimes you lack privacy.

What is the most different from your home country?

People in the United States are really open minded and don’t have any prejudices. Also, the amount of programs and opportunities offered here is bigger compared to Chile’s.

Was it hard to adjust? Why?

Not really, I learned English back in Chile so I am not having any problems to adjust. Also, there are other Chileans in the program and that is also very helpful.

What is the weirdest thing Americans do?

Eat unhealthy food every day.

What is your favorite thing Americans do?

I like the pride they have for their schools and the importance given to sports.

How do you feel about American food?

I think it is fine to eat unhealthy food every now and then, but I don’t think it is good for you and your health to eat junk food every day.

How do you feel about Alabama’s weather?

Right now it is summer in Chile and so far, Alabama’s weather has been pretty cold this past week.

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Chilean student enjoys American 'pride' for education