By Katie Baker
Today is Chilean Independence Day, and our Chilean students plan to celebrate in the Caf, sharing their traditions with fellow GC students. At 6 p.m. the Chilean students will be cooking food in the middle line of the Caf.
They will also perform traditional dances in costume. They will perform one of their native dances, La Queca, which is the most traditional and difficult dance. They will also perform other native dances, all from the north of the country and Easter Island.
Chile became an independent country in 1810, breaking free from Spanish rule under King Ferdinand VII.
GC’s Chilean students are current graduates from el Colegio Bautista in Temuco, Chile. El Colegio is a school that has students pre-kindergarten through high school, and is where these students attended before venturing to the United States.
Every year a group of about 10 to 15 alumni of el Colegio come to visit Georgetown’s campus as well as the United States.
Georgetown’s growing number of Chilean students on campus is due to outstanding relations between el Colegio Bautista and Georgetown College.
Sr. Grundy Janes is a Georgetown alumnus who continued his life as the headmaster of el Colegio for twenty-seven years. Because of Sr. Janes, relations between the two schools have increased, providing opportunities between us which most universities do not have.
Many people had the opportunity to spend three weeks in Chile with Sr. Janes, two of which were spent in el Colegio, this past May.
Patrick Barker, study abroad and Global Scholars coordinator, said, “Our relationship with el Colegio Bautista has done a lot to help internationalize our campus.
This exchange works both ways. At least 200 students from both el Colegio and Georgetown have been involved in the partnership, and that number continues to grow every year.”
In order for past Colegio students to visit Georgetown, they were required to speak English well. This year English proficiency is not one of their requirements. The Chilean students can practice their English and give Georgetown students an opportunity to practice their Spanish.
While these students are here, they engage in all kinds of activities, such as going to the mall, Keeneland, Natural Bridge, visiting museums, attending classes, and other activities that are different experiences in the U.S. than Chile.
This past weekend they had the unique opportunity to go skeet shooting. This was a very interesting experience to witness considering most of them had never shot a gun.
Most of the students rather enjoyed this experience, while others expressed concern. Javier Lopez, a Chilean student studying for the semester, said “Nice to know you” as some students went up to shoot.
Natalia Astudillo, a student who participated in the two-week program last year, said great things about being on Georgetown’s campus.
“I learned a lot about the U.S.A. and met a lot of nice people. It was an awesome experience. I felt like an American for two weeks, learning about the U.S.A., living in the dorms, and hanging with the wonderful students.”