jeff's career break

School Days

Written By: jeff

Posted On: May 23rd, 2010

Career break rtw in Santiago, Chile

Field Trip to Glacier outside of Santiago

The last couple of weeks at school have been more social than anything I had in BA.  Most of that was my fault.  While in BA, I was recovering from the months of prep to get the trip started and leave the US.  And, I was frantically trying to get the site launched.  So, in Santiago, I’ve had the chance and the inclination to be social again.

Life at the school is interesting.  The turnover rate of students is high.  People are always coming and going.  If you meet someone you like, you probably don’t have much time to hang out.  So, one of the interesting phenomena is the process of getting acquainted.  There are a series of initial questions that you go through (not necessarily in this order).

  1. Where are you from?  If from the US, What state, city, etc.
  2. Why are you studying Spanish?
  3. What are you going to do with it?
  4. What level are you in?
  5. How long are you here?
  6. Have you studied at _________? (Santiago, BA, Bariloche)
  7. How long have you been here?
  8. How much longer will you be here?
  9. Where do you live?
  10. Where are you going next?
Career break and rtw blog from Santiago, Chile

Jeff and Alejandra

This is all fairly straightforward.  Now after this point, you determine if this is someone that you want to have lunch, dinner or go on a tour with (I mean this in the platonic sense).

Now comes the interesting part. I’m still trying to figure out why, but we all tend to spill our guts out to each other.  Most of the time it’s with people you’ve spent more time with (and by more time I mean more than one day).  But, not always.  I know more details about some of the people that I go to school with than I do of my own friends and family back home.  And, I know I’ve divulged more than I should.

It is an incredible phenomenon.  Maybe it’s because we are all fellow travelers and feel a natural connection anyway.  Maybe we all have a need to reveal ourselves.  One interesting tidbit is that many (but not all) of the student’s I’ve met have blogs.  Maybe it’s partially due to the types of conversations we have in class.  We discuss a wide range of social, cultural and historical issues in class.  These conversations themselves reveal a bit of who we are, what we believe, etc.

I’ve always been fascinated by what people feel they need to confess to others – particularly to strangers.  But, I think I have to go back to my exchange student days to come up with a time when the self-revelation has been this pervasive and immediate.  All I know is that I know more about these people’s sexual preferences, fantasies, marital status, career tracks, etc than I thought I ever would.  And, to think I didn’t know most of these people two weeks ago.  Let me be clear, this conversation doesn’t happen with everyone.  It’s just that it does happen more than I ever expected

Perhaps it’s simply a function of the fact that as travelers, we all like meeting new people.  And, since we have limited time, we all have to work fast to get to the tough, personal questions.  And, after a glass or two of wine, the conversations really fly.

I don’t have the explanation, but this has preoccupied my thoughts all week.

Originally published April 21, 2007

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One Response to “School Days”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Jung, Jeff Jung. Jeff Jung said: Sunday´s Read: Jeff´s #CareerBreak #Travel blog ¨School Days¨ #rtw #rtwsoon #rtwnow [...]

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