Friday, 27 July 2012

More about Chile

Preparations are now complete for Chile (with the exception of actually packing). It turns out there's quite a lot to do, and my pretty busy schedule hasn't helped!

I've booked flights which (surprise, surprise) were pretty expensive. It took quite a lot of internet trawling, but it turns out that the best way to go is with Delta via the US, which then has a lot of implications because of their strict CBP requirements. Weirdly, there are no direct flights to Chile from the UK, and the main options are going via France, Spain or the US.

There's a whole load of admin that has to be done for placements, with forms that need to be filled out for varying deadlines and for different people. Student finance is a trickier issue than usual, given that the tuition fee you pay to your home institution is dependent on your Erasmus status; if you receive over 6 months of Erasmus grant then you are eligible for a full fee waiver, but any less and the waiver only covers half. Then there's insurance, risk assessments, visas, and the paperwork that you need regardless of where you might be. Fun.

I'm also finding out a lot more about Chile, and about what I might like to do whilst I'm out there. I'm determined to travel as much as I can around the continent, and although a Che Guevara style motorcycle tour might be out of the question, a quick trip into neighbouring Peru or Argentina is very much on the cards. Mendoza is across the border in Argentina, and approximately 8 hours drive from Santiago. It's the centre of a massive wine producing region that is pretty famous, and is apparently very different to the less-frequented Chile.

A few of my friends will be in Peru, and it's not difficult to fly up there from Santiago so I hope I can combine a trip to the North with seeing them, just so I can relive my childhood that little bit more (Tintin and the Prisoners of the Sun).

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