A group of 15 Texas A&M International University students rang in 2012 in a new country 4,600 miles away as part of TAMIU’s “Reading the Globe” program.

The freshmen students traveled to Santiago, Chile.  They were selected for the “Reading the Globe” program after a competitive essay based on their reading of the University’s campus read selection, “Santiago’s Children:  What I Learned About Life at an Orphanage in Chile,” by writer Steve Reifenberg.  Reifenberg visited TAMIU in October.

While in Chile, students visited the orphanage that was the setting for the book.  In Santiago, they attended a series of academic lectures, visited Pablo Neruda’s house, met with faculty at the University of Bio Bio in Concepcíon and learned about Chilean culture.  They had daily opportunities to become immersed in Chilean social reality, international relations, history and economics and stayed with host families.

Students participating in the study-travel project were: Judith Abrego, Carolina Atilano, Alejandra Ortiz-Caballero, Joseph Dilworth, Uriel Domínguez, Sabrina Espinoza, Lisa Estrada, Selina Fuentes, Katherine Garza, José  Jacobo, Leslie Martínez, Margaret Medellín,  Francisco Palacios, Norma Nuñez and Daniel Villalobos.

Dr. Conchita Hickey, TAMIU executive director of TAMIU’s University College, said the trip was designed to highlight the realities of Chilean life.

 “Chile is one of South America’s most vibrant and stable economies and is a founding member of the United Nations.  Many consider it a leader among Latin American countries in income per capita and globalization, but there is high economic inequality – which figured prominently in ‘Santiago’s Children.’  The country is also fascinating for its indigenous culture and history, especially that of the Mapuche Indians, who we were fortunate to visit with and participate in native ceremonies shoulder-to-shoulder,” Dr. Hickey said.

The students were especially moved by the chance to meet and provide gifts to the children of Casa Hogar, the home featured in Reifenberg’s book.

See a trip photo gallery or watch a video that captures the experience in sights and sounds. Find more on facebook (facebook.com/txamiu).

This is the fourth TAMIU student group in the “Reading the Globe” program.  Previous study-travel sites have included Poland, Ghana and Cambodia.

Student impressions and galleries of previous trips are archived at tamiu.edu/spotlight

For more information on future “Reading the Globe” programming or opportunities to assist the program, please contact Hickey at 326.2801, email chickey@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the University Success Center, Suite 223.

 Event Photography and Video by Ana Clamont, Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services (PRMIS); video editing by David De La Garza, PRMIS student intern.