I’ve been in Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city (population 5.8 million) since February teaching in a post-secondary institute called DuocUC, which has some sort of relationship with Universidad Católica, one of Chile’s largest and most well known corporations (it controls one of Chile’s largest universities along with one of its most supported soccer teams, both going by the corporation’s moniker). There really is no American equivalent to Duoc. It’s a cross between a community college and a trade school.
There are several DuocUC sites dispersed throughout Chile, but most are located in Santiago. The site I teach at is located in San Carlos de Apoquindo, one of the city’s swankiest areas, in Las Condes (translation: the Countesses), in the northeastern edge of the city.
I like my co-workers and I love my boss. The only drawback to working in San Carlos de Apoquindo is the daily commute: it’s a good 45 minutes from any other place in the city. My students are a mixed bunch and study a large range of fields, anything from Hotel Management to Gastronomy to Industrial Design. Some of them are extremely smart, some are average, and –even though I hate to say it- a few are downright dumb. Many of them are also lazy. They hardly ever do homework or study outside of class, which is a problem if you are really trying to wrap your head around a foreign language.
The Chilean school year runs from March to December, so I’ce recently begun my second semester of teaching. My first semester was a blast. My students, although a little immature, were pretty nice (well, there were a few…). I taught all levels; basic, intermediate, and advanced; and it was both fun and satisfying to see my students improve their English as the semester bore on.
Favorite moments of my first semester:
Funniest: There's a type of hot dog here called "ass." (it's similar to a cheese steak). I was doing a lesson on food, and one of my students said "I like to eat ass." I didn't know about the hotdog, so I was speechless. Meanwhile the rest of the class was like, "oooh ass, that's really good!"
Most Touching: One of my basic students told me he had never been interested in learning English until he took my class.
So, he goes another semester…