Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Valdiva Travelogue VII

By Georgia Wyche

VT and UACh Deans
February was a fairly relaxing month in Valdivia because it was summer vacation and Universidad Austral de Chile was closed. Valdivia is a lively and beautiful city in the summer.  During the month, there were many evening concerts and festivals in and around the city. Valdivia is considered a tourist destination in Chile because of its natural beauty and its vast Pacific Ocean coastline.  There are many beautiful beaches around Valdivia where many tourists flock every summer. However, the beaches in this part of Chile aren’t meant for swimming because of the water temperature and dangerous currents. The coast around Valdivia is very similar to the San Francisco and the Portland, Oregon coast.  During the month, I made sure to take advantage of the summer festivities, do some traveling, catch up on some work, and prepare for the visit of the Virginia Tech deans. 

During summer break, I traveled to Chillan and Chiloe Island. Chillan is located eight hours north of Valdivia and Chiloe is located eight hours south of Valdivia. Loreto Quintana and her family invited me to spend a few days exploring Chillan and its surroundings.  It was a wonderful experience and I’m grateful to Mrs. Quitana and her family for having me come to visit.  After visiting Chillan, I spent a week on Chiloe Island. Chiloe is located in northern Patagonia.  I saw penguins in the wild during my stay, which was an unforgettable experience! I still plan on doing some more traveling before heading back to the United States in July. 

Other than traveling to Chillan and Chiloe, I also did some work.  I corrected and graded applied linguistics papers and prepared lessons. Due to the student strikes, the university will be finishing the second semester in the middle of March.  For the remainder of the second semester in applied linguistics I will be talking about “Bilingualism” and “Bilingual Education” and my students will be doing oral presentations. Their final exam will be on March 16th. Teaching applied linguistics and working with the English pedagogy students has been an enriching and enjoyable experience. I’ll miss working with these students and hope to teach applied linguistics again some day in the future.

Georgia and Dr. Rowlands 
Another big event that occurred at the end of February was the visit by the Virginia Tech deans: Dr. Richard Benson, Dean of the College of Engineering; Dr. Jack Davis, Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies; Dr. Sue Ott Rowlands, Dean of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Dr. Lay Nam Chang, Dean College of Science; Dr. Paul Winistorfer, Dean of College of Natural Resources; Dr. Alan Grant, Dean of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, Dean of College of Veterinary Medicine.  During their stay in Valdivia, they toured new facilities on campus, observed what has changed since their last visit to the university, and collaborated with UACh deans and faculty members.  Hopefully, there are a lot of interesting projects and collaborative ideas in the works for both universities.  I know the Virginia Tech deans are eager to make some of their projects concrete and continue to strengthen the relationship between Virginia Tech and UACh. I was fortunate to be able to spend time with them.

For the remainder of the second semester, I’ll be finishing my applied linguistics course and teaching English to UACh journalists. The first semester officially begins sometime at the end of March. During the first semester, I’ll be teaching a scientific writing class, English conversation classes to journalists and other interested faculty members, and most likely another course for the UACh English department. Hopefully, many other interesting projects and teaching opportunities will open up during the first semester. I’ll keep you posted.

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