Jarrod – Exchange to Chile

Jarrod Amos is one of our Arts Global Scholars, a scholarship program available for Bachelor of Global Studies students. Jarrod went on Exchange to Chile, and shared the highlights of his overseas study experience. 

I have been studying Global Studies and specialising in cultural literacy, which I have found fascinating but have not really been too sure on what career I will have at the end or how I can utilise the skills learnt so far in my everyday life. This got me thinking, “how can I use these skills in a practical way to get the most out of this exchange?” and in doing so I began to look at my experiences, studies and day to day interactions in greater detail.

Panorama of Santiago

I met a fellow student in my Quechua Culture and Language course (this is an indigenous language spoken mostly throughout the west coast of South America) and we got talking about how inclusive the Quechua community is. This made me remember some of my studies at Monash about the role language can have in shaping a culture, and the Quechua language certainly demonstrates how the Allyu (community or town) is integral to the culture. For example, within the language they don’t really use any excluding pronouns (us vs. them) and you relate to everyone as if they were a close relative; my 60-year-old teacher was my Wauque (brother) and other students were my Pana (sister).

Centre of Buenos Aires

I also studied a unit which studied the writings of the early colonisers and ‘discoverers’ of Latina America and how they contextualised it within the context of Europe. Although it was pretty tedious reading 16th century literature, I was able to combine it with my previous cultural literacy studies and it surprised me just how much better I could understand the nuances of my exchange culture. For example, I took a week’s holiday to Buenos Aires and stayed with Felipe, an Argentinian local; we were speaking over a glass of amazing Argentinean wine with a full plate of Parrillada (a super tasty BBQ) and were talking about how different Buenos Aires is to a lot of other places I have visited in South America. In response my friend quite proudly stated a common phrase that I have read within various travel books, “well it is the Paris of Latin America!”.  This struck me as strange and got me thinking “why Paris? Why isn’t Paris the Buenos Aires of Europe?”, and then, thinking about how the importance of Europe in the conception of Latin America, I realised that to this day, this framework still plays such an important role in how certain some Latin American cultures conceptualise their identity.

University Campus

So, what have these experiences helped me understand about my career? Well this exchange, along with my studies in cultural literacy have helped me appreciate the rich tapestry of culture and how the interconnections of all the various threads play such an important role in shaping a cultural identity. Although I may not have a concrete ‘career’ to aspire too, this exchange has been an invaluable experience and the skills I have fortified over here I will be able to use throughout my life.