Blog: Emily Severson in Chile Through UMAIE

The Gustavus student experiences a new culture -- and a new way of looking at the world -- during her January travels.
Posted on January 19th, 2017 by

Emily Severson '17 is spending January in Chile.

Gustavus Adolphus College senior Emily Severson is spending January Interim Experience in Chile through the Upper Midwest Association for Intercultural Education (UMAIE). She, along with students from other colleges and universities in the Midwest, is taking the course “Sustainability through a Business Lens: Exploring People, Planet, and Profits in Chile.”

Here, Severson reflects on her first couple of days in Chile:

One of my favorite authors describes the vast space between our expectations and reality as a fertile ground for disappointment. As I was sitting on the tarmac at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, listening to the impatient voice of our flight attendant telling us our plane’s starter was not operating properly and we would miss our connecting flight in Dallas to Santiago, I could feel the seeds of disappointment being planted in my anxious mind.

Severson in Valparaiso, Chile.

From the very early moments of the trip, I faced an important decision. Would I let the unexpected changes and uncontrollable circumstances ruin my trip because they didn’t meet my expectations? Or, would I set aside my own agenda, lay down my expectations, and accept every moment (scheduled and unscheduled) as it comes, learning and growing with each one?

Although we didn’t expect our flight to be redirected at 5 a.m. through Lima, Peru, adding an extra six hours to our travel time and missing our meeting with Chile’s director of 3M, I made the choice on that plane to let this experience grow in me a new lens for this adventure. Rather than having my trip be about the final destination, my month in Chile is about the journey. It’s not about making it to our lecture on time with El Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, but it was about the extra laughs and stories our team shared around the breakfast table over café con leche and a delicious almond scone.

As my travels continue into the month, I choose to accept each moment as a gift in this beautifully diverse country. The mountains surrounding Santiago remind me to remain grounded and strong and the endless Pacific Ocean teaches me to hope in the infinite opportunities present in my journey, just as endless as the water itself.

– Emily Severson ’17

Read Severson’s second reflection here.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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