For those of you who know me well, you’re probably familiar with my ability to avoid descriptive response in conversation. So, writing and maintaining a blog will not come easily to me. But I’m being strongly encouraged to do so, so I’ll try to keep it interesting for me and whoever takes (not so much) time to read it.
A bit of background on why I’m writing a blog: I just graduated from college in May, and while I’m planning on attending grad school in a couple years, I’d like to spend some time finding out exactly what I’m interested in. In general, I love the outdoors, and combined with my Biology major I’m probably interested in pursuing something in wildlife ecology. So, to prepare me more for school, I’m trying to fill up the next couple of years doing different internships that allow me to spend time as much time in the field as possible. I’m starting off this summer in Chile.
After graduating from Bates in May, I spent a relaxing week and a half at home, and packed to spend two months abroad. Last Saturday (June 11th), I flew down to Santiago, Chile, where I’ll be living until August 12th. I’ll be working under Loren Hayes, also a Bates grad, studying different aspects of the sociality and physiology of the degu (Octogon degus). Degus are diurnal semifossorial rodents, about the size of a large hamster, and endemic to Chile. Also working with Loren are two other recent grads (with whom I’m sharing an apartment) and two graduate students.
This internship is a great opportunity for me to combine field work with learning how to develop and answer scientific research questions. Hopefully I’ll get to do a bit of sight-seeing as well. The picture of the Santiago skyline, with the Andes in the background, was taken from Santa Lucia, a beautiful park in the middle of the city. The biggest obstacle about living in Santiago, I think, will be the language barrier. I know very little Spanish, certainly not enough to be self-dependent. But the city seems to be forgiving, and both other students I’m living with speak Spanish very well. So I’m not too worried.
Feel free to share this blog with anyone you’d think would be interested, and please let me know what you’re all thinking. I’m trying to squeeze as much out of these opportunities as possible, so any suggestions would be welcome. I’ll also be posting pictures periodically to my Picasa page, accessible via the links on the top right.
Hope to hear from you!