We asked our Italian, French and Spanish instructors to give us tips for those who are planning to visit Italy, France or Chile this summer. Each of these instructors has great insight into the respective countries – and here is what they had to say!
Italian for Travelers will let students explore how to manage any situation they might face during their travels. From their arrival at any airports in Italy – gates, customs, baggage claims, duty free, etc. In regards to Uber, it is no longer active so travelers need to rely on alternatives for transportation to get to their destinations. At the hotels, I advise travelers follow concierge recommendations. At rental car companies, for scooters or drive friends/family vehicles, travelers are required to get the international driving license, which is only $20 and lasts for one year. You can get more information at the Triple A site.
If you prefer cycling, you will be able to use the City Share bikes similar to what is offered in Los Angeles. In case of emergencies, such as going to the hospital, visits are free of charge or a maximum of a few euros for treatment and medication! I also recommend that if you plan to shop, learn about the European sizes (different than those in America), familiarize yourself with textiles, and by all means, learn about the amazing cuisine!
– Silvia Masera, Italian for Travelers
As you travel, enjoy the local sites. Rent an apartment or AirBnB in lieu of staying at a hotel. Shop and visit areas where the locals “hang out:” open markets, flea markets, local supermarkets, etc. Have conversations with them about the history and culture of the area (learn the history, experience the culture firsthand). Go to a local sports game.
If you want to do a tour of Paris, experience the boat ride on the Seine River, which has a guide who will explain the various historical sites and places. Or take the Big Bus Tour, which basically does the same. Also, a mini-tour in a Deux Chevaux (old French style car, loosely meaning 2 horsepower) can be fun as well. In the latter two, you can “hop on and hop off” at various stops.
Be adventurous and design your own tour. Everyone doesn’t have the same desires. Even, if you dare, take a cooking class and/or a language immersion class, which can last from 30 to 90 days.
Harriette McCauley, Beginning Conversational French for Travelers – Level 1
Visit Northern Chile where the famous Hubble Telescope is and where the sky is the clearest in the world. Check the salt lagoons where you can float like in the Dead Sea. Discover fauna you only see in books: alpacas, condors, etc. or go to Patagonia where you can find the gorgeous glaciers. A must is Torres del Paine and staying at Explora Hotel (if you can afford it), which is in the heart of the park. Don’t wait too long – the glaciers are going to disappear in 30 years!
Go to Valparaíso, the main seaport and visit Cerro Alegre where many artists live and adorn the walls of this wonderful town (similar to San Francisco) with beautiful paintings. You can also get wonderful jewelry (Chile is famous for Lapiz lazuli)
Go to Viña del Mar, resort town suburb of Valparaîso. You can drive towards ConCon along the Pacific Ocean and stop by in any of the wonderful restaurants along the ocean to savor fish and seafood.
Visit Zapallar and eat at Chiringuito. Fantastic food and Chilean wines. Zapallar and Papudo are resort towns on the water.
Visit Pablo Neruda’s home (famous Chilean poet and Nobel price winner) in Isla Negra – now a museum.
Go to Santiago, the capital. Climb to Cerro San Cristóbal to have a panoramic view of the city and take the funicular to the other side of town and land in Los Dominicos. The Old Spanish Monastery is now turned into an open market with all kinds of mementos: art and crafts, pottery, jewelry, antique furniture, etc. You can also eat here in a restaurant or have a soda and a sandwich in one of the smaller places.
Visit downtown Santiago – the oldest church, Pre-Columbian Museum, La Moneta (presidential palace), etc. Barrio Bellavista (artists), Plaza de Armas. evening cocktails at La Piojera (try pisco sour), and at sunset go to Sky Costanera.
You can’t leave Chile without visiting the vineyards around Santiago: Concha y Toro, Undurraga, Santa Rita, Cousiño Macul – all about 40 kilometers from Santiago or on your way to Viña del Mar, the vineyards in Casablanca.
The monetary unit is the PESO and right now the equivalent is about $640 to a dollar. You can change money easily at the airport or in any Casa de Cambio.