Office of Study Abroad

Profile: Rynn Parrack '23

Rynn Parrack

Major/minor: Psychology and Sociology Majors with Hispanic Studies Minor

Study abroad program: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development in Valparaiso (SIT), Spring 2022

Reason you chose this program: The immersion trips to the north and south of Chile, the opportunity to improve my Spanish and an internship with sociological research.

Favorite classes: Spanish for Cultural Studies and the lectures we received during our trips to Arica (northern Chile) and Temuco/Padre de Las Casas (southern Chile).

How did you incorporate your Brandeis areas of study into your study abroad experience? I conducted sociological research in a internship and collaborated with sociologists and geographers in the organization I worked for.

Housing situation: A host family in every location where I studied including Temuco and Santiago de Chile where I did my internship. My "main" host family in Valparaiso was an older couple with adult children and grandchildren near my age.

What were some parts of your identity that you thought about while considering study abroad that other students may want to talk to you about? Being non-binary and LGBTQ+ in a more conservatively minded family, being celiac in a country where bread is a staple, and having a disability and needing to navigate the local health care system.

Did you apply for any scholarships? Yes, the Jane's Travel Grant allowed me to conduct research on social justice in my free time and aided me during my internship to fund transportation to my internship.

Favorite memory: Meeting my housemate in Valparaiso and realizing we had so much in common. We even met up for my birthday after we returned to the United States!

Greatest challenge: Explaining my gender identity to my host families. All my host families were kind and interested in talking to me about my identity but it was difficult to ask them to use gender-neutral pronouns (elle) when it was not a formal part of everyday Spanish.

What you know now that you didn't know before: Chilean Spanish/Chileanisms — very different from traditional Spanish!

Fact about Chile that you think people would be surprised to learn: The new president, Gabriel Boric, is the youngest national leader in the world! He's just turned 36.

“All my host families were kind and interested in talking to me about my identity.”

Rynn Parrack '23