CofC professor watches mine rescue as students study in Chile

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Chilean miner rescue has captivated the world since the first miner emerged from the deep, dark mine. It is especially interesting for one college professor who has watched the entire story unfold. Ten of his students are currently studying in Chile.

Andrew Sobiesuo, the Associate Provost for International Studies at College of Charleston, has been watching news coverage of the 33 miners since they became trapped in the underground mine about two months ago. Sobiesuo's students are living in the capital city of Santiago and will return to Charleston December 4.

"At first it was shock. We have seen situations like this happen here in the United States. In many cases, like in Virginia, it ended tragically," Sobiesuo said.

He said his students are learning all about Chilean culture, politics and daily life. He has kept up to date with them through a blog.

"When they live with the families they become part of the families. Whatever is happening in Chile, they become part of it. They are experiencing the anguish, the preoccupation that is going on the national level," Sobiesuo said.

Sobiesuo said mining is the way of life for many in Chile. The men have been trapped for 69 days, about a half mile underground.

"I'm sure their families are thrilled. It's not the most industrial country, so I'm sure the families need them," Mackenzie Russell said.

It has been reported that the rescues are taking place just 36 minutes apart and the world has watched as the men take their first breaths of fresh air.

"I've been reading Facebook and all of my friends are riveted watching this live on television, and my heart is there because my family is in Argentina," Caroline Paras said.

Sobiesuo said he is excited his students get to be there for this important part of Chilean history.

"A sense of relief and a sense of pride, especially for Chileans. As you can see they are able to do something that has not been done before," Sobiesuo said.

As each miner is rescued they are then taken to the hospital to be monitored.

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