Chile: Chilly but an amazing experience that helped me decide on my career Past Review

By (Chemical and Physical Biology, Harvard University) for

Harvard University: Santiago - DRCLAS in Chile: Spanish & Service Learning

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My cultural awareness heightened and I became more open-minded to people with different backgrounds. HSI helped me decide to pursue medicine because I had the chance to meet role model doctors who were extremely dedicated to caring for their patients.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Workload is very manageable and the professor is very enthusiastic.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program administrators are great people who do care about the students' wellbeing and learning. However, their office was quite far from where I lived, so it was difficult to access the place.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was treated like a family member. The host family provided me with towels and sheets. The neighborhood was safe. Its location was relatively close to the central part of the city.

* Food:

I was not used to the food that my host family made, so that was a somewhat difficult transition. The family tended to eat more meat and more salty foods. However, I really loved fresh fruits and seafood.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Visiting the house of Pablo Neruda in Isla Negra was a great trip organized by the program. There I got to learn more about the life history of the celebrated Chilean poet and also the beach next to the house was gorgeous.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Health issues were not very well-addressed by the program but the host family took care of me very well. Santiago is a relatively safe city; however, the frequency of stealing is high.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I did not spend much on food since food was provided by the host family.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Transportation was a significant portion of my expenses. Also traveling can be quite expensive.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 40
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced Spanish with the host family I stayed with and the doctors and patients in the hospitals I visited. I also practiced with the professor and classmates.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

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  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pre-med students or students considering a medical career who are also interested in learning Spanish should definitely consider HSI.