The Best Semester of My Life Past Review

By (Case Western Reserve University) - abroad from 07/23/2018 to 11/09/2018 with

IES Abroad: Santiago - Health Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This experience was 120% worthwhile. I gained so much confidence in my ability to speak Spanish and I gained a global viewpoint on healthcare systems. I learned how to be more independent, navigate travel to another country by myself, and connect with strangers.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

Incredible food

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

In the beginning, IES helped students accustom to living with new families and overcome initial culture shock. It was a rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish, but IES was always there to support me.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I opted to have a typhoid vaccine but I would not say it was necessary.

* Safety:

It is very easy to be pick-pocketed in Santiago. It is very important to be aware of your surroundings and try to speak in Spanish as much as possible so that you don't stick out as a non-Chilean.

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

IES always put my needs as a student first and I was always given resources to help me should any problems arise. The caring and educational nature of the program, especially in Santiago, would make me relive the whole experience 20 times over.


* 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)

I myself spent a decent amount of money on side trips and international travel, especially in the last month of my program. Ergo, it was expensive and not very student friendly. However, I was willing and able to spend larger amounts of money by having a good summer job right before I left to study abroad.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Maybe around $210
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to get cheap airplane and bus tickets, even if that means leaving very early in the morning or very late at night. Your wallet will thank you. Also, try local caf├ęs and markets to find cheaper prices on food.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

All students were highly encouraged to speak Spanish 24/7, and living with host families helped many students achieve that goal. We lived, breathed and talked in Spanish to locals and one another.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? A 320 course on Spanish literature
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Listen to Spanish music and read Spanish books. Sometimes reading a Spanish newspaper also helps. But above all, the best way to practice a language is to find a fluent speaker and talk with them. Even if you makes mistakes, it's good practice and helps build confidence.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The staff/teacher in the Santiago center
  • The clinical observations
  • The ability to practice and improve my Spanish everyday
* What could be improved?
  • Communication about student arrival in Chile
  • Printers at the center
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew more about the limited course offerings.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!