¡Viva Chile! Past Review

By (Grinnell College) - abroad from 07/23/2020 to 11/08/2020 with

IES Abroad: Santiago - Health Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about the Chilean healthcare system and through my service learning/internship placement, I learned about the principles of popular education. I also learned medical Spanish, which helped me tremendously during the clinical observations. Overall, the experience was formative for my career goals.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I think the courses were pretty comprehensive. I learned a lot in my Spanish for Healthcare Practitioners course, which was helpful for when we did the clinical observations. The courses The program center has printers and computers for student use, as well as the books needed for our Spanish courses, so you basically have what you need available to you.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program staff was very accommodating and willing to work with you to create an individualized experience that best suits your interests.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program offered a variety of cultural experiences and field trips that allowed us to engage with the local culture such as having a dance class, sandwich tasting and a trip to a Mapuche ruka. There was a also a group of university students called "Club Chileno", which occasionally planned activities for our group. Additionally, there was a student-run organization called Comisión de Acogida UC (CAUC) which planned trips for students participating in study abroad programs. I had the opportunity to learn from not just Chilean students, but students from all over the world as we collectively engaged with the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt pretty safe in the city and thankfully no one in my group was pick-pocketed or robbed. Just me mindful of your surroundings and if you are taking public transportation such as a bus or the metro and have a backpack, it's a good idea to wear it on the front of your body or to stand with it between your legs. There were many protests and demonstrations that occurred during our time, but the program staff were adept at keeping us informed and providing alternate arrangements for travel when necessary. They even visited us at home one week when we were unable to make it to the program center due to the shut down of public transportation.

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

I learned a lot from the program and it encouraged me to get outside of my comfort zone.


* 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)

Being that the program is located in a large city, some places were a bit pricey, but it was manageable.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? We were advised to not exchange our money at the airport, as the exchange rates tend to be very high. You may also want to consider keeping cash on you consistently, as you may incur transaction fees for using your card. Some places only accept cash, too, and you will be charged fees as well for using your card at the ATMs. If you are interested in traveling outside of the city, you may want to consider staying in a hostel because they tend to be cheaper, but still a good experience. Additionally, you may want to look into getting the student metro card at the local university, as there is a student discount for public transportation.


* 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

We had to make a commitment very early on to only speak Spanish at the program center. Additionally, some professors were very adamant about us only speaking Spanish when they would hear us speaking English at the center. Additionally, all my courses were taught in Spanish, so you had to speak it. We were also advised during orientation to speak Spanish when we went out so as to not draw attention to ourselves.

What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300-level
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? You can join the Tandem program through Universidad Católica, where you are paired with a Chilean student seeking to learn another language. It's a mutual learning experience.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Community
* What could be improved?
  • Teaching style
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew about the phone registration process.

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!