An Unforgettable Semester Past Review

By (Linguistics., University of Rochester) - abroad from 07/23/2014 to 12/05/2014 with

IES Abroad: Santiago - Study in Santiago

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Spanish Proficiency, Cultural Perspective, New Friends, Adventures and Memories It was absolutely 100% worthwhile, I couldn't have asked for a better rsemester.

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I took two classes with IES, and two classes at la Pontificia Universidad de Chile.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

IES arranges housing with host families, which was an excellent way to immerse myself in the local language and culture.

* Food:

Chilean food is nothing like what you might think of when you think of Latin American cuisine. Infamously rather bland unless you're adding ají or merken, Chilean cuisine ranges from delicious empanadas and cazuela, to hotdogs and mayo.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Taking classes at the local university and living with a host family definitley helped with my cultural integration!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health care issues, but in general, the private healthcare system in Santiago is pretty attentive and competant. IES staff is also very willing to help students get the help they need.

* Safety:

While there are often student protests and occasional issues with the public transportation systems, the program is very diligent in making sure students have all the safety updates and information that they need. As in most modern cities, pickpocketing and petty theft is a thing to be concerned about, but being aware of your surroundings is an easy way to combat this.

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)

While the host families are required to provide 3 meals a day, which helps a lot with food expenses, public transportation is a noticable expense that can add up to $20 a week or more.


* 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

While the program encouraged us to interact in Spanish, they didn't enforce it outside of class, and we often spoke to each other in English. This is one of my few regrets of the semester.

How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? I highly recommend signing up for Tandem, a language exchange program run by la Pontifica Universidad de Chile, which pairs internationals who want to practice their Spanish with Chileans who want to practice the language of their partner. This was one of the highlights of my semester and is a great way to meet local students, make Chilean friends, and learn more about Spanish and how to use it.

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
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 opportunities for travel within Chile and South America
  • the ability to take classes with my American peers, and at the local university
  • living with a host familiy
* What could be improved?
  • a transportation stipend for students living farther away from the study abroad center
  • more information about taking classes at la Universidad de Chile
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Public transportation is a significant cost to consider! You will want to travel!