A day-to-day adventure! Past Review

By (Spanish (Concentration: Hispanic Literatures and Cultural Studies), University of Illinois - Chicago) - 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?
From my time abroad, I became more

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Though the Chilean university grading system took a bit of getting used to, but the classes at the IES program center were fantastic. The professors also teach at local universities and are very supportive both academically and personally.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration are very eager to help you in all aspects of your study abroad experience. They are thorough in keeping you safe, but also are a great resource in helping you find a community of your own. Personally, the administration helped me find a local Korean-Chilean church and it helped me immerse into the culture exponentially quickly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I personally had a poor living arrangement. I have studied abroad before and thought I was prepared to adjust to another family. Things took a turn for the worse once I began to spend more time outside of the host-home with local friends and traveling plans. Food was not always provided as promised, but it made me that much more thankful of the friends I had made during my time here.

* Food:

Chilean food is incredible. In Chilean culture, food is meant to be shared and meals are meant to be a communal experience. My personal favorites were the diverse use of avocado (even as a condiment!), red wine, asados (costillas), and sea bass (corvina).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very much integrated at the end of my semester. I found a group of Chilean friends who I spent many weekends with. They would invite us to their homes and showed us parts of both Santiago and the nearby city of Valparaiso that I never would have stumbled upon on my own. Initially, it was difficult to become accustomed to the language barrier. However, with a little persistence and an eagerness to expand my own comfort zone, I gained much more cultural immersion during my time abroad.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health issues were very well managed and thoroughly followed up by the administrative staff. I never experienced any major health issues abroad.

* Safety:

Santiago is a very safe city, and our homestay assignments were located in nice areas. With moderate vigilance and common sense, the most serious crime you will most likely experience is pick-pocketing. My greatest recommendation is not to speak English on public transportation. This often draws unwanted attention and can put yourself at risk of any potential incidents. Specifically for female students, I would advise that you travel with a buddy and to take a cab when in doubt. Much of the cat-calling will also cease if you are with a male.

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)

Transportation was my greatest regular expense. Though it is cheaper than what I normally would pay in Chicago, buses, metros, and taxi fares do add up. There were definitely a wide range of budgets among students in our program, but personal expenses were very easy to reduce if needed be.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? 1. If you are traveling, plan trips in advance and talk to local friends for recommendations. 2. Keep a log of your expenses to stay aware of how much money you are actually spending 3. Treat yourself--even with a budget, you can find affordable opportunities to indulge in an occasional splurge (weekend trip, nice meal, show)


* 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

I am very grateful of our Spanish-only policy within the classroom and the program facility.

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? SPAN206-Intro to Spanish Linguistics
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? Find local friends who can help you with the native language and who you can help with their English.

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?
  • IES Staff
  • Program trip to Chiloe
* What could be improved?
  • Clinical Observations Class
  • Subsidized Transportation Cards (can be attained with anticipation)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I was more familiar with the dialect so I could adapt more quickly.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.