Learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable Past Review

By (Amherst College) - abroad from 02/23/2017 to 07/14/2017 with

IFSA: Santiago - Chilean Universities Program, Santiago

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to be comfortable with being on my own and how to handle navigate living in a big city. It was lonely at the beginning but eventually, I was okay and even enjoyed it.

Review Photos

IFSA-Butler: Santiago - Chilean Universities Program, Santiago Photo IFSA-Butler: Santiago - Chilean Universities Program, Santiago Photo IFSA-Butler: Santiago - Chilean Universities Program, Santiago Photo IFSA-Butler: Santiago - Chilean Universities Program, Santiago Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were amazing people who were always attentive to what we needed and were always available to help us out with anything we needed help with. They were very friendly and treated us as more than just exchange students from the US.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mom was such a sweet, caring lady who always made sure I was okay and had everything I needed to be comfortable in her home.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

If we had any health issues, we always went to our program coordinator first and she would tell us what we had to do and how to fill out the forms in order to be reimbursed for any costs we had to pay.

* Safety:

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

I met so many great people through the program as well as in some of my classes. It took me a while to learn how to be more open and my only regret is that this change didn't happen sooner because I feel like I would've enjoyed it even more for a longer period of time. If I could do it over again, I would want to go in without so many expectations and learn how to navigate being on my own more and learning about myself.


* 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)

At first I was spending quite a bit for transportation costs and food but eventually I stuck to a budget and managed to get by on what I was given by my home university and money I had saved up during the fall semester.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $120
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? When taking money from the ATM, you should take out one of the larger limits possible so it limits the amount of times you have to withdraw money and be charged the international transaction fee. Also, know more or less what your budget is for your time abroad and split that into the number of weeks you'll be abroad. That way, you know how much you can afford to spend on the week and if you run out of money before the end of the week is up, then you don't spend anything until the beginning of the following week. It helps so you don't overspend.


* 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 were encouraged to speak English as little as possible in order to truly immerse ourselves in the language.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Fluent
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intro. to Hispanic 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? Having conversations with the local students as well as with your host family (if applicable). They are more than willing to engage and help you navigate the local language.

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
  • 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 on-site staff
  • The friends I made
  • The food
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That being a Latina in a Latin American country isn't quite what I expected it to be because tied in to that identity is my American identity. I wish I hadn't gone in with high expectations or thinking it would be easier for me than for other people.

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!