Vina del Mar, Chile was great for exploring Past Review

By (Journalism, University of Oklahoma) for

ISA Study Abroad in Valparaíso/Viña del Mar, Chile

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I am much more fluent in Spanish and much more understanding of other cultures.

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.

Workload was enough to earn credit but not so much that I was bogged down all the time. The teachers were fantastic and catered the classes to our skill level and worked the curriculum around our travels. The educational system was pretty similar, with different grading rubricks. The teaching methods involved lots of conversation and cultural teaching distinctive to Chile. We went on a few field trips and many of our assignments were to write about our experiences in Chile.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The international student faculty was incredibly helpful. They did everything they could to make sure we were comfortable, happy and successful in our new surroundings. They helped us plan personal trips, made sure we knew how to get around town and where to go, and invited us to social events. If we had trouble with our visas or anything, they'd personally help us get them fixed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was treated as a family member, and my host siblings would take me to hang out with their friends. I didn't need to buy much, just toiletries. The house was very small and had no heating, so it was always cold. The neighborhood felt pretty safe, but I was still always alert when walking around at night. It was far away from class and nightlife, however; I had to take a taxi to school.

* Food:

Food was delicious. My host family made sure I liked everything we had, and we had onces every night, which was amazing. Definitely try empanadas, terremotos and pisco sours. There is so much good food there, although people say it's bland.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our program took us to Santiago, the capitol of Chile, and took us on a bunch of different tours. We also took a really cool tour of nearby Valparaiso. Everywhere we went was amazing.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I was told not to walk alone at night, but had to do so to get from the bus stop to my house. Just be alert and keep your valuables on your person, not in your purse. I had to go to the doctor because I got sick. The appointment lasted maybe two minutes and I was perscribed a couple antibiotics that I filled at a pharmacy. I had traveler's insurance, but unfortunately wasn't able to get it applied because I didn't know what to do.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Most people spoke Spanish. All of the professors and my host family were bilingual, and we'd talk in Spanish unless there was something we needed to know in English. Most everyone in Chile speaks solely Spanish.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • traveling
  • my professors and classmates
  • speaking Spanish
* What could be improved?
  • help with healthcare
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Prepare to be's totally worth it.