Valpo, Chile Past Review

By (Accounting, Union University) - abroad from 01/05/2014 to 01/31/2014 with

ISA Study Abroad in Valparaíso/Viña del Mar, Chile

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to be more aware and outgoing. Forcing myself to speak to natives was the best thing I could have done for myself. I am now confident in my abilities to speak Spanish.

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.

The classes I took were incredibly easy. They were upper level classes, but I liked that they were easy. The assignments given were to go to a park and talk to a stranger; or go to the market and talk to a stranger. I LOVED that my classes forced me to actually use my Spanish with a native and not just another student in the classroom or on paper.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff was always available and were always willing to help me find what I wanted. One day, I mentioned that it would be fun to bike ride through the city. One of the staff immediately looked up bike rental places and combed through them to find the safest one for me.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was absolutely amazing. My mother made me food every day and was very intentional about talking to me and making me feel comfortable. I loved that my family had a dog - it felt more like home that way.

* Food:

Fresh avocado - who could ask for anything better?! I'm definitely into all the fresh fruits and vegetables that Chile produces.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Because I'm blonde with blue eyes, I seem to get a lot of negative attention in an area with darker skin, hair and eyes. I got very frustrated when I wanted to talk to people and all they would do was hit on me or make very inappropriate sexual jokes.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Overall, I felt very safe. There were a few times I was followed home, but that would be because of my bright blonde hair (yes, it's natural) and blue eyes.

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)

My host family provided all the food I needed, but being with a group of other students, they frequently wanted to eat out, or grab ice cream, or an empanada. I chose to spend my money with them because I wanted to socialize.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $75
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't feel pressured to eat out if other students are. It's okay to go and socialize with them but not spend money. You already paid for your host home to feed you, so why not utilize that?!


* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
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? SPA 400
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? Force yourself to speak Spanish with the natives and with the students in your class. If you don't set the bar high for yourself, you will not learn anything.

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

  • 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?
  • Traveling
  • Friends
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • The January program could use a bit more community.
  • It would be nice to know who was going on the trip before we arrived so that we could perhaps plan extra side travel together in advance.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have known more places to travel to on the weekends so that I could have planned ahead and spent more time on the tail end exploring Chile.

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!