Viva Chile, po Past Review

By (Spanish/International Studies, Wright State University) - abroad from 07/15/2015 to 11/30/2015 with

ISA Study Abroad in Valparaíso/Viña del Mar, Chile

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
In Chile I learned about myself (identity, potential), the local culture, the world, humans, nature, food, transportation, language, politics, art, music, performance, charity, etc. etc. My semester in Chile was the best thing I've ever done, and think it's a truly special place that everyone should experience for at least a semester if possible. Valparaíso is one of the most incredible cities I've ever visited, and I hope to return, for travel or to live, one day.

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.

Had amazing instructors and loved my university (PUCV).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The ISA staff in Valparaíso were increíble, and helped with anything and everything we needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Had a wonderful host family in Viña del Mar, which offered quick access to Valparaíso by metro or micro (bus). Absolutely loved the food I was served on a daily basis, and felt they were invested in my safety, wellbeing, and overall experience in the country.

* Food:

Fresh fish, fruit and vino always readily available. Can't have a night out without a completo (footlong hotdog with palta, mayo, tomato, etc.). Great street food to be found in the city, as well as hidden shawarma gems and ice cream along the beaches.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As a white male I had an easy time integrating into daily life without too much attention from the locals, however I feel I would have had a much different experience otherwise. ISA helped teach local customs, do's and dont's, and my host family also helped in teaching me about Chilean culture and the city.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any major issues nor did any of my friends on the trip, however the ISA staff were always readily available, as well as my host family, to help with anything.

* Safety:

As with any big city, there are obvious do's and dont's to stay safe. If you use common sense, you likely won't have any problems. I went out often, usually returning late in the night/early morning, and my safety was never compromised.

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)

As most of my food was payed for, the only money spent was on transportation ($1-5 a day) and going out.

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? Make use of the food your host family offers - mine was very generous and I often grabbed fruit or made sandwiches to take with me throughout the day.


* 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? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? SPN3000
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? Make use of your host family and talk with them as much as possible, and speak in spanish in public (w/ gringo friends included). It shows respect to locals and helps you blend in, as well as improves your knowledge and use of the 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

  • 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 art of Vaplaraíso
  • Experiencing the diverse and rich culture of Chile
  • Forming international, meaningful relationships
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Make use of the knowledge of your host family, and try your best to remove your reservations and really integrate yourself in the local culture. The more you get out and talk with the locals, the more you will get out of your experience.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'