Chile: An opportunity to learn about myself and my roots Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 02/27/2019 to 07/15/2019 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Santiago

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about my own confidence, strength, and self-advocacy. I also learned how to navigate a foreign country, meet people, ask for help, and adapt to a new culture. This experience was completely worthwhile and I wish I could do it again.

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.

The academics at PUC were reasonably rigorous and intense. I valued the style and difficulty level of the teaching and examination I received. I rated a 90%/4.5 stars because of the great quality of the education, the only challenge that reduced my rating was the organization of the academics. It was challenging to get used to the style of the university because of the lack of organization in some areas of the education, such as finding tutors or extra help for classes. However, I was able to acquire extra help when doing a bit of asking around, so in all I appreciated the academic experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The host country program administration and program directors were very organized, extremely friendly, and supportive in any case scenario. The administration was also willing to listen to our lives and support us with any academic or university decisions from our home institution, so I found all of the directors to be great assets toward having a great experience in Chile

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was mostly satisfied with the living arrangements and location of my housing, however there were a few moments I found difficult. I think for the most part my experience was very good with my host family as they treated me as part of the family, however sometimes it was a bit difficult to adjust to the culture of the house and class system of my host family. Despite a few challenging moments, I had a good time with my family and appreciated all of their support.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated in the local culture with my help of my cultural mentor and the Chilean friends I met during the semester. My mentor and friends helped me get accustom to the language, idioms, and traditions of the country very nicely so I felt welcomed.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a lot of illnesses while abroad, but my program directors and the travel insurance program I had were both a great help in addressing my health. I was treated very well, whether hospital, clinic, doctor consultant, and getting prescription medication for my illnesses. I was unsure how to contact a doctor for when I got sick a few times, as I did not have a primary care doctor abroad, so my program directors helped me get appointments or find doctors taking foreign patients.

* Safety:

The safety in my city varied based on the municipal or region within the city, but I lived and studied in many very safe regions. If I travelled outside of my host city or to regions deemed more risky I notified my directors and they made sure to provide safety notices/protocols and warnings. The directors were always looking out for our safety by keeping up informed of any protests or incidents as well.

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

I loved this program from the beginning because of the full language and culture immersion and I continued loving the program for the people I befriended, the experiences I had, the and my ability to mature and grow from this experience.


* 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)

I would spend between $50 and $100/week on food mostly depending on how often I went out with friends to eat. The student budget for food was very manageable, however it was a bit harder for traveling, so I made sure to reserve some money just for a few trips to enjoy that as well.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Between $100-150 on food and other expenses (trips, supplies, shopping)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? In order to save money for study abroad, students could reduce their personal expenses the semester or year before their trip, that means limit frequent shopping trips to only a few times a year and reduce purchasing latte factor items (coffee, going out to restaurants every weekend). By reducing some extra spending in the US I was able to spend a bit more on traveling in my study abroad country.


* 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

My program had a language pledge/promise where the students had to promise to only speak in the target language, Spanish, while abroad at all times, except during extreme emergencies. So we were always speaking Spanish, which was great!

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? 200 level Spanish Courses (the highest available at my university is 300 levels)
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? To practice the language students could change their phone and laptop settings to their target language. Also reading, writing, watching movies, and listening to music in the target language helps to practice 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

  • Local 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 directors
  • The program system, academics and how we lived and experienced the country
  • The ability to take classes with local students and meet friends who are from the country
* What could be improved?
  • I don't think anything needs to be improved, everything was organized and a wonderful experience.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew the weather and structure of housing in the country as I got sick a lot of the times because of the cold temperature and the lack of heating in the houses/apartments.

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.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Molecular and Cellular Immunology

Course Department: Biological Sciences
Instructor: Dr. Alexis Kalergis
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This was my most challenging course because I was first introduced to immunology in this course and had very little back in the field before taking this class. However, despite the challenge I had great resources such as the professor and TAs who all of which were very knowledgable in the field and could answer questions and clarify doubts with easy to understand explanations. I think I participated more in this class than in my home institution, 1) because I needed help clarifying questions about language, and 2) because I needed help with language I felt more confident to ask any other question, whether simple or complicated. I was assessed by quizzes and tests, there were no homework assignments aside from reading seminar papers and studying for exams.
Credit Transfer Issues: I did not have any issues transferring the credit for this class, as this was transferred as a general credit automatically via my university's policies.
Course Name/Rating:

Biology of Microorganisms

Course Department: Biological Sciences
Instructor: Dr. Bruno Tesser
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course was challenging because of the language and the material. The professor and TAs were very knowledgeable in their field, so they were able to ask and answer very thought-provoking questions to better test students' understanding. I participated more in this class than in my home institution because I had to 1) ask language clarification questions, and 2) due to asking clarification questions I felt more confident to ask simple and complicated questions in class. I was assessed with quizzes, lab quizzes, lab practical, and tests.
Credit Transfer Issues: I did not have any issues transferring credit for this class.
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Psychology
Instructor: Dr. Eugenio Rodriguez, Dr. Marcela Peña, Dr. Jorge Flores
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course was challenging in that the information we learned in class sometimes did not reflect the material tested. The course discussed the foundation information about neuroscience, and the tests assessed some information from class and some application questions that we had now been exposed to prior. However, despite this challenge the professors and TA are very helpful in explaining information and how to apply the material during individual meetings or study groups. I rarely participated in this class because of the large size of the course. We were assessed with tests, quizzes, and group discussion questions.
Credit Transfer Issues: This course transfers over nicely for a neuroscience major, however, it is always suggested to ask the professor or department chair if this course will still transfer over in future years. In my case the department chair accepted my request of this credit transfer.