A nontraditional but rewarding semester in Chile. Past Review

By (Amherst College) - abroad from 07/24/2019 to 12/15/2019 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Santiago

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I think I definitely grew as a person and learned to become more independent and confident during my semester abroad. I also obviously improved greatly in my Spanish language skills from the expectation that we used the language at all times while abroad. In my experience specifically with the civil unrest and protests that occurred while I was there, I also feel that I learned a lot more about the history and current political/social structure of Chile and also about social movements in general. I think that the protests helped open my eyes to the inequality that is present not only in Chile but in every country. I felt inspired by my experience abroad and hope to take the lessons I have learned from my time there with me as I move on in whatever direction my future takes me.

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

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Did not have any health issues while I was away so it is difficult to determine the quality of health care.

* Safety:

I felt safe for the most part other than the areas affected by the protests. I lived in a safe area and our program made sure that we avoided areas that were unsafe during the protests.

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

I really enjoyed my time abroad and wouldn't change the experience I had if I had the option. I think the unusual experience of being in Chile during a historical moment of social movement and civil unrest was a very valuable lesson and made my time abroad even more meaningful. I also feel that I developed many close relationships that I am very grateful for and would not be the same person today without having had 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)

Food was included in money paid to host family, but I often went to coffee shops to study (because the library was not located near my apartment) which ended up costing me a bit more than I would have hoped. Prices are pretty comparable to United States.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $60
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to plan public transportation trips well (going to places near each other at the same time) because it can add up if you are going to various places around the city in one day. I would also recommend eating as much food from the host family as possible (buying less out) since you are already paying for this in your housing.


* 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 expected to sign and follow a language promise during the entire semester.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300 level Spanish course
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? Make local friends and spend time with your host family.

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 people (other students, program directors, host family)
  • the emphasis on language
  • flexibility of the program to accommodate changes due to protests
* What could be improved?
  • more help from the program in choosing/registering for classes at the University
  • clarity in instructions for various things (more clear communication)
  • more meetings/outings with all the students in the program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have known how difficult the first few months of living abroad would be. I struggled and felt very homesick for a while, which I was not expecting.

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!