Worth it but disorganized August 29, 2023

By (International Studies and Computer Science, Vassar College) - abroad from 02/27/2023 to 07/15/2023 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Santiago

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about topics specific to Chile that would have been difficult for me to learn about in the US. It was more difficult to make connections with locals than I expected but I was still able to make some.

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 classes were interesting and something that I would not have been able to take at my home university. Overall the intensity was similar to what I've experienced in the US and the local professors were very kind and accommodating to international students. There were some differences in structure that I felt could have been supported more by the program staff, as I didn't know what to expect from some of the assessments.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very nice administrators who always wanted to help but were often disorganized and not always responsive.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Great homestay, dietary restrictions were well respected.

* Food:

Good food, dietary restrictions respected, had to prepare own food more often than expected.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was a little difficult to integrate because university students commute to school and many lived very far away, but I made some local friends and participated in some activities.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Did not have to go to a doctor but host family was helpful with minor health issues.

* Safety:

Some areas did not feel safe, especially at night, but I felt comfortable walking around the area I was living after some time. I did not have any safety-related incidents but others had their phones or other items stolen on the street. Never take your phone out on the street and try to stay away from the edges of sidewalks because people will drive by on motorcycles or run by and try to grab your phone or bag off your person. Public transportation generally felt safe but was sometimes crowded so it's good to carry your bag where you can see it if it contains any valuables.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

It was inconvenient for the summer after my junior year since the academic year is offset, so it interfered with potential plans for internships and classes. Also, it was difficult having such a short break before going back to school.


* 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 mostly covered through the program cost because of the homestay, so most expenses are adjustable based on a student's own budget. Public transportation is a large unanticipated cost and a lot of socializing involves going to bars or restaurants so there are costs associated with 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

Signed a pledge to only speak Spanish for the entire program.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? HISP 387: Latin America Seminar
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? Consume media in the target language, speak the language with other study abroad participants even if you have the same native language, try to speak more to locals.

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
  • 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?
  • Independent investigation
  • Homestay
  • Program trip
* What could be improved?
  • Organization of program classes
  • Orientation about academics
  • Communication with program organizers.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that the investigation would involve interviews or surveys, I was unprepared to do this kind of research and felt that the professor expected me to be more prepared. I also wish there had been more information about what the academics would be like and general information about what we should pack for the semester.

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!