Just Say Yes Past Review

By (Latin American Studies., The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 08/01/2013 to 12/06/2013 with

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile: Santiago - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Don't hang out with Chileans simply because they are Chilean. Seek them out because they are people your age with similar interests. That is what builds strong friendships. I had a "just say yes" policy and always accepted invitations to hang out. Never a let down.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This is one of the top universities in Latin America with an all-star faculty. There are intensive readings for the classes. There are also decent libraries across each of the four campuses.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The international office of La Católica is great and very helpful. CAUC is also a wonderful student organization to help you meet Chileans in your first few weeks.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a house with other Chileans and international students in Ñuñoa. Rent was cheaper than in the US.

* Food:

Not a great place for vegetarians. The piscola, however, is a great drink. Deserts like kuchen are pretty delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Hang out with friends in the grassy areas on campus after class. Go to carretes when invited. Attend Chilean concerts and festivities with Chileans.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Santiago is a safe place as long as you don't walk around looking lost. It is also advisable to stay in safer, well-lit comunas when out at night. Ñuñoa, La Reina, Lo Barnechea, Las Condes, and Providencia all form "Cuicolandia" and are safe bets for the evening. Always best to be with a friend. During the day, explore the entire city but don't go wandering around with iPhone in hand.

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)

Try not to eat out every day. Learn to make your own lunch. A lot of Chilean students do this. Invest in tupperware your first week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $80
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Avoid eating in the campus cafeterias, they are pricey. Buy bus tickets in advance when traveling; don't buy them online. Haggle with vendors at flea markets and on the streets.


* 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

It was direct enrollment, so Spanish was the default for all classes and social interactions.

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? one semester of Advanced Grammar and Composition
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? Don't hang out with other study abroad students.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Great classes offered
  • Political culture on campus
  • Drinking on campus
* What could be improved?
  • More housing options available beforehand
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The reputation of La Católica as an elitist institution amongst the Chilean public.

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.