Chilean Spanish & Development in a Recently-Founded Democracy Past Review

By (International Relations And Global Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 08/26/2013 to 12/09/2013 with

SIT Study Abroad: Chile - Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Above all, language skills! International exposure, participation in and knowledge about a new culture, connections and friendships with Chileans… Yes! It was definitely worthwhile!

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

SIT does everything they can to match you with a great host family, and is very responsive to any difficulties that may arise

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

A few of us got altitude sickness while in the North of Chile, and SIT was very helpful and took us to a nearby clinic where we were treated immediately.

* Safety:

While Chile is very safe, you are still in South America (and in Valparaiso or Santiago, are in a big city) so it is important to be aware of where your bag/money/camera, etc. is at all times. Also, dressing a bit more modestly can help avoid unwanted attention on the streets.

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)

Food and transportation is cheaper than in the states

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Decide what you want to spend your money on while abroad, and budget accordingly (i.e., travel, going out with friends, etc.). Also, keep track of what you are spending so you are aware if you are staying within your budget limits.


* 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

All of the classes were taught in Spanish, and we only spoke Spanish with our academic directors

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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? 104
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? Speak to your friends from the program in Spanish--although it's easy to revert to English, it's a great way to continuously practice. Set "rules" (e.g., "first hour of dinner when we go out is always in Spanish")

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Getting to live with an indigenous family
  • The independent study portion
  • The emphasis on language
* What could be improved?
  • The seminars were a bit disconnected/felt more like lectures
  • It would have been nice to have some classes/encounters with local students
  • Improved communication between the directors and students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Things will generally work out--it's okay to go with the flow and realize that different cultures work differently.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.