Valparaiso is one of the best towns any college student could ask for Past Review

By (Sociology and Global Health, Rice University) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Definately. However, I would have liked some more academic interaction with people from my houst-country. One thing that really stands out in this program is the 2 week North/South excursion. I lived with a Mapuche (indian) family, experienced life on their farm, learned about their culture and was able to see a side of Chile that I don't think many see. Additionally, the month-long independent study program really allowed me to research a topic I wanted and experience what doing a real piece of research was like. Valparaiso is one of the best towns any college student could ask for, and spending time wandering its streets was one of the most exciting parts of my experience. Overall, the program was very good.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Fall 2008

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

SIT programs consist entirely (and olnly) of the Americans who chose to go on the program. The smallness of these groups and the lack of locals present can make the program seem stifiling. Additionally, classes lasted only for 6 weeks which meant that classes were 6 hours a day, not a normal college experience and something that students who are used to chosing their own schedule may find difficult. The trade off is that the last month of the program is spent doing an independent study project, which is entirely up to the student and which allows for the student to manage his or her own time.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was very kind and approachable but was also very inefficient. We would wait weeks to get back things we had turned in. The vast majority of the administration was from Chile and definately aided in helping me to different aspects of understand Chilean culture

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had an upper room in a two story house. <br /><br /> Housing was split between Vina del Mar and Valparaiso. I was in Vina - Vina is not where you want to be. That said, my family was wonderful, the house was completely adequate and it wasn't too hard to get to Valpo.

* Food:

Chorriana! Empanadas! Palta! Chilean food is fabulous(but Chilean drink is better).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Valparaiso is a young, up and coming, fun, beautiful city. It's hard not to have a fabulous time. There is lots of public and free art, a great nightlife scene, bohemian areas galore and never a lack of cerros (hills) to explore. The beach is great.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I have no idea, but it's inexpensive. However, it is the most developed South American country, so if you're used to Peruvian or Bolivian prices, it may seem a bit steep.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Fluent
Language acquisition improvement?

Chilean Spanish is much different than teh Spanish you learn is school. A lot of what I learned abroad was purely Chilean and is not very aplicable to the outside world. However, I find it very interesting. I did, on the other hand, get a lot of practice with grammar (which is the same as any Spanish grammar).

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Think if you really want to be taking classes only with Americans. Unfortunately, many programs offer only this (even some that are housed in host-country universities). Additionally, think if you will be able to do well in a program that goes from extremely strcutured to very unstrctured. Do you want a month-long independent study experience? Because that's a bit part of the program.