Mejorar todo!! January 31, 2019

By (Political Science and Government, University of St. Thomas - Minnesota) - abroad from 08/27/2018 to 12/10/2018 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about myself. I pushed myself academically and excelled more then I ever knew I could. I will never forget this experience. This experience will never not cross mind.

Review Photos

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

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.

Hard intensity, Spanish is difficult to understand by the lectures and professors at first. Huge Spanish improvement if you come in with minor Spanish experience. Difficult challenge but worth it in the end.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Great professors. Very kind and they care about you

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family. They were so caring and treated me like an actual daughter. They kept me well fed and warm. They were always welcoming. My host mom made some of the best food I've ever had in my life. Lots of people smoke cigarettes in Chile , so if the smell and smoke bothers you I would be sure to say that in you application.

* Food:

I loved the food. I gained a lot of weight.. but the walking up and down hills helped balance it out. Chileans eat lots of bread, but it is some of the best bread I've ever had. The fresh smell of bread made my mouth water on my way to class everyday. I never liked tea before going to Chile, and now I have several cups a day!! Also lots of mayonnaise, sushi with cream cheese, empanadas, French fries, and completos. Be sure to try the sea food like ceviche.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I never felt fully integrated because I am an American with bright blonde hair and blue eyes, but I felt so comfortable with the everyday culture. It is an adjustment as first, but I promise you will feel at home when you start to adjust. I wanted to fit in with the culture as much as possible. I even bought Chilean wardrobe to fit in with the bar and club scene. It is important to speak the language of the country you are visiting!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Karina the woman who works with the health of the group was so helpful. She always offered her assistance when going to doctors appointments. If you ever needed to see a doctor, she got you an appointment that day! They have a great medical program in Chile.

* Safety:

It is important to use common sense and try and blend in with the natives. Don't use your phone in populated areas. Petty theft is common. Safe night life!

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

This program has helped me grow as a person and find my own identity. I have never met such amazing people. I have life long friends because of this program. This program taught me that anything is possible if you work hard for it. I have gained so much confidence in myself and in my academic ability. I wish everyone could experience something like this program. I am planning my next trip back already!

Finances

* 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)

The most expensive thing was food. I recommend eating at your home stay family's house. Saves money and they enjoy your company and talk.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30-50 US dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat at home. Eat empanadas. Look for cheap drink deals. Buy little snacks and groceries. Get sushi tablas with your friends. Don't buy a lot of souvenirs there is not a lot of room in your luggage! Take the bus or colectivo rather than Uber.

Language

* 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

Great encouragement. Professors got upset when you spoke English. Huge Spanish improvement during the program

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? College level 211
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? Talk to your host family. Go out to restaurants and the mall. Do everyday things. Take public transportation. Go out to the clubs and speak to people in Spanish and order in Spanish. Speak with the other students in your program in Spanish!! It is extremely difficult but it helps to practice. You need to speak Spanish all the time it is very crucial for improvement. It helps to plan trips with your friends and stay in hostels. Go to a coffee shop and make friends with the waiter or waitress. Be adventurous and confident. Practice and ask for help. SIT offers tutors, which is extremely helpful.

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

  • Americans
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?
  • Weekly excursions
  • Interesting Politics
  • Structure of the program
* What could be improved?
  • Very hard schoolwork
  • long days of class
  • organization
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? My Spanish needed to be better. I should have practiced my Spanish more or taken more classes before going. There is a lot of things you might need or want that is not on the packing list. Do your research. Save your money and do excursions. Try and plan a try before or after your program. Explore before you go and get comfortable before your program starts.

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!