Eye-opening and breath-taking! Past Review

By (Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado - Boulder) - abroad from 02/24/2014 to 06/08/2014 with

SIT Study Abroad: Chile - Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Community Empowerment

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My semester abroad in Chile utilized lectures, discussions and shadowing to fully understand the topics of public health, traditional medicine, and community empowerment in the Chilean, Peruvian, Aymará, and Mapuche populations. Throughout the semester our program traveled to the towns of Temuco in southern Chile, Putre in the high desert of northern Chile, and Tacna in southern Peru. Each of these unique excursions, allowed for the opportunity to learn about a diverse range of subjects directly from the locals. We also had the privilege to learn the direct perspective of traditional medicine from the different medicine men, pharmacists, and women’s health care professionals of the indigenous populations. In the final month of my program I relocated to central Chile in the beautiful urban city of Viña Del Mar, in order to carry out my investigation on the adults’ general understanding of preventative measures for hypertension, and if these adults are concurrently following these methods of prevention in their daily lives. This independent study project, allowed me to adapt to the culture in an unguided way, where I gained unforgettable skills. Every day throughout the semester I was truly immersed in the culture, whether if it was living with my host family; living in my own apartment in an unfamiliar area and learning to navigate around the second largest city in Chile; or having lunches, games, activities, and discussions with children, students, health professionals, professors, and elderly all throughout the program. YES definitely worthwhile

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.

Demanding, but in a supportive and engaging environment.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Wow, outstanding and passionate administration.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Each host family is very unique, and the host program director does her best to match up each student with the most suited family.

* Food:

They eat a lot of bread! The food is not like the US, but always delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated in the culture in every aspect, except all of our classes were only with out group, so we were not integrated into a local university.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Living with Celiac disease, by program was beyond helpful and accommodating so that I would not get sick.

* Safety:

I never once felt threatened, but I was always very aware of my surroundings and avoided situations that I knew would be dangerous or I would be vulnerable.

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)

Living with my host family, living on a budget was very easy, but traveling around was very difficult to remain cheap.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The buses are super cheap, and the LAN-PASS is the way to get cheap flights in South America is you are going to fly to three or more destinations.


* 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 the classes were in Spanish, and I only spoke English with the other people on my 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? Spanish in Conversation, after 4 semesters of college spanish
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? Watch movies, listen to music, and read the newspaper in Spanish.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
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?
  • The friends and directors.
  • The acedemic excursions.
  • The different types of landscapes in Chile, that we visited.
* What could be improved?
  • Longer time, 1 or 2 more weeks
  • Less scattered of classes with excursions, needs to be more uniform
  • More integration with the student locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish my Spanish was on a higher when the program started.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'