Great People, Great Places, And OK Academics Past Review

By (HSSP, Brandeis University) - abroad from 02/23/2016 to 06/05/2016 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
People, more than places, will shape how you view things and the world at large. Chile is a great place to live and learn and has an interesting model for intercultural health. There are problems society faces everywhere due to historical events and there are lots of different solutions that can be used to tackle them.

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.

Rigorous to an extent...Spanish classes were not very serious and the seminars on public health/traditional medicine were pretty repetitive. Homework was not taken seriously but essays were assigned frequently and taken quite seriously.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Sometimes disorganized but overall, the administrators are nice and interesting people. Casa SIT was a good place to hangout and get resources and it was situated near our homes.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Homestays can be really great - it is definitely a good way to work on your Spanish and get to know the area better. My experience was tough because my homestay family's schedule/lifestyle/values were very different from my own.

* Food:

Arica has pretty good sushi restaurants! I mainly ate at home with my host family but some days I went out with friends from the program. Bolognesi is a cool place where you can sit in a plaza and get food from 4 different restaurants (and huge mojitos)!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There isn't much "local culture" to speak of in Arica. The carretes (house parties) and ferias (flea markets) are big in Arica so I got experience going to those frequently but overall I didn't feel much "culture shock" or a point of "integration with local culture" on my program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Everyone who received care spoke highly of it and the program was good about getting students care quickly and whenever they needed it.

* Safety:

I had money stolen from me at the beginning of the program but otherwise I felt safe and so did other participants. Be smart and watch/lock up your stuff!

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

The people that go on this program are awesome and the type of people you wouldn't mind spending a semester with in close quarters. Everyone on my program was passionate, smart, driven, intellectual, fun, and adventurous. It definitely aided the actual program, which had a few setbacks academically. Most classes were repititive and site visits were interesting but pretty similar all around. Arica is beautiful and the home stay component is good for the program - I loved getting to travel as well with my program.


* 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)

Things are pretty cheap! Alcohol especially.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $12
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat with your homestay family so you don't spend money on going out and pregame instead of buying drinks at bars or clubs.


* 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

I wish the program encouraged greater use of the language. We often spoke to each other in English. We were not allowed to use English in the classroom or in Casa SIT (most of us broke that rule pretty quickly) but during classes and homestay time, only Spanish was used.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? HISP 105
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 Spanish TV! Learn Chilenismos! Practice, practice, practice. Speaking is more important than writing well in Spanish when you're abroad. Be confident and try to work on a Chilean accent so you're taken more seriously when you speak. Make sure you hangout with your host family and utilize them to practice and learn more Spanish/Chilenismos.

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Travelling to Putre and Makewe
  • Program participants
  • Site visits
* What could be improved?
  • Spanish program
  • Schedule overall/for classes
  • Seminars/Assignments
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Practice spanish as much as possible! And go into your home stay family with a friendly approach and open mind.

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.