Livin' la vida chilena Past Review

By (Whitman College) - abroad from 02/23/2016 to 06/08/2016 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained the sense of wellbeing while living in a new place, learned content about public health in Chile, gained the experience of designing and executing my own anthropological research project. It was 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.

The academics of the program have room for improvement as the classes are largely lecture based with little beyond that for students to productively engage with the material. Your understanding of level dictates your understanding of the content. Your Spanish will improve immensely. Despite the lower quality of the courses, this gives students time to really enjoy Chile and connect with people and the new place. The program's strengths were the independent research project that each student does as well as the field site visits in which students learn about indigenous medicine through interactions with indigenous leaders.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Well managed, well organized.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The homestay were fantastic and a highlight of the program! Le extraño a mi familia chilena!

* Food:

Food was good, the program makes sure everyone is fed with all sorts of dietary restrictions able to be accomodated.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living in Chilean culture was a highlight, definitely the most challenging and exciting part of the program was to be living in a new social sphere. While most of my closest relations were with American peers on the program because the program only serves US students, by connecting with my host family and traveling I was able to experience integration with local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Overall, health issues were well taken care of. There were some inconveniences students experienced while seeking medical attention in a new place, but overall everything was well managed.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Chile. Everyone must take basic precautions to avoid theft and other scenarios and I had to be more cognizant than I normally am, but overall I felt secure.

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

I learned so much from my experience and relations formed! I grew to have a deep understanding of public health and indigenous health in Chile and gained valuable research experience.


* 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)

Very easily, only some costs to be spent to engage in optional outings with friends, but cost of living is pretty cheap.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $10
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Figure out the currency exchange rate early so you understand how much you are paying for everything!


* 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

We were always encouraged to speak Spanish during any program event which helped all of us improve our Spanish skills.

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? 325
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? Just embrace the language when you get there, don't be afraid to make mistakes!

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?
  • Language Acquisition
  • Develop relationships with Chileans and peers
  • Opportunity for independent research
* What could be improved?
  • Class engagement in the material
  • Critical discussions
  • Student respect to program and community
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Understand that you get out what you put in. If you intentionally engage with material and classes independently, put thought into your research project, engage with the local community, you will have a productive experience!

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!