Bacán, no más Past Review

By (Health: Science Society and Policy, Brandeis University) - abroad from 02/26/2019 to 06/10/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Beyond the mountain of new information I learned about the public health system and the Mapuche and Aymara cultures, I also learned about interacting with people. I learned how no amount of book knowledge can beat meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds, and learning about their lives. I how to approach new experiences to get as much out of them as possible, and that I am much more capable on my own that I thought I was.

Review Photos

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

The academic rigor was always manageable and was never any more difficult than classes at my home university. The most challenging part of the coursework was the fact that all classes and assignments were in Spanish. This was difficult at first but it really helped improve my language abilities. I appreciated that the coursework was not graded as hard as at my university. This balanced out the added difficulty of the language.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Throughout my time in Chile, I was well-supported by the program staff and always felt like I had the resources and safety I needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The homestay aspect of this program was wonderful. My house was clean, I always felt comfortable, and my homestay family was easily the highlight of my experience. Overall, I felt truly at home while abroad.

* Food:

The food in Chile is not as flavorful as I expected, but this turned out to be a key aspect of their culture.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living with a homestay family was probably the best possible way to become integrated with Chilean culture. By the end of my program, I was surprised by how much I was able to integrate with the local culture and by how ‘chilean’ my fellow students and I became.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any health issues but a few of my friends did. The program staff did a great job helping out these students.

* Safety:

Arica (my host city) was very safe. I still took precautions but even while walking around at night I never felt unsafe.

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)

The program took care of most things like housing and food, so it was very easy to live on a students budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $20 USD or less
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep track of what you spend! I only did this toward the end of the trip but it would’ve been really helpful to keep track of my spending for the whole semester abroad. Also, a conversion trick we came up with that seemed to work was the following: Divide USD amount by 1.5 the multiply by 1000 = CLP Divide CLP by 1000 then multiply by 1.5 = USD Example: 7 USD divided by 1.5 = 4.666 multiplied by 1000 = about 4666 CLP 12500 CLP divided by 1000 = 12.5 multiplied by 1.5 = about 18 USD It’s not 100% accurate but it helps to get an estimate.


* 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

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? Don’t be afraid of messing up. If you don’t want to make a mistake you won’t ever speak Spanish. Embrace the process of making mistakes and get as much practice as you can. You’ll be surprised how fast you improve when everything you do is in Spanish. Also encourage other students in your cohort to speak Spanish together. That will make a huge difference, and is a great way to practice (since everyone is still learning).

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?
  • My fantastic host family
  • The once-in-a-lifetime excursion experiences
  • Cultural immersion
* What could be improved?
  • Free time for exploring
  • Shorter, more manageable classes
  • Equal attention to public health as there is on traditional medicine
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Stepping out of your comfort zone is the best part of studying abroad. I found that some of my favorite and most memorable moments in Chile were when I stepped out of my comfort zone and challenged myself with new experiences. Talk to as many people as you can and soak up every moment abroad!

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.'