it's what you make of it Past Review

By (Biology, General., Tufts University) - abroad from 07/14/2013 to 12/21/2012 with

Tufts Programs Abroad: Tufts in Chile

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
People are really not that different wherever you go but customs are SO DIFFERENT. That's what makes traveling uncomfortable and awesome.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

It was, unfortunately, not academically challenging at all, unless you specifically sought out difficult classes. The most difficult thing about academics was the bureaucracy of UChile which made registering and finding information about classes quite difficult. Academics aren't really why people go abroad though so I'm not giving this a lower score.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Amazing. A+ for the Carmen Gloria and Loreto. Tufts kids had it so much easier than kids in other programs. They're so accessible and do as much as they can to make it easy to register, travel, or whatever you want to do.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My family was great, very sweet. Most people I know were happy or at least okay with their families. Switching families isn't that difficult, one of my friends switched and she was really happy with her second family.

* Food:

I'm vegetarian and Chilean food is abysmal in that regard. Chilean food in general is pretty bland, with some high points. The fruit is great, especially avocados. If you're also vegetarian and plan on remaining vegetarian (which is what I did) prepare yourself for a lot of omelettes and salad. So much gross salad. My host family was wonderful about it though. A lot of it depends on who you end up with.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It's hard to isolate yourself from Chilean culture. You live with a family, you go to a Chilean school. I guess it's possible, but why would you want to?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any problems. Some friends did and they all turned out okay. I think there were some issues with paperwork and the health care system working differently but I'm pretty sure it was all resolved.

* Safety:

It's a city. Nowhere is particularly safe. Chileans seem to think that Santiago is some kind of den of violence and thievery though. My family was always warning me about something. I never got robbed or assaulted. Part of that was luck, part of it was not being an idiot. That being said, not everybody in our program was so lucky.

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)

You get a stipend from Tufts which I never spent all of. Everybody saves it for travel. I only spent my own money when I went on big trips (Bolivia, Patagonia etc).

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Outside of the stipend, $0. Not including travel.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Happy hour. When using taxis, ask for an estimate before you get in, otherwise they might charge you double or triple.


* 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

You literally cannot survive if you don't speak Spanish. You don't have to be fluent when you arrive but you do have to be willing to try.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 22
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 try thinking in Spanish maybe. Chilean Spanish sounds quite different so that's just something you'll have to get used to when you get there.

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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • 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?
  • Administrative support
  • Stipend
  • Time to travel
* What could be improved?
  • All classes at one university
  • Better communication about registration
  • A less intense orientation
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't be scared of messing up with you speak Spanish because you will mess up. You'll probably mess up at least every other thing you say. But people will understand you anyway. Perfect grammar is not necessary to communicate.

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!