Past Review

By (International Relations And Community Health, Tufts University) for

Tufts Programs Abroad: Tufts in Chile

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes! I had a great time in Chile. I would say that academically it was not as challenging at Tufts but that may have been a good thing for me. It gave me the chance to take a step back and think about other things for once. I had the time to explore other interests, make friends, and reflect on what I want to do. And when I was done with the semester I was completely re-energized to take a full load of Tufts classes again.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Universidad de Chile
The term and year this program took place: Fall 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I ended up taking the Tufts Spanish course, a Chilean dance class, and my internship so my course load was very easy. I would have liked to have taken one more academic class but I didn't like the professor and I dropped the class after the deadline to add another class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Carmen Gloria was always willing to help and was very accesible via email, phone, or dropping into the office. I never really needed very much help but I felt like if I had needed anything or just wanted to talk I could have spent time in the office. The office was very organized with the weekly money and reimbursements. The organized events were fun and they responded to our needs. We asked about going skiing and the office planned a ski trip for a weekend when everyone could go.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a Chilean host family very close to the Escuela Militar subway stop in Las Condes. I lived in an apartment with a host mom, 2 sisters (18 and 19), and 2 Chilean students (19 and 20). I also had 2 brothers (23 and 25) who lived several minutes away with the grandma. I was really excited when I moved in because I thought that with so many young people around they would include me in their activities. I was disappointed though because they were not very interested in me. The apartment was not luxurious but it wasn't bad. I had my own room and shared the bathroom with one of the Chilean students. My host mom did all the cooking but we didn't eat meals together so she left the food in the refrigerator. <br /><br /> The family was not that welcoming but on my survey I did not recommend them for a host family next year. The neighborhood was nice and safe, and was close to the subway. It took about 40 minutes to get to class, 20 minutes to get downtown, and 20 minutes to get to Bellavista (nightlife).

* Food:

The food in my homestay was ok but not great. I was lucky because it was healthier than other people's food but it wasn't very gourmet. There was a lot of plain rice, plain chicken, hot dogs, and lentils. There were plenty of good restaurants but you had to look for them becaus the majority of Chilean food is cheap and greasy. However, I had lots of fun going out to eat so don't be discouraged by a few bad meals! We established an eating club with some Chilean friends and went out to eat different types of food together (Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, etc).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Try to make Chilean friends as soon as you can! They will make everything more memorable. The trips that Tufts arranged were a lot of fun. I also went to the south, the Lakes Region, the beach, and the Atacama. All of these trips were amazing.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Several people got sick and there was an incidence of food poisoning but I never got sick. There are several good clinics and hospitals and Carmen Gloria can tell you where to go. There were some issues with safety because petty crime is a problem in Santiago but I never had anything happen to me. A lot of it is being aware and not putting yourself in bad situations. Take radio taxis at night, go out in groups if possible, don't take any valuables out when you don't need to, don't where flashy jewelry, and hold on to your bags and keep them in sight so that pickpocketers can't get them.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? The stipend from Tufts more than covered my weekly expenses. Of course it depends on how much you want to spend but I used the subway every day, ate out a few times a week, went to an event or two each week, and went to bars or went dancing 2-3 times a week and still didn't spend more money than they gave me.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to be prepared to spend money. I saved money before I went so that I would have money to use to travel while I was abroad. I found that the Tufts stipend covered everything that I neede while I was in Santiago and even covered some of my travelling. Try not to say no to opportunities that will enhance your experience just because you want to save money. Most things are very reasonably proces in Santiago.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
Language acquisition improvement?

I was well prepared when I arrived because I had taken Spanish in high school and at Tufts. The initial transition was a bit of a shock because Chilean Spanish is very fast and very hard to understand. It took awhile to pick up on slang but the book, "Surviving in the Chilean Jungle" and my Chilean family and friends were very helpful. I tried to speak Spanish as much as possible but there were still a lot of times that I hung out with Americans and spoke English. I still think that my Spanish improved a lot and my confidence to speak improved tremendously.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Get excited, set some goals for yourself, be flexible, and most of all have a positive attitude. The experience will be great if you let it be great! Make Chilean friends. I know, it's hard. But try as hard as you can because it will be worth it!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Chilean Folkloric Dance

Course Department:
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This class was wonderful. The teacher was enthusiastic and loved having exchange students in his class. He taught us a lot about Chilean dance and culture and assigned several easy but interesting homeworks on cultural exhibits and locations in Santiago. It met once a week and translated to 1.5 art credits at Tufts. So fun!
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Historia Social de Chile

Course Department: Ciencias Sociales
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This class was terrible. Nobody showed up to the first class. The lectures were long and hard to understand and the professor frequently went off on tangents. It was interesting to observe the other students but I didn't get anything out of the class. I dropped the class the day before the deadline and I am glad that I did!
Credit Transfer Issues: