¡Viva Chile! Past Review

By (Elementary Education, University of Northern Iowa) - abroad from 05/30/2012 to 07/31/2012 with

University of Northern Iowa: Arica - Culture and Intensive Spanish Program (CISP)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about the culture in Chile, but also about my own culture. I have a much greater respect for people that come to the U.S. to learn English; it must be very challenging for them. I believe that after traveling to Chile, I can now easily have a conversation in Spanish and be able to understand someone else. I also learned a lot about the history of Arica and Chile while I was in Chile. The difference between learning this in a foreign country and learning it from a textbook is that I could ask people who had been through some of the experiences questions and get a real-life story as a response. It really was a neat experience, and I know I grew a lot as an adult during my time in Chile.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: The University of Tarapacá
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I loved my classes and really learned a lot from them!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I liked the college in Chile a lot. The professors were great there!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family!!!! They were so nice and really took good care of me.

* Food:

The food was alright. I definitely got a taste of the culture. I really liked completos and hamburgers though.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living with a Chilean family really helped me integrate into the culture. They gave me so many new insights into the culture and I believe this is the best way to learn about another culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did get sick my first week in Chile. I ended up going to the hospital where I was treated for Salmonella. My host mother took me and she spoke some English so between the two of us we could communicate with the doctor. I was also given a bilingual doctor which helped. The hospital was quick in caring for me and it was clean. I was also provided 3 nurses to care for me. I was also given prescriptions that my host mother explained to me when I got home. I purchased the premium ISIC card, which I would suggest, because it covers health expenses when your insurance won't. My host mother was the main person that supported me while I was sick. The professors were also very understanding when I was ill and told me to take my time when recovering.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Arica. Be careful when traveling to Peru. Place locks on your backpacks, because we had some students get stuff stolen. Also, when in the clubs, be sure to keep a close eye on your purses, because the color of your skin does make you an easy target if you are not paying attention. I took a colectivo home many nights and then asked them to take me directly to my house. I felt a lot safer doing this and it is cheaper than a taxi. Otherwise, I felt very safe in Chile while I was there.

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)

Everything is very cheap, especially in Peru. Remember to barter!!

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30-$60
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Barter with those selling gifts you want.


* 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

The families spoke Spanish which was great! The group wanted to speak English when we were together, so I would suggest spending time with more of the Chileans.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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? Oral and Written
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Talk, talk, talk!!!!!!! Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Take a notebook and write down new phrases that you learn. It helps a lot!!!!! Ask questions when you don't understand, especially in class because the professors are very helpful.

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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • My family was so sweet to me.
  • The excursions were diverse and fun!
  • My free week really helped me with my Spanish skills.
* What could be improved?
  • Communication between participants and leaders.
  • Give grades throughout the semester.
  • Timeliness
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Just be sure to ask about your grades and such before leaving for the summer.