From the Andes Mountains, to the Atacama Desert, Chile is a nature and South America lover’s dream. Chile spans across the west coast of the continent, and has cultural influences from Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia.
Study, volunteer, or travel here as a high schooler and master your Spanish while living with a host family. Get to know other Chilean students over a game of fútbol. Learn about Chilean culture by admiring the artsy street murals. Whether you're a pro at Spanish, or just beginning and want to learn more about this beautiful country, there's a program for you.
Parents will love this one: Chile is one of the safest and most economically stable countries in South America. Still need more convincing? Buzzfeed's list of reasons why you should be in Chile right now should do the trick.
Chile is best for students who: Want to practice their Spanish, have a service-learning adventure, love empanadas and ice cream, and want to learn more about the history of South America.
Photo Credits: Street and Travel Art.
If you're interested in doing high school abroad in Chile, you can choose from:
- A semester or full year exchange
- A summer study abroad program
- A multi-country travel program
High School Exchange
Focused on cultural immersion and language, high school exchange opportunities in Chile will really help you to master your knowledge of South America before heading off to college.
Are you a beginner level Spanish student? No problem. Some high school exchange programs have beginner intensive language courses to really prepare you for your coursework ahead. Living with a host family in Santiago, Valparaíso, or Los Ángeles and taking classes alongside Chilean students will really help you get the most out of this experience.
Summer Study Abroad
Are semester or yearlong programs not for you? No worries. There are several summer term programs in Chile that also focus on language and cultural immersion. You can either spend your entire summer in Chile, or travel throughout South America for a few weeks, depending on the program of choice.
There's even a summer program for students who want to practice their Spanish on the ski slopes in the Andes. (Remember, our seasons are opposite, so our summer is their winter.)
Programs based in Chile for the duration of the summer study abroad term will partner you up with a host family, which will really help with your language skills before college.
Multi-Country Travel Program
If you believe that travel is the best way to learn, then this three-year program at sea may be just what you’re looking for. Take intensive courses in English while traveling and learning about what you read in your textbooks as a sophomore, junior, and senior in high school.
Planning your Trip
Prior to 2014, people from the US, Canada, and Mexico had to pay a reciprocity fee of more than $100 to enter Chile. Luckily, the fee has since been removed.
Students staying for 90 days or less do not have to pay any fees, nor do they need to acquire a visa in advance. Instead, they will receive a tourist card on arrival that they must return at the departure of their time in Chile (so don't lose it!). Students studying on semester or yearlong programs however, will need to apply for a student visa. Most program providers help students with this though.
It's important to note that students planning to visit Patagonia will need to pay a reciprocity fee for Argentina prior to arriving at the border.
Depending on the type of program you choose, you could be placed in a homestay, or share a hotel room with a fellow classmate on a traveling program. These fees are included in your program costs.
The official currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso. Currently, the exchange rate is 727.97 Chilean Pesos per $1 USD.
Being the metropolitan country that it is, Chilean prices are up to par with those in the US. A typical lunch can cost around $5, where as dinner costs closer to $15. We recommend budgeting about $200 a week, to be on the safe side.
The price of a program itself really varies depending on type and program provider. Summer programs that run for three weeks cost about $5,495. Semester long programs can cost between $6,100- $12,880, and the cost for an academic year is $7,700-$14,700. A multi-country travel program could cost up to $55,000 for the entire year.
Like the US, Chile also experiences four different seasons. Here’s a list of some things you shouldn’t forget at home.
- A light jacket for chilly nights
- A rain jacket for the spring
- Comfortable shoes
- Clothing that can be mixed and matched, as well as layered
- A plug adapter for 220-240 V, and a voltage converter if you want to use hair dryers
Health & Safety
Prior to entering Chile, you must be caught up on all of your routine vaccines, such as measles, the chickenpox, and Hepatitis.
The CDC also recommends getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B, and Typhoid. More information can be found on the CDC's website.
Chileans eat a lot of potatoes, beans, fish, and meat. If you are a seafood or empanada lover, you will definitely enjoy Chilean cuisine.
Tap water is okay in bigger cities like Santiago and Viña del Mar. Students should purchase bottled water in more rural areas though.
Like most places around the world, students should be aware of possible pickpocketers. We really recommend making copies of your passport and bank information/cards incase they get robbed. To minimize the chance of theft, we recommend using a traveler’s belt, hidden under your clothing.