Where do I even begin? I want to be completely transparent and not romanticize study abroad. Overall, I really enjoyed my time while in Santiago. I loved my host family and the other people on my program. Also Isa, the resident director, is an absolute gem! Get to know her and go to the office to chat with her!
I was fortunate enough to have a good support system, but I can definitely see how my time could've been drastically different if I didn't have that. I felt that living in Santiago was fairly affordable and overall the people were really nice. The Atacama Trip with IFSA was incredible!! Definitely one of the highlights of my time there. I also had the opportunity to travel throughout the country. I recommend taking the time to get outside of the city to see another side of the country. If you do have a desire to travel, plan that out as soon as possible because your time in country will fly by!
One thing I wish I had known was how difficult Chilean Spanish would be to understand. It's vastly different from other Spanish accents and dialects and there are a ton of "Chilenismos" that likely won't make sense to you. Give it some time and don't be too hard on yourself if it doesn't click at first. You just have to give it some time.
This program is great for people who want to be challenged with their Spanish and who are comfortable with change. I would absolutely recommend.