I went into the SU Abroad Santiago program not knowing anyone in the program and it turned out to be amazing. I went to Ecuador as a part of the 1 month program there and then later to Santiago. The people I went to Chile with are now great friends and I learned and grew as a person in this 6 month experience more than I ever could have anticipated.
In Santiago you can take almost any class that you want and becoming and student at PUC or UChile makes the experience incredibly immersive and rewarding. The Human Rights classes offered to SU students through the SU center are two of the best and most important classes I have ever taken. Classes in all Spanish are initially very challenging but help with language proficiency. Being put in a Chilean University also means that students in the program typically make Chilean and other international friends.
I came into the program with very limited Spanish knowledge. Between classes and the homestay, I gained fluency before the end of the program.
The staff at the SU center are so supportive and amazing. I have never talked to someone from the program that didn't have great things to say about Mauricio and Paula.
Homestay can be difficult, but is an incredible experience for cultural and language immersion. The SU center is sensitive to cultural issues and will help students if they need to change their living situation.
Santiago is an amazing city. It is a great size and has excellent public transport. I was initially intimidated by living in a city but quickly overcame this and loved how much there was to do and how easy it was to get around. Some parts of the city (like any city) are unsafe at times. I rarely felt uncomfortable, even late at night. It is easy to avoid putting yourself in a bad situation by being aware of your surroundings.
Travel within Chile (and South America) is easy and cheap. The program encourages students to travel, and the program includes lots of travel.
This program is an AMAZING experience