During the school year I knew I wanted to study abroad, as many graduates I have talked to along the way said that was the one thing they regret never doing. I was too far into my major meaning if I went during the school year I'd have to push back graduation by a semester. Luckily, I found out API offers a fantastic summer program to fulfill my wish.
I chose Chile over Espana and Europe because of expenses. I've also always been more attracted to the Latin culture due to their inviting, homey attitude. I knew I wanted to improve my understanding and speaking of the Spanish language, as well as gain a strong sense of an outside culture. API sent me to PUCV in Valparaiso, and I was able to accomplish just that. The host family was fantastic. They were so welcoming, kind and caring. The location was great, very close proximity to not only the university, but also the downtown city, the beach, the malls and shops, the local stadium, etc.
Public transportation was great. I was a 2 minute walk from the metro. Taxis, buses, and 'colectivos' (taxis with predetermined routes, meaning much lower cost) literally passed by the doorstep. The highlight, however, is the university. While difficult at times, the classes were a necessary challenge to improve my language skills. The school offers many sport programs that international students are able to join, as well as a gym, weight room, dance/yoga studio, and a computer lab. Off-season classes are taken with international students only. The classes, however, are instructed in Spanish only.
Weekends will be packed with traveling and activities thanks to great on-location API directors. Keep in mind that the work load will be big, and the readings lengthy, but if you really want to boost your language skills and explore a new corner of the world, I recommend this program.