IFSA: Chilean Universities Program, Santiago

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About

Looking for an unparalleled way to improve your Spanish language skills while getting some college credit? Then IFSA has the perfect program for you! Students can attend one of the following universities in the Santiago, Chile area: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad de Chile and Universidad Diego Portales. Each university has a different feel, so students should take the time to pick which is the best fit for them. All IFSA students are required to take a Spanish language class and live with a carefully selected Chilean host family during the program. This guarantees that their Spanish language skills will drastically improve, due to an unquantifiable amount of exposure to the language. Check out all of the details today by consulting the IFSA website!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

82%
based on 5 reviews
  • Academics 6.6
  • Support 7.8
  • Fun 8.8
  • Housing 7.6
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
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David
8/10

Fun, friends and (host) family in Chile

Five months is a lot to cover in one review, so I guess I'll start off with just that: the length of the program was nice, as it allowed a lot of the work to be spread out. In addition, it gave a good amount of time to get to know the city and host family. One of my favorite parts of the trip was my host family: I had a sister about my age, and a little two year old nephew who lived at home and was so much fun to play with. It was a very vibrant experience, and it really added a lot to my time.
Although the city of Santiago isn't the most charismatic place, there is a LOT to see and do. Five months isn't even enough to scratch the surface. It was nice that classes were located on different campuses in different regions of the city, which forces you to get out and about. I really enjoyed that the program has a set office location, which is in a very good central location. Also a highlight was Isa, the program director, who was one of my favorite people I met in Chile. Overall, I do have some unfulfilled wishes for my study abroad experience, but I'm really happy with the opportunity that IFSA provided.

How can this program be improved?
Give more opportunities to meet Chilean students, more info on the class selection process, more programming by IFSA for students
Yes, I recommend this program
Nadia
6/10

Santiago

Santiago is an interesting city! As a Latina from the U.S the culture is definitely different then what I was used to. Nonetheless, there are warm people who will be willing to help you. I found this in my host mom who is an amazing woman that I still remain in contact with today. The city itself can be a little overwhelming to get used to with all the bus routes and subway system but once you master the systems you can travel to different parts of Santiago with ease.

If the city life doesn't appeal to you have no worries because there are a number of parks and hiking trails close by. One of the things I enjoyed the most about my time in Santiago, Chile was ironically leaving the city and exploring different parts of Chile and South America as a whole.

A tip I have is to do your research on pre-paid phones when abroad as I know this was a challenge for many students on my trip. When I was abroad WOM was the most economical and reliable for phone service.

How can this program be improved?
As a person of color living in Santiago, a majority white city there were times I felt uncomfortable as I did not know how I would be received in different spaces. I think IFSA could do a better job sharing the realities of what students of color may experience.
Response from Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)

Dear Nadia,
Thank you so much for taking the time to review your experience on the IFSA Chilean Universities, Santiago, program. I'm sorry to hear that your semester abroad wasn't quite what you hoped it would be. We would love to hear more about your concerns and how we can do better moving forward, so please don't hesitate to email us at [email protected] to start a conversation.
Best wishes,
Katherine

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jessica
8/10

Chillin in Chile

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.

How can this program be improved?
The biggest struggle I had was when selecting classes to take while in-country. It felt that there wasn't as much support in providing information on classes that would be best for students to take. I recommended that the office keep some sort of archive of student evaluations for classes so that future participants have a better idea of what they were getting themselves into. I think that perspective was missing.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Gergana
10/10

Fantastic Experience! I highly recommend it if you're looking for language and cultural immersion!

Studying abroad in Valparaíso, Chile through IFSA-Butler was a fantastic experience! Even thought I was there during the student protests of 2011 and my university was closed, I received a lot of support from IFSA-Butler staff in Valparaíso to ensure that my semester abroad was everything I intended for it to be. Although I was not able to take classes with Chilean university students, as was originally expected, my classes were still taught by Chilean professors and they were challenging. In addition, I had a wonderful experience living with my host family and I was able to meet other Chilean students. I also volunteered for a local organization, which was overseen by the IFSA-Butler staff. This allowed me to meet new people and add a unique, meaningful experience to my semester abroad. The city is a lot of fun and there are ample opportunities for cultural and language immersion, as well as travel within the country and the rest of the continent.

How can this program be improved?
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
brieannawin
9/10

A unique city full of unique places and experiences

I would definitely recommend this program. There were some safety concerns while I was there- Student education protests (I accidentally got tear-gassed!). My host family was incredible however and the city of Santiago is unique in that there are all different types of barrios depending on what you want to do/what you are looking to do. The metro takes you everywhere and the taxis are well priced and bus travel to other cities is CHEAP. So many different types of experiences made it so special. I did feel like the staff could have provided a lot more support- we basically had to figure everything out on our own but that did make it so we knew what we were doing by the end of my stay!

Yes, I recommend this program

About Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)

The Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988. Our primary goal is to provide quality study abroad opportunities, plus academic and personal support services, for qualified North American undergraduates seeking to...