ISA Study Abroad: Valparaíso & Viña del Mar, Chile

Video and Photos

Valley in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine
Horseback riding on the beach!
Visiting the Pacific Ocean for the first time!
My host family!


Study in Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Chile with ISA. Students can participate in a program at either the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso or the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. Both are incredibly prestigious universities, focusing on different specializations. The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) offers intensive month, semester, summer, back to back and internship opportunities for its students. The Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI) is AACSB accredited and offers business courses taught in English, and the ability for advanced Spanish speakers to enroll in courses with locals.

Service-Learning and Internship opportunities are available.

Let ISA take care of all of the details for you, so you can relax and enjoy your time abroad. With constantly available support, and a great track record of students who would agree to this, you can feel confident placing your trust in ISA. Check out their website today!


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$350 - $2,000

Questions & Answers


based on 13 reviews
  • Academics 6.7
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 8.2
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
Yes, I recommend this program

Chile Changed My Life.

I could sit here and write to you all day about how beautiful Valparaíso and Viña del Mar are, how good the food is, how my Spanish competency skyrocketed from being in an area with an unorthodox dialect, how relevant and informative my classes were, how great the nightlife is, how many friends and connections (Chilean and otherwise) I made, how awesome my host family is and how I still keep in touch with them... there are so many things I could say, but we'd be here all day. I think the biggest factor is how I still miss it every day, 3.5 years after spending 5 months there. I think of how hard it was to leave, how I could've easily spent another semester or year there if it were at all feasible, how my host mom had to console me by reminding me that I wasn't losing anything by leaving, that I had gained a family. Although I got very close to my host family and they were the highlight of my experience, I think of all the confidence I gained, all the memories I made, how strange it was that I gained a second home. I really felt like home in Chile... so much so that when I was able to sneak back to Viña for a week a year after I left, I had the same feeling of warmth and comfort that I got when I traveled back to my small town in eastern Kentucky from my college town of Lexington. A lot of that is due to Chile itself, but ISA was instrumental in me being as impacted as I was by my experience abroad. From the choice in classes and excursions, helpfulness and know-how of a staff that was genuinely interested in each and every student, the ISA office that was right across the street from the Casa Central of PUCV, down to even just how the program was planned all gave me the freedom and agency to really see Chile for what it was, with nothing logistically or administratively for me to worry about. Chile is phenomenal, ISA is phenomenal, and I would pack my bags and head back right this second if I was given the chance. I wholeheartedly believe anyone and everyone can find something about Chile to fall in love with. Go.

What would you improve about this program?
I would've liked more pre-departure help from my Site Specialist.
Yes, I recommend this program

ISA Study Abroad in Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, Chile

The fisherman at the market glanced at me oddly when I asked if I could have the intestines of the mackerels he was gutting. “Es para mi clase de zoologia,” I explained. As I hung on for dear life trying to keep the bag of entrails from whacking passengers, the rollercoaster ride up the Valparaiso hills to the biology campus was an extra challenge that day. How worth it though! After three hours in the lab finding various parasites and observing them under the microscope followed by a two hour theoretical lecture, I had learned so much - not only about biology and Spanish, but also about the culture.

What would you improve about this program?
The study abroad students were very isolated from the rest of the local students. Promoting interaction between international and domestic students would be beneficial for everyone.
Yes, I recommend this program

¡Vo dale!

I woke up daily to hear pan-flutes playing outside in the street, and found myself noticing a new work of art everyday. Someone is always juggling or playing a guitar, and there was a great night life as well as enough outdoor adventure opportunities for a lifetime of amazement. Genuine people, culture, and life to be found in Chile, especially in the artist friendly Valparaíso.

What would you improve about this program?
I loved the staff, program, and country itself.
Yes, I recommend this program

The Experience of a Lifetime- Chile 2013

I studied abroad in Chile through the International Study Abroad program and absolutely loved it. I took 12 credits worth of Advanced level Spanish classes at the local university in Valparaiso, and lived with the most amazing host family. The ISA staff truly helped to make each student feel comfortable and safe, and even provided us with homework help and events that allowed us to meet other Chileans! I remember thinking how hard it was for me to understand the Chilean’s when they spoke to me because they speak so fast and they use a lot of “chilenismos” (vocabulary specific only to Chile) but my host mom was a wonderful tutor and would write new words that I learned each day on the tiles of her kitchen with a dry erase marker so that I could see them and practice them daily which was a huge help! I loved my time in Chile and really adapted to their culture and lifestyle, so much so that I still consider Chile my home.

What would you improve about this program?
I would like if the ISA staff provided more guidance regarding in country trips or excursions that students would like to do on their own time and aside from the pre-paid budget of the program.
Read my full story
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in Valpo!

I can only think positive things about my experience in Valparaíso. Volunteering at Centro Bellavista, the Special Education Center, and working with the psychologist was such a great experience for me and so much fun. In the US, I have heard the statement, "The only disability in life is a bad attitude." Working at this placement allowed me to see the truth of that statement. Working with the students and helping them in their everyday school life was such a joy for me. The children always put a smile on my face no matter what. I loved the Chilean culture (especially the food), and my host family was SO caring and friendly. They made me feel like one of their own children. I still keep in touch with my host brothers on a regular basis. I really wish I could have stayed longer than a month so that I could have traveled more, but I will definitely have to return to Chile in my future. Overall, this was an amazing and valuable experience. I was able to immerse myself in the culture, strengthen my Spanish-skills, and gain life-changing skills that allowed me to grow in so many ways. Although it was hard at first to communicate with the locals (taking into account their accent, local lingo, and how fast they talk), but at the end I was able to realize that this only made me a better Spanish speaker.

What would you improve about this program?
I think it would be beneficial to organize activities with the local university students and ELAP (volunteer program) students. Since I was not taking classes, sometimes I did not know about activities that were going on.
Yes, I recommend this program

Veritas in Chile

I had an amazing semester in Chile! I was in the ISA Veritas program, which provides opportunities to join local Christian ministries while attending school. There were so many opportunities to build relationships with Chileans, other students from the U.S., as well as other international students. I loved being a part of a Chilean family, being a part of a local church, and learning the Spanish language through classes and immersion!

What would you improve about this program?
ISA hosts conversation times where Chileans who want to practice their English and ISA students who want to practice their Spanish come to converse. Another one or two of these events may have been nice.
Yes, I recommend this program

For anyone interested in Spanish proficiency and Adventure!

When abroad, I was terrified of the language component, but it is said that if you can learn Spanish in Chile, you can understand Spanish anywhere. And it is true. I went from a shy, ok Spanish speaker to truly proficient. I participated in a Service Learning Internship as an Assistant Professor for teaching English in an all-girls school. It was an amazing experience that taught me so much about other school systems and about myself.
I was able to make many friends even though it was difficult at first. Host families can be difficult to adjust to because many are not very similar to your own family (no family is the same) but they are great for language purposes and meeting new people.

I was able to travel easily as a woman, and found the country to be very safe. I am a huge hiker and outdoor enthusiast, so this part of the world was perfect! It is greatly affordable, which was very important to me (I was paying for my time abroad). I went out on the weekends to immerse myself in the Chilean culture and to meet others.

Overall, it was an amazing experience!

What would you improve about this program?
I would like if transportation was included because that can add up.
Yes, I recommend this program

Valparaiso Mi Amor

In the famous words of Pablo Neruda I love this city and the entire country of Chile. Chile has so much to offer to the adventurous college student. I wish every day that I was back there living every minute as an adventure. Not a day went by when I didn’t learn hundreds of new things whether that was learning yet another new meaning for the word “raja” or seeing the birthplace of poet Gabriella Mistral.
There is adventure in every direction. In the host city of Valparaiso there at sweeping views of hills packed with brightly colored houses, full of life and culture. To the west is the expansive coastline of the pacific and the elusive Easter Island. To the east the gorgeous snow-capped Andes mountains that offer countless hikes and breathtaking ski trips. To the north the driest desert in the world where you feel so close to the sky that you can touch the stars. To the south is the legendary Patagonian region that speaks for itself as one of the wonders of the world.
I stayed with a host family that welcomed me with open arms. I still talk to my host mom on a regular basis. I lived with her and my Chilean grandmother; they quickly became more than just a temporary family. My Chilean mom used to dance and sing in folklore musical group that performed throughout central Chile. When independence week came around I was taught the traditional dance (the Cueca) and dressed in and old costume to perform the dance at celebrations with my family. My Chilean grandmother even knitted me a lunchbox of my favorite colors so that I could sport it in style on my commute to school every day. I miss them so much. I can’t wait to make it back to Chile so that I can give them a hug again. I made Chilean friends, I joined a Frisbee league and the accepted me into their teams and we all hung out every weekend.
The ISA staff is wonderful, they really do make the transition easy and offer support in all areas of concern. Would recommend. I am jealous of all students who apply for this program and get to go.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish that ISA had provided more ways to meet native Chileans. I feel that while I did a decent job of expanding my social circle outside of ISA students, many students buddy up and don't get the full experience of interacting with Chileans their age. While ISA offers language exchange programs, they are limited and could offer more meetings.

The ISA offered excursions that the not included are pretty expensive and can be done for much cheaper on your own. I can see that the Pucon trip has been switched from included to not included. This is highly unfortunate I bet it will be very costly. I would recommend going there on your own though, this was the coolest excursion they offered by far.
Yes, I recommend this program

Valpo, Chile

I loved my time in Chile. I loved that my classes assigned homework that forced me to get to know the community by speaking with natives and exploring the area. I feel much more proficient in Spanish after my time abroad.
My host family was incredible. They were very intentional about making me comfortable and talking to me each day. Every day when I left for school, my host mom would tell me she loved me. They even had a dog - truly my host home felt like my home in America.
I enjoyed the opportunities to travel and get to know the country. I think it is important to explore because you never know when you will be able to return.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish I would have known who from the states would also be on my trip ahead of time. I am a planner and would liked to have spent extra time in Chile on the front or tail end of the study abroad just exploring, but my parents didn't want me to do some things by myself. The program was reluctant to share any names with me. By the time the program was finished, I had met some awesome people with whom I am still in contact today, who definitely would have let me travel with them.
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 2 months de mi vida!

The professors, the students, the ISA staff... everyone was incredibly warm and fun. I made lasting relationships with others in the program as well as local students. The professors really care about the exchange students and make every effort to make you feel included. My Spanish improved by leaps and bounds- I highly recommend ISA!

What would you improve about this program?
The more social events, the better, especially with local students as a means of facilitating those connections. Interaction with locals is definitely the best way to learn the language, and ISA should promote this as much as possible.
Yes, I recommend this program

Chile'po' 3,000+ Miles of coastline and remarkable staff

Jog on the beach in the morning, catch a micro bus to Valparaiso for class, and drink Pisco (liquor) at a new place nearly every night. Let's just call Viña del Mar the San Francisco of Latin America.

ISA did a solid job in preparation, orientation and offering a near by office to allow for internet access, tutoring and lounging. The program advisors were very hands on and willing to talk about all the aspects of student life abroad. Trust me, the sensitive topics need to be discussed. I hold the ISA advisors in the highest regard for their realistic and practical approach. They teamed up students personalities and level of Spanish with host families. If you stay for a year enjoy the host family for a semester and then get your own place for the second. My second semester sharing an apartment with international students was insanely spectacular.

The advisors at ISA were really put the the test with my fist semesters rambunctious group. One student got appendicitis, two guys got locked up for a night in Mendoza, Argentina, and I had surgery on my toe due to a sports injury. The ISA team in Chile was remarkably tolerant and effective in resolving each of the situations. I was eventually 100% reimbursed through my personal & ISA insurance. ISA was very prudent with paperwork. The second semesters calm group didn't have any serious issues to the relief of the ISA advisors.

The University was strung about all over the city. This can make for a challenging class schedule but it encourages exploration of the city. Scholastics were hit and miss. The oratory class with Chilean students was one of the most rewarding courses of my college career. The Chilean studies course with only international students was kindergarden. Choose wisely.

Viña del Mar is a remarkable launching point to head north to the Atacama Desert, south to the Patagonia, or catch a flight to Easter Island (highly recommended). The ISA office was happy to assist with all travel arrangements.

What would you improve about this program?
ISA has many travel offerings and a few are included in the program. This creates the dangerous possibility for the over bonding. Many of the novice spanish speakers latched on to each other and never fully immerse into Chile or actually learn Spanish. (Chilean Spanish is a nightmare at first, but you'll catch on). I made this mistake my first semester and often people only have one semester.

ISA could incorporate a method to promote Chileans to infiltrate each study abroad group. BBQ's, outings, and more tutoring are some ideas.

In ISA's preparation I would include more of student feedback of "I wish I had..." and "I wish I hadn't..."

Yes, I recommend this program

"Growing" Abroad

My time spent in Valparaiso and Vina del Mar was awesome. I had a really great experience with my host family, and feel I have made a connection with them that will last a lifetime. My would definitely go back to Chile, and the surrounding area. I took full advantage of my time in Chile and traveled every weekend to Argentina, Patagonia, and Chiloe. I felt this was great because not only did I get complete submersion in the Chilean culture, but I was able to explore neighboring areas as well.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have maybe chosen different academic programs. I felt that the class I was in was too elementary in comparison to the same intermediate level class at my home university.
Yes, I recommend this program

Review of ISA study abroad program in Valparaiso, Chile

ISA sent me an orientation packet and packing list before I left for Chile, so I arrived feeling prepared. Upon arrival we stayed in Santiago for a few days to have a more in-depth orientation and learn about the culture and history of the country. This orientation was combined with field trip to various cultural sites and a vineyard. Through out the semester abroad, ISA arranged a couple other day trips/weekend trips, all of which were included in the price of the program.

ISA also provided us with the option of living with a Chilean family or in a guesthouse. I think ISA is one of the only programs that has both options. I chose to live in a guesthouse and it was the best decision I could have made. I had my own room, another roommate from my ISA program and 5 Chilean roommates. This was a great way for me to meet other young Chileans my age.

I took classes at the Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso and could choose between taking classes with international students and taking classes with Chilean students. I did both and and enjoyed having the opportunity to learn more about the Chilean higher education system.