IES Abroad Santiago: Sociopolitical Studies

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Designed for students interested in Politics, Social Justice, and Language, this study abroad program in Santiago takes a closer look at the intricacies of the Chilean sociopolitical landscape: student activities, the arts as a form of resistance, human rights issues, and an impressive literary culture.

Your courses will be taught at the IES Abroad Center by distinguished professors from IES Abroad’s partner universities. They are taught in Spanish, and you are encouraged to practice your language skills your day to day life while you’re abroad. During your semester in Santiago, you can also enroll in an internship or service learning placement. Your classes and activities combined will help you understand the city’s politics, social issues, and language first-hand.

Questions & Answers


based on 2 reviews
  • Academics 8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
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Mix of everything

Santiago has a mix of metropolitan and suburban life: you get the metro/bus and walk around the streets a lot, but you also get the quiet residential life. There are strong cultural roots (in their food, national dance, a lot of patriotism), yet also has a very western/European feel to it. In some ways it doesn't feel like the stereotypical South America. Locals are respectful and helpful, and in public places almost no English is spoken (so practicing Spanish is unavoidable!).

IES offers strong staff members that were my support system when things were going downhill; they were encouraging and have had so much experience with students that they always have a viable solution at hand. They're ready for any problem you may have, whether with housing, emotional adjustment, or academic.

Lots of traveling opportunities and beautiful landscapes! Take full advantage of travelling that is so unique to Chile.

Everyone in the program did a home stay. No home stay is 100% perfect, but it makes your experience so much more integrated and you feel like you're really part of a family. IES does a wonderful job coordinating with the host families and making sure you're comfortable with your placement.

How can this program be improved?
I was looking for more academic rigor in the classes. Some of them were really easy, mainly gave busy work and I feel like I didn't learn much. Taking thought-provoking classes while living in that culture abroad is one of the most rewarding things one can do. A wonderful alternative is taking several courses at a local university, which are a lot harder and more work, yet you can meet locals and experience the university life abroad (something you don't get if you stick with other Americans in IES classes).
Yes, I recommend this program
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Santiago... the place you have been looking for

If you really want to practice your Spanish, come to know a Spanish speaking culture that many don’t hear much about but is so rich in history and fabulous people, then I would recommend this program to you. Santiago de Chile is a fabulous place to be whether you are an outdoorsy kind of person or more of the city life, Santiago has it all. IES does a fabulous job of thinking through everything and are prepared for the good the back and the ugly. Being a part of their program, the onsite administration and teachers make you feel like you are their number one priority. They genuinely care about every person and want to make sure they have the greatest experience abroad. They will help you with anything and everything; if you are struggling with your host home, trying to find a class to take at the local university, maybe you want some travel suggestions (literally one woman on staff helped everyone call hostels/buses/you name it if we needed help). They go above and beyond and love welcoming you into their home. For me, I have danced ballet professionally in the states and wanted to make sure I could find a good company while I was abroad to keep up my dancing. One of the staff introduced me to a company and I actually had the opportunity to perform on a well known stage for a paying audience in CHILE! (That was a dream come true).
Looking at the academics, the courses are wonderful and they offer a nice variety. It was slightly hard to find specific courses for some people at the university, though this may have been due to the strikes at one of their partner universities making it unavailable for us to take classes there. I was able to take a ballroom class filled with 50+ Chileans and 3 “gringas” including myself (to Chileans anyone not from Chile can be considered a gringo/a). This was a great way for me to get to know many friends, I would highly recommend trying to find a dance class even if you don’t go to Chile because there is something about learning basic dance moves that is fun and breaks barriers allowing friendships to flourish. I got the opportunity to also be in an observations program which was honestly one of the main reasons I chose this entire program in the first place. It is just that, observations. This is very helpful for really any pre-health professional because you really get to dive into seeing how other health care systems work and actually see different facilities in another country. I will let you know, this is strictly observations, you are not allowed to take vitals or anything. But most health professional schools want you to have some type of observation hours so it is a win win.
I got the chance to study with fabulous people. I loved that IES was a program that pulled students from all over. I got the chance to go out on a limb, go to a country that I had never been to, with no one I knew, and had the time of my life. We had 19 people in our program and I loved the opportunity of getting to know every single one of them. There were a few from the same schools but otherwise we all were in the same boat and that to me was an experience I was looking for.
One last plug, specifically for the Fall semester in Chile. Though it is our (the US) “Fall” it is their Spring. EVERYTHING happens in Chile at this time, you get a “spring break”, there are Fondas which are basically Chile’s State Fair, and a few other holidays. The weather though cold in the beginning is lovely towards the middle and end. If all of this doesn’t convince you... then consider all of the amazing locations you can travel to while you are in Chile (Easter Island, Patagonia, San Pedro de Atacama to name a few). Or just take a look at the attached photos!

How can this program be improved?
Honestly... I feel like the only thing I would change would be what types of courses I would be permitted to take abroad, but that is something related to the home universities. I felt as though IES Abroad offered everything they could have on their end of the abroad spectrum.
Yes, I recommend this program

About IES Abroad

IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...