On a clear day, you will marvel at the dazzling landscape that surrounds Chile’s capital of Santiago. The Andes Mountains scrap the sky in the east and the Chilean Coastal Range rise up to the west and nestled contentedly between the two is Santiago de Chile. The city itself is green and vibrant, with a hodgepodge of architecture and an unforgettable energy. The fast-paced metropolis of seven million people has crowds of Santiaguinos constantly moving through narrow streets packed with fruit barrows, news kiosks, cafes and sellers of everything from coat hangers to pirated DVDs.

Home to one of the oldest universities in the Americas, Santiago is a student’s paradise. Wander through neighborhoods with a strong café culture and a bohemian vibe, party districts where the music never sleeps or the financial district of Sanhattan and visit the top of the tallest building in South America.

Wherever your feet lead you, there are incredible things to discover in Santiago. What are you waiting for? Let’s go!

Photo Credits: alobos Life.

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Culture and Immersion

While there are myriad districts, or barrios, to explore in Santiago the neighborhoods of Lastarria and Brasil are known for being young and trendy. Lastarria , with its hipster reputation, is full of artists, coffee shops, restaurants and local street venders. Brasil is where the real bohemians live. In recent years Brasil has become quite the hot-spot-- many universities also set up campuses here, so the residents tend to be either young and broke students or elderly couples who’ve been around forever. Colorful graffiti and quirky restaurants make this neighborhood unique.

The calm area of Bellavista is where Pablo Neruda, the brilliant poet, made his home. His Santiago residence is a prime example of the Nobel Prize-winner’s eccentric taste. The giant hanging eyes and gigantic knotty tree trunks holding up the living room ceiling are almost peculiar enough to distract you from the unbelievable view of Santiago from his balcony. Barrio Bellavista may be quiet during the day, but at night the streets heat up. The neighborhood is party central, with countless bars, dance clubs and restaurants.

Santiago is also a great base for exploring the surrounding region. With the Andes so close, you can be right in the mountains in an hour or two. In winter people go skiing for the day; in warmer months there’s also hiking, horseback riding and rafting. In two hours you can be lounging on a beach. Still more tempting are the many vineyards a hop skip and a jump away.


Chile is the most expensive country in South America, but Santiago is still quite affordable. As of July 2013, the exchange rate was about 500 Chilean pesos to the dollar.

A mid-range meal will cost about 3,500.00 CL$ (or $6-20 USD). If you all a good bottle of local wine, it’ll be another 2,000 CL$ (or $4). And the cost of milk? About $650 CL$ or $1.25 USD

Culture Shock and Support System

The main draw to Santiago? The people.

Usually very active (understandable, since the city is just a drive away from incredible skiing and beaches) Santiaguinos are active, exuberant and welcoming. You’ll quickly make friends over a glass of Chilean wine, a cigarette or a cup of strong coffee. Can’t think of a way to start a conversation? Football (soccer) is the ultimate icebreaker in this sports-obessed town!

To Conclude

Santiago is a city with a turbulent past, but through all it's persevered. However, with each political, economic and social hurtle that Santiago has overcome through the centuries, the city comes out more interesting, more diverse and more extraordinary. An exceptional spirit keeps the city moving. Art, culture, and adventure will welcome study abroad students with arms wide open. Bienvenido a Santiago!

Study Abroad Programs in Santiago

Displaying 1 - 15 of 25 programs
Chile: Santiago - Spanish Language, Culture, International Studies
9.55 •22 reviews

USAC invites students to come study abroad in Santiago, Chile at the...

IES Abroad
IES Abroad Santiago - Study in Santiago
9.67 •27 reviews

The IES Abroad Santiago Program allows you to fully immerse yourself...

Syracuse University Abroad
Syracuse University Santiago Center Program
Multiple Countries
10 •3 reviews

With Latin America as your study destination, you will visit countries...

IES Abroad
IES Abroad Santiago Summer – Health Studies
9.83 •6 reviews

Because Chile offers its residents a community-centered public health...

CIEE Liberal Arts in Santiago, Chile
9.2 •5 reviews

Develop your strong Spanish language skills in the capital of Chile by...

CIEE: Design Your Own Semester Abroad
Multiple Countries
9.5 •2 reviews

With CIEE's, you can design your very own semester program in up to...

CIEE Business + Culture in Santiago, Chile
10 •1 review

Come study business abroad in Chile's dynamic political, academic, and...

IES Abroad
IES Abroad Multi-Location – Emerging Economies: Buenos Aires & Santiago
Multiple Countries
9.67 •6 reviews

Spend a semester in Buenos Aires and Santiago on a multi-location...

IES Abroad
IES Abroad Santiago – Politics, Social Justice & Language
9.75 •4 reviews

Designed for students interested in Politics, Social Justice, and...

IES Abroad
IES Abroad Santiago – Health Studies
9.4 •5 reviews

Designed for students interested in learning about global health...

Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)
IFSA: Chilean Universities Program, Santiago
8.57 •7 reviews

Looking for an unparalleled way to improve your Spanish language...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Chile: Comparative Education & Social Change
Multiple Countries
9.5 •4 reviews

Study educational policies and pedagogies in Chile and Argentina...

SIT Study Abroad
IHP: Human Rights: Movements, Power, and Resistance
Multiple Countries
9 •4 reviews

Investigate the historical and social contexts of human rights...

CIEE Summer Business + Culture in Santiago, Chile

Begin your study of the Spanish language and gain real-world business...

What People Are Saying

As a Spanish language learner and someone who had only been to Puerto Rico and Costa Rica for beach vacations with family, my five months in Chile was astounding. I loved upping my Spanish and I felt...

Views of the Andes from my walk to the metro

Studying abroad in Santiago, Chile was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I feel extremely privileged and humbled to have been able to travel and live in another country for a full semester. I...

This is me eating a traditional food, an anticucho, to celebrate Chilean independence. During the week of the 18th of September, there is traditional food and drinks served at areas throughout Chile to celebrate their cultural heritage.

My study abroad experience was incredible and I would encourage any student looking for a pre-health and Spanish speaking program to consider this one. I was able to learn about the health care of...

group bonding at a local cafe in town!

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