SIT Chile: Identity, Justice & Comm. Development

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Explore Chile’s recent political and social history and discover how Chileans are working to reconcile with the past while struggling to create a more equitable and culturally inclusive society.

Chile's return to civilian rule after 17 years of military dictatorship has generated international interest. Efforts to prosecute human rights violations that occurred during former dictator Augusto Pinochet's rule have been met with mixed results.

Chile's relative political and economic stability has drawn worldwide attention. Recent elections, economic policies, and the actions of increasingly vocal indigenous groups have fueled further debate about democratic participation, social equity, and multicultural identity.

Questions & Answers


based on 6 reviews
  • Academics 7
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.8
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 8.2
Showing 1 - 6 of 6
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Apurate a Chile!

This program was unique because the directors have such a good dynamic that they set the tone at orientation that we were going to have a great semester. The whole vibe of my abroad program group was very encouraging and supportive of each other. There were a total of 16 of us, and we all experienced the craziness and beauty together. The part I am most grateful for is the independent study period, in which I learned most of my confidence in speaking Spanish, and gained unparalleled research experience in a second language.

How can this program be improved?
I would like if the academic courses could have a little more depth to them, but it all was honestly fantastic.
Yes, I recommend this program
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A challenge to fully explore your sense of adventure and ability to enjoy

By my title I mean that this program and experience in Chile is one that if you allow it will challenge you to fully explore your sense of adventure and ability to truly sit and revel in the moments that make up the fullness of life. It allows you to, in the opposite sense of the phrase sit back, jump in and engage and let your mind and curiosity wander wherever they are drawn. SIT provides you with the the kind of rigor whose rewards are invaluable and everlasting. This program is structured in such a way that you very much make of your experience what you want. You have the ability to take your time abroad in whatever directions you feel. But the other incredible part of this program is it surrounds you with so many invaluable resources and such support that you can take leaps and bounds if you are driven to. It also is such that simply being in Chile, immersed in the beauty of the countryside, the rich history and the vibrant and incredible culture, provides you with such inspiration that the passion you enter with, if allowed to, will simply grow and multiply in ways you didn't know it could. Interpret it as you wish, but I came out of my abroad experience with more questions than I did answers to the questions I posed to myself when first entering into the experience.

As far as specifics:
On Education:
Education happens outside of the classroom and that education is fantastic. The education that happens inside the classroom is, yes very much on interesting and relevant topics, but is the traditional lecture at students and in this way not as engaging and eventful as experiential and other types of education that nurtures more dialogue. Nonetheless constant classes in Spanish do very much help your language skills. Outside of the traditional classroom the learning experience is very much boundless. You are the decision maker in how much you want to challenge yourself to think and grow in new ways and how much you want to explore and come to understand. Through these lessons you learn an invaluable perspective and way of living.

On the Administration of the Program:
The administration, the director and people who make this happen that you see from day to day, are some of the most kind hearted and thoughtful people. They truly make your experience. They also understand you as an individual and a student. They recognize that the experience of being in Chile and exploring it is where the real learning is and for this they support you in those kinds of activities and don't expect you to spend 100% of your time sitting in a library studying.

On Housing:
Host family experience: I made such a strong connection with my host mom. She truly became a very special person to me. She also helped so much with making my experience a meaningful one. She gave value and depth to my time in Chile. You simply have to be upfront about any needs but also be flexible and understand that you will miss somethings and just have to wait till you return to enjoy them.

On the Food:
Nooot my favorite. In general Chilean food does not know what spicy natural flavor is. I missed the burritos and tacos from back home in Southern California and just in general a more balanced diet. Lots of carbs and not many vitamins and minerals through those leafy friends. So just get ready you might leave the country looking a little more like a pillow than when you came. Although empanadas are near and dear to my heart heart after living in Chile and the best news is you can't walk longer than a minute without finding one to buy.

On Social and Cultural Integration:
This program is incredible in the sense that you spend a significant portion of it traveling and living with different groups of Chileans. This within itself gives you so much cultural integration. You have to try a little harder to break through into social culture with Chilean youth though if that's what you are intending to do, since you aren't around them all the time in classes or anything like that. Make an effort to join clubs and do things that would draw the people you would like to get to know in Chile, but go to the locations and events where you would be able to talk and meet people. It for sure is possible, but it is also somewhat up to you.

On Safety:
Use your head and follow your gut and don't let anything else hold you back. That was my mentality throughout my time in Chile. I never had any problems safety wise. Listen to people who have experience on what areas are ok and which are not. There very much are areas where it is unsafe to go where you will most likely be robbed. But don't go there or leave everything of value in a safe place. I would say the administration is very aware of both your safety and your independence and desire for adventures and cares for you with all in mind. Keep your head on straight, while still dancing around in the clouds and discovering things you never knew you'd would and all will be well.

How can this program be improved?
More time for ISP and even more experiential learning.
Yes, I recommend this program
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An incredible and memorable experience

This program was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I met such amazing people – host family, program staff, other students, etc. Valparaíso is such a fun and vibrant city, and I had a great time living in the city and learning about Chilean culture and history. Definite highlights were the trip to a Mapuche community, improving my Spanish, and getting to explore Valpo with the friends I made. My advice is to let yourself immerse in and adjust to the Chilean lifestyle in order to get the most out of your experience. I can't recommend this program enough, as it blew away all expectations I had for my semester abroad.

How can this program be improved?
I think some of the afternoon lectures could have been more engaging and interactive in order to keep students more involved.
Yes, I recommend this program
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A Surreal Experience

I would recommend this program to anyone studying a humanity, but especially to those interested in human rights work and social justice movements. This program connects you to some powerful folks in the community, and you create some meaningful connections with active members in the community working to change one of the many problems facing Chile due to an unfair constitution put into effect during the dictatorship (or maybe working to change the constitution itself). You also get to see the very north of Chile (Arica and Putre) and the south in and around Temuco; during those excursions, we learned about the Aymara (in the north) and the Mapuche (in the south). It is honestly such a crazy experience to be able to see such different ways of life, along with their philosophies in life and what they believe our universe is. If anything, this program is eye-opening and humbling; you get to do some community work as a group up in the hills of Valparaíso, meet incredible human rights activists working towards a better Chile, learn about the country's struggle to reconcile with its past, and above all, immerse yourself in rich, Chilean culture.

This program is for the curious, the ambitious, the motivated, and the wanderers seeking new adventures at every corner.

Personally, I am half-Chilean, and I went to be able to study my family's experiences with the dictatorship. If you're reading this and also have Chilean roots, PLEASE consider going. Study abroad is often advertised as the student going to an unfamiliar place, but for me it was a chance to understand where I come from and seeing the full side to my family's history. Even if you're just a Latinx student, studying abroad in your own culture is something absolutely surreal, and life-changing for sure. Consider taking this chance to do it.

Yes, I recommend this program
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SIT Valpo: A program and city unlike any other!

I had an amazing experience in Valpo, it's an extremely unique city full of open, adventurous people. I had an incredible host family and made great friends through SIT. I highly recommend the program.

How can this program be improved?
The program could be improved by placing all of the students in the same town, instead of having some in Valparaiso and others in Vina del Mar. Furthermore, sometimes program staff instructions could have been more clear. However, the program was incredible despite these very minor issues.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Free to be Independent: The Decision is Yours

The program is essentially broken into 3 parts: Spanish lessons and guest speakers on history and culture in Valparaiso; a long excursion to the Aymara or Mapuche; and then ISP research. In the beginning, the research project seems so intimidating. The program coordinators genuinely care for your well-being, in both the physical and emotional sense. They recognize the difficulty of transitioning to a new environment and go above and beyond to make you feel at home. They know how scary and stressful the research project can be as well. "There is no way I will be prepared for that!" you think. But somehow, you are. After spending so much time practicing Spanish in simply navigating your way around the city (which is SO difficult at first); talking with your host family over meals, endless barbecues, and soccer game celebrations; and interviewing complete strangers for Spanish class (super scary!); you are beyond prepared for the ISP research. The guest speakers that provide lectures and lead seminars are distinguished professors or activists, even a director of a famous documentary. Then these speakers become your ISP advisers. The best part is that your ISP can be literally ANYTHING related to the theme of the program. I went WWOOFing for 11 days! I even got to talk to the director of WWOOF Chile! It was such an amazing experience, and I had the opportunity to put my new training in participant observation and interviews to good use. I learned a tremendous amount about how to relate to people with different backgrounds, ideas, political opinions, cultures, stereotypes, etc... Most importantly I know that what I learned through my study abroad experience, I could never have learned anywhere else.

How can this program be improved?
The downside to this program is that you are restricted from leaving the country or travelling anywhere that the directors cannot reach within 24 hours by car (with the exception of during the ISP period).
Yes, I recommend this program

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SIT has been providing immersive, field-based study abroad programs for undergraduates for more than 50 years. SIT offers more than 70 programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as comparative programs in...