SIT Chile: Identity, Justice & Comm. Development

Video and Photos

The cerros of Valparaiso
The cerros of Valparaiso
The Aymara town, Belen, where I stayed during the excursion to the North of Chile.
The farm in Linares where I stayed to WWOOF and conduct research during the ISP period.
My street in Valparaiso.

About

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

Reviews

9.79 Rating
based on 14 reviews
  • Academics 7.4
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 8
Showing 1 - 8 of 14
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Eritrea
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

People and Memories to be Grateful For!

Before studying abroad, I had no idea what to expect. I knew very little about Chile or what it would be like to live and study in a country I'd never been to before. That being said, I think this program was the best one I could have chosen for where I was. It gave me the knowledge I needed to be aware, the support system I needed to feel comfortable, and the uncertainty I needed to be more empathetic. Experiential learning is a big part of this program's academic approach, and it made the experience of learning that much more memorable and meaningful for me. I know that the friends, lessons, and memories that I took away from this program will stay with me long into the future.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have taken more advantage of the time I had there and not put off the things I wanted to do until later. The end of the semester went by like a blur with all of our final assignments and presentations, so I would've done my best to do all of my last trips and activities before then.
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Hulda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A new and amazing time!

The experimental learning offered by SIT gave me a wonderful and rewarding educational experience. The classes and excursions helped me learn about the neoliberal system, non-western perspectives into the social, cultural, and economic situations, and indigenous communities. I learned about the unity and power of the people to resist oppression in the country and the fight for equality and justice. was able to go out of the country for the first time and learn so much more about Chile. I feel like I really learned about myself and was able to get a non-western perspective of life and social conflicts. I'm so grateful for this opportunity.

What would you improve about this program?
More interactions with local students in the city.
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Dana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Finding confidence and building meaningful relationships!

The educational experience with SIT is so special and unique! I loved learning through experiences and field work. The last month is set apart for internships or independent research projects. I loved stepping outside my normal learning setting (a university) and taking more responsibility for what I was learning and how my Spanish was progressing. My host family was also so precious and a perfect fit! Valparaíso is also so special, living next to the ocean was amazing! If you are Christian, there are lots of great options for churches and Christian community- check out Union Church in Viña Del Mar if you choose this program!

What was your funniest moment?
I accidentally ate another man’s empanada off his plate! At “once”, which is the Chilean meal eaten in the evening, assorted breads, cheese, meat, avocado, and spreads are set out. I didn’t realize the little cheese empanadas were for him in particular so I ate one! He forgave me and we laughed about it :)
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Charlie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A worthy program even under extenuating circumstances

SIT Valparaiso is a great program for those who wish to emerge themselves in learning Spanish and value independence. The first month of the program involved many hours of class time that provide a good foundation of the history of Chile that also combined field trips that were very educational. The excursions of this program are a huge highlight as they expose you to the diversity of lives in Chile, as well as the different geography and climate. The final part of the program, which is either an internship or independent study, is a great way to apply the skills learned in the program and the month SIT gives you is plenty of time to complete the assignment without stress.

What would you improve about this program?
I would improve the orientation to be more practical, for example including a walking tour of the city or more information about taking the bus/metro.
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Kaitlyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My life would not be the same without this experience

My experience was so unique because I feel like I did a program that was very different than the rest of the programs my friends or fellow students had done. As well as the choice to study in Chile. Not many students choose to study in Chile and this is what makes this program so unique. The academics were difficult in my program, but the support from my professors and directors is what pushed me to improve my Spanish tremendously. I went from speaking some beginner level Spanish to an advanced level. Some things that differentiated this program from others in Chile was the fact that I traveled and did excursions with my program. We went on two, two week excursions and then usually had an excursion during the week. During the two, two week excursions we traveled up north and then down south to learn and study the indigenous people of Chile. The aymara and the mapuche people. I learned to much from them that textbooks or online articles could have never taught me. It was nice to have hands on learning and not textbook learning. A lot of my friends who went abroad went to the UK. I've heard from them that their school work and academic rigor was easy and that they rarely had school. If you are looking to slack in school and not take it seriously this program is not for you! For instance, in my program I was never late, never missed a day of school and always had homework. I also was never not speaking Spanish. I don't regret my decision at all because everything you do in the program is to help you. Especially, to prepare you for the end of the program, the ISP and internship section. I highly recommend doing the ISP, it helped me gain a lot of self confidence in my self and in my Spanish speaking abilities and research a topic that I am interested in. I wish I could relive my study abroad experience. This program is truly life changing.

What would you improve about this program?
This program could improve on their organization some things were not organized that well. On another note, I loved my home stay family, but I did not like how old they were...I was jealous of all the students in the program who had host brothers and sisters. I recommend coming into this program with a high level of Spanish. I came in the program with a small amount and I did not practice over the summer and the academics and language was super overwhelming and difficult for me!
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Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Chilean Lifestyle

I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is hoping to improve their Spanish, immerse themselves in the chilean culture, and experience a lifestyle very different than that of the US. One of my favorite parts of my time in Chile was living with my host family and learning how to live the chilean lifestyle as if I was a native. I was stretched in the best way; life in Chile teaches you to slow down, it gives you the opportunity to listen to the experiences of others, to learn from those so familiar to this land, and to humble yourself by asking for help when you don't understand the public transportation system. The program takes you on an experience that forces you to grow, learn, and leave your comfort zone for the better. It was a wonderful experience and I cannot wait to go back to this country and visit my chilean family once again.

What would you improve about this program?
I suggest giving more mobility to travel throughout Chile.
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Olivia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Second home, second family

I believe that this program is the best for someone who would like to improve their Spanish, is interested in social change, and wants to explore a beautiful country! The program is split into two parts, one when you are in classes and lectures and two when you are doing either your research project or internship. While classes are extremely long (9am-5pm) and difficult for those like myself who did not have a good grasp of the language, you learn a lot about the social climate in Chile. On the bright side, you do get an excursion to the north and south during the classes part of the program, which is a nice break from the instant coffee and lecturers.
For the last month I chose to do an ISP over an internship, which I highly recommend if you have good time management and if you would like to take that time to travel within the country. 25 pages in Spanish seems scary, but you have a large network of support and if it is on a subject you are passionate about the page count doesn't matter, trust me!
For me, I thought the homestay element was the best feature of the program. I saw that my Spanish improved exponentially by just listening and talking with my host mom and my host sister, who I am still in contact with to this day. I recommend that you try and spend as much time as possible with your family because they will teach you the most about Chilean culture. Homestay was probably the thing that I was most terrified for, but ended up being my favorite part of the program.
Also worth noting, I am a vegetarian that leans towards being dairy free. If you are a vegetarian as well, do not worry about eating. I found no problem with finding the food that I needed, my host mom even tried out veggie burgers for me! I ate a ton of salads, eggs, and lentils, which is what I usually eat anyways. I do think that if you are gluten free or vegan it will be a bit difficult for you because Chileans do eat a lot of bread and cheese. It definitely will not be impossible for you to eat, just a little challenging.
My biggest recommendation to students entering this program is to practice your Spanish everyday (podcasts, Duolingo, telenovelas, etc), pack JACKETS (I was very cold the first month I was in Chile), and be open to the culture. Culture shock is real, but if you are expecting it, it will be okay. I also recommend taking every opportunity you can to explore Chile, this skinny country is full of different places and things to do!

Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Whirlwind 4 Months

We had 3 different home stays throughout the program -- one in the north in Putre, one in the south near Temuco, and our "home base" in Valparaíso or Viña del Mar. This is where my Spanish improved the most, without question. The program does a really great job of matching students with families and, if the family doesn't work for you for whatever reason, the program staff is good about moving you to another family. In my experiences, the families were really wonderful and invested in our wellbeing.

The travel that we did with the program was one of my favorite aspects. The 1-month independent research project was also a highlight for me. You're given the opportunity to elect a theme and are permitted to travel anywhere in the country to conduct that project.