USAC Chile: Santiago

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About

USAC invites students to come study abroad in Santiago, Chile at the Universidad Andrés Bello! Santiago is an exciting destination, right in the center of a nearly endless coastline with a mountainous backdrop. Students will be able to explore the country to the north and south of the capital city, daring to head to the tip of the southernmost country in the world.

Programs are available for the summer (Sessions 1, 2, or 1 +2), semester (fall or spring), and academic year. Students can take from 12-18 credits in a variety of fields including Spanish language at all levels. Other courses include Spanish language and literature electives, and Latin American studies taught in both English and Spanish. Professional internship placements are also available for those wishing to gain some valuable international work experience.

Highlights
  • Join cultural excursions to the houses of Pablo Neruda in Santiago, Valparaíso, and Isla Negra
  • Visit the attractive Pre-Columbian Arts Museum, Museum of the Memory, and Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center
  • Experience Santiago’s diverse cultural blend of Native, Spanish, and international residents
  • Take advantage of great opportunities for skiing, surfing, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and horseback riding
  • Enjoy the benefits of a large urban city that has preserved the hospitality and accessibility of a small community

Questions & Answers

The language immersion is great, especially in the host family households and if you spend time interacting with people other than other students in the program.

Reviews

94%
based on 13 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
Valerie
9/10

Year in Santiago

I had a wonderful experience with USAC in Santiago. The staff are super fun and willing to help at any moment, usually just a text or visit to their office away. Santiago has activities for everyone. I spent a lot of my time going to see live music and attending the many free festivals that are put on throughout the year. My favorite part about living in Santiago was how easy it is to take an inexpensive bus to any part of Chile at any moment, allowing you to experience the diversity of natural beauty the country has to offer, whether its the Atacama desert, glaciers in Patagonia, the Pacific, or the Andes right outside of the city. Another great part about Santiago is the metro system, which allows you to visit all of the different neighborhoods with ease, which all have very different vibes. Overall, my time in Santiago with USAC will be marked by both personal and academic growth, the extensive travel I was able to do throughout the country, and all of the incredibly kind Chileans and international friends that I made during my time there.

Yes, I recommend
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Tessa
7/10

USAC Santiago Review

I had a great experience! This program convinced me that I want to pursue a career in which I can use my Spanish language skills. I think future participants should know to plan ahead as well as be flexible when plans change. I would also advise participants to try new things and enjoy being outside of their comfort zone. I would recommend spending as much time in nature as possible, the natural beauty in Chile is phenomenal and beyond comparison!

How can this program be improved?
The staff could offer more support and respond more quickly to student issues/complaints.
Yes, I recommend
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Gabriel
9/10

Jorge and the USAC team are awesome

The USAC team is very helpful and offers a ton of fun trips out side of the curriculum. Santiago can be dreary in the months may-august and in general is not a touristy city. this program is for people that are willing to reach out and get to know people around them in your community, if you're outgoing and can facilitate your own adventures both in an outside of Chile this program is for you. The best alpine skiing in the Southern Hemisphere is an hour outside of Santiago, the Atacama desert is unlike anywhere you will ever go on the planet and Patagonia is Patagonia. Nightlife very fun in Santiago, their bar districts are massive and karaoke is massively popular. People are shy but friendly if you make the effort to meet them. Overall, having a good time is not something that occurs just by being in Santiago, you have to immerse yourself and go out and seek it. USAC does the best they can to help you do this.

How can this program be improved?
Just add more interactions with chilenos built into the program.
Yes, I recommend
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Natalie
9/10

Cuando dejé mi corazón en Santiago de Chile

I had the incredible blessing of living with the sweetest host family on the planet, who adopted me as their own and made me to forget what missing home felt like. I set out on this study abroad semester with the goal of improving my Spanish language skills as a part of my Spanish major; I came home from this semester with a wealth of wisdom that I could never have anticipated. I loved to travel before this semester, but now I know the beauty of living in a place that was not your own, as a resident and not a tourist. I came home with a head full of knowledge about the culture and history and politics of Chile, with a heart full of awe at the beauty of diverse peoples and geographies, with a spirit full of new understanding about Who created me and what else He made when He spun Creation. I could never have fully anticipated the depths to which I would be moved and the angles in which I would be pulled during my five months in Chile. Yet sometimes I fall asleep with the simple, happy image of a still lake that is home to a small town called Frutillar, whose only landmark is a dock on the lake -- I have so many little sweet snapshots of memories stored in my mind that remind me of beauty all around the world, near and far.
My perspective has been greatly widened since my time abroad, and it seems that the ripples of that experience have yet to stop unfurling and teaching me new things about how to look at this life. Not to mention the fact that I can converse with a chileno now, which was an impossible goal when I first landed in Santiago, being that "Chilean Spanish" seems to be an entirely separate language upon first contact (and even after months of immersion, if we're honest, sometimes).
I wouldn't trade my time in Santiago for anything in the world. And USAC was a wonderful facilitator of this experience; I highly recommend the program offered in Santiago.

How can this program be improved?
It would be nice if there were more flexibility in the language Tracks, as I had to retake a course that didn't count for me as a part of the Track that best suited my credit needs.
Yes, I recommend
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Kevin
10/10

4 Months, But a Lifetime of Adventures

If there is any doubt in your mind about studying abroad in South America, I'd like to start off this review by telling you, GO DO IT!!! South America was an amazing place to study abroad, and Chile is perfect as a home base. Each weekend, I traveled to the mountains or the ocean or the deserts or the huge metropolitan hub of Santiago and experienced a new/vibrant/wildly different cultural immersion in the many communities and landscapes Chile has to offer. Although I did thoroughly enjoy studying with USAC, most of my cultural immersion experiences were of my own volition. USAC is an amazing stepping stone into the Chilean culture, but they also won't hold your hand (which I appreciated). USAC was, for me, the perfect balance of provided opportunities and freedom. I had amazing peers around me who were ready to travel at the drop of a hat, a program supervisor (shout-out to Jorge, Brenda, and Isabel!!) who was eager to act as a cultural liaison, and a homestay I was excited to get back to after a long trip.

If I can offer any advice for a student getting ready to go on this trip, it is to say "yes" as much as you possibly can. Say yes to a 12-hour overnight bus ride to a small surf town, say yes to going out with locals you may meet, say yes to taking part in as much "ordinary" life as you can while you are there. Explore markets with the same curiosity as museums, make friends with the Chileans you meet in hostels, and maybe deprive yourself of a little sleep if there is an asado (Chilean bbq) the night before you have a test.
Studying abroad is about so much more than what you experience in the classroom, and although USAC will give you incredible teachers for that portion of your experience, it's up to you to take the extra step in stepping out of the extranjero bubble.

Yes, I recommend
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Jenna
10/10

The Most Beautiful Country I Have Ever Seen

I spent four months living in Santiago with USAC in the spring semester, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. Santiago is a marvelous, huge city that at times seemed a little overwhelming, but always offered a new experience and so many opportunities to learn.

I would recommend USAC Santiago to anyone who wants the best of both worlds. You have the opportunity to live in a city of 6 million, but be only a half hour from the most gorgeous nature and mountains you could ever see. You don't have to choose between mountains and the beach because you can get to either within two hours! Chile offers so many incredible travel opportunities. From the Lake District, the breathtaking scenery of Patagonia, and the out-of-this-world Atacama Desert, it truly does have something for everyone.

Academia wise, the program is based on Spanish language tracks, so you have the opportunity to earn four semesters of college Spanish classes in just one semester. I thought the classes were challenging enough that I felt like I was learning, but were not so demanding that I could not immerse myself in my host family/local culture. The campus is very urban (i.e. no central campus area), but there were many parks and places to hang out and eat nearby.

Overall, the four months I spent in Chile were probably the best of my life and I will always remember my experience here thanks to the incredible people I met and the exciting city I called my home.

How can this program be improved?
Many host families were located like a 30-60 minute commute on the bus/metro system, but that is kind of expected when living in a huge city. It is nice that USAC Santiago ensures that the host families live in the nice neighborhoods, even though it is a longer commute.

Paying for public transit every day got really expensive; it would have been nice to be able to have the student discount even as an international student!
Yes, I recommend
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Josh
10/10

An Urban Experience in a Fantastic Program

I studied abroad with this program in the spring of 2017, and it was a fantastic experience! The coordinators of the program who live in Santiago and assist the students in their experiences (Jorge, Brenda, and Isabel) were outstanding individuals who were always willing to help in any situation. My Spanish language professor, Gabriela, was the best language instructor I have ever had, and I can say with confidence that I am conversational in Spanish (as well as the unique Chilean dialect) because of her instruction. Furthermore, there were only eight students in my Spanish class, which facilitated close relationships with the students and a fun and educational atmosphere. My homestay experience was instrumental in developing my skills in Spanish acquisition, and I had some fantastic home-cooked meals as well. One of the best parts about studying abroad in Santiago was learning how to live and thrive in not just a foreign country, but in an urban environment as well. Outside of Santiago, this program had excursions to Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, Pomaire, Isla Negra, and a field study in Patagonia, which can all be great ways to experience more of the vibrant culture and history of Chile.

How can this program be improved?
Longer excursions
Yes, I recommend
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Nick
10/10

Viva Chile!

Santiago was awesome! Lucho and the rest of the staff were great. I also definitely recommend a host family, mine was great. Having a host brother to show me around made all the difference in my experience. Also do the tour! USAC does a great job of organizing field trips and other events.

How can this program be improved?
Chilean food is not what you expect. Also, a more specific packing list would be nice.
Yes, I recommend
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Alyssa
9/10

Challenge Yourself in Chile

Chile was amazing!

I loved the chance to stay with a host family - most of the students lived with older couples or singles who didn't have children or whose children were older. I lived with a young family with a 7-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy and I loved it!

The trip to the north was the highlight of the semester. I highly recommend it - Chile's north is incredibly beautiful, both naturally and culturally.

I also recommend taking the opportunity to travel around the country as you can - definitely take a weekend in Valpo or Viña, head up into the mountains for hiking or rafting, and go south if you can afford it. But don't miss out on Santiago! There is SO much to see within the city, and the metro makes it very easy to get around, so take advantage of that. Explore the city! Get out of your comfort zone.

As far as academics go, I didn't think that the courses were challenging at all. There was hardly any homework and the exams were easy. Honestly, I wished that they had been more challenging.

But overall, I had a wonderful experience in Chile and I highly recommend the program.

How can this program be improved?
We did not have the opportunity to take classes with Chilean students, which was a huge negative for me. The US and Chilean semesters don't line up, but USAC needs to make an effort to make it easy for the students to meet Chileans of the same age - maybe through regular workshops, clubs, or classes that aren't for credit.
Yes, I recommend
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Ryan
10/10

Accessibility to all part of Chile with the most helpful staff.

The USAC program allowed me to both immerse myself into a culturally rich foreign community while feeling as comfortable as I do at home. I was able to enhance my speaking proficiency of the Spanish language and travel to all corners of Chile. Santiago was the best access point for traveling to the desert in the north, the lake region in the south, the mountain range to the east and the coastline to the west. I could not have been happier with the housing accommodations and the hospitality and helpfulness provided by the USAC crew and Chileans. I have no regrets from this experience.

How can this program be improved?
This program could be improved by involving the study abroad students with chilean students during class periods. Also, a more diverse curriculum would provide more choices for the study abroad students to choose from.
Yes, I recommend
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Julie
10/10

Santiago, Chile

USAC Santiago is an amazing program! The on-site staff is incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. I learned a lot in my courses, but they still allowed time to travel and explore the city. Definitely take advantage of the field trips and tours organized by USAC because they were awesome. I would highly recommend staying with a host family; it was such a great experience and my Spanish improved so much!

Yes, I recommend
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Brooke
9/10

Freedom and fun while learning

USAC was both hands on and safe while giving students tons of freedom to travel and explore. I was able to make close friendships with locals and travel to other parts of the country each weekend. I learned Spanish fluently and learned a ton about the culture in my other classes. My teachers were committed and engaging and it was easy to get involved in extracurricular activities or just do my own thing.

How can this program be improved?
It would be wonderful to have classes with local students as well as students from the program.
Yes, I recommend
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Nic
10/10

Superb Santiago

Studying with USAC in Santiago was incredible. The program director was helpful with introducing the students to the program and the city. The classes were reasonably rigorous, and allowed me time to explore the city and go on excursions.
I chose to study abroad in Santiago because I had traveled extensively in Central America and wanted to experience South America. I wanted to be immersed in the Spanish language so that I could gain a greater competency of the language. In addition, I was intrigued by Chile because of its extensive coastline and unique landscapes. I wanted the opportunity to travel to Easter Island, Patagonia, and the northern Atacama Desert.
USAC offered a variety of excursions, that were both interesting and culturally relevant. I was able to visit Moon Valley in northern Chile, where it hasn’t rained for hundreds of years and the Mars Rover was tested because of similarities in terrain. I had the opportunity to go sand-boarding on the sand dunes of Moon Valley. I was able to take an oil painting class in Aconcagua valley from a famous artist. I also took the chance to play soccer with my host brothers in an organized league in the center of Santiago.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing, I would have studied abroad for more time.
Yes, I recommend

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USAC is a non-profit consortium of U.S. universities that collaborates to offer affordable, academic and authentic study abroad programs. There are abundant opportunities to immerse in the culture, history, and academics of other countries providing...