• Chile
    • Santiago
Academic Year, Fall, Spring, Summer
Subject Areas
Anthropology Film History International Business Latin American Studies Political Science Women's Studies
Need-based funding, Merit-based funding, General grants/scholarships
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Apartment Host Family
Apr 08, 2024
Apr 16, 2024
10 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Why Study in Santiago?
Santiago’s urban and natural framework, its mountainous terrain, and its proximity to Chile’s central coastline are ideal for experiencing the nature and culture of the most southern country in the world. You’ll have the opportunity to study Spanish language and contemporary Chilean society through a wide selection of academic courses, as well as personal interaction and immersion in the host culture.

This program offers academic coursework in Spanish Language, Latin American, and Anthropological Studies in summer, semester, or yearlong terms.

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Diversity & Inclusion

LGBTQIA+ Support

There are LGBTQIA+ friends, colleagues, and allies throughout the world. However, cultural understanding of gender identity and sexuality does vary from country to country. USAC has compiled a lot of resources to help you through that learning process.

Accessibility Support

USAC is dedicated to working closely with students with disabilities to ensure the best study abroad experience possible. You may request reasonable accommodations after your initial application is complete. We routinely receive requests for scheduling, material, and environmental accommodations for the classroom setting, which may include assistive technology, scribes and readers, printed material, and interpretation.



Environmentally-conscious students choose USAC because many of our programs are held in some of the most sustainable countries in the world. There are options to take coursework in sustainability and the environment, as well as field trips and studies where students can leave a lasting impact on their host country.

Program Highlights

  • Study and explore the language, culture, literature, arts, history, anthropology, native cultures, politics, economy, international studies, and technology of the most southern country in the world through courses, internships, excursions, and field trips
  • Discover northern Chile and the Atacama Desert or southern Chile with its lakes and volcanoes in an in-depth, weeklong tour/field study.
  • 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.


USAC logo

USAC Scholarships and Financial Aid

USAC awards over $2 million in scholarships and discounts each year to assist students with their study abroad expenses.

$500 - $5,000

Program Reviews

4.89 Rating
based on 28 reviews
  • 5 rating 92.86%
  • 4 rating 3.57%
  • 3 rating 3.57%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.25
  • Support 4.8
  • Fun 4.8
  • Housing 4.7
  • Safety 4.55
Showing 1 - 8 of 28 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

Go to Chile!!!

From the Patagonias, to the Atacama desert, to the rainforest, I knew coming to Chile that there would be so much to offer. What I did not expect, however, was how much my global perspective on world politics would grow. Chile's intense political history and vibrant and active political culture today were my favorite part of living in Santiago. Studying in the Fall semester, I met with locals, attended the "independence" celebration, met with political leaders, and travelled during a beautiful time of the year. I came to Chile with no background in Spanish, but found that the community of young people was eager to engage in language exchange. Never having travelled to South America, I deconstructed biases and understood Chile, Peru, and Argentina on a person-to-person scale. I can't wait to go back, and would recommend studying in Santiago to anyone who wants a life-changing, educational, and wholesome experience.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
My most nerve-wracking moment was traveling thousands of miles away and living for 3 and a half months where I did not know the language! I overcame this fear by engaging with students in local universities, creating bucket lists of everything I needed to see in my time in Chile, and immersing in the history and culture topics of my classes. I also planned exciting trips and hit so many beautiful destinations that fulfilled my soul and wanderlust.
  • So many beautiful geographic areas to see in Chile and in surrounding countries.
  • The program staff is absolutely amazing and so kind and real.
  • I met some of my best friends, and we plan to continue to stay friends even after going abroad.
  • The food is not always the most vegetarian-friendly. But you can go to local markets and buy cheap, fresh ingredients to cook! And there are always vegetarian empanadas!
  • Be careful with having your iPhone out! Pickpocketing is real, although there is no physical danger threat.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The Small Country Punching Above Its Weight: Chile

I knew from the start that the Chile program would be the right choice for me--because of my focus in Latin American politics and my Spanish skills--but the program far surpassed my expectations, and I genuinely hope that more prospective students choose this site. Chile might fall off the radar for the average person looking to study abroad, but I want to take a moment to advocate for Chile because of how amazing of an experience it was on all ends--academically, socially, in terms of leisure, and the staff. For starters, it truly is the best of all worlds. You are able to experience the vibrance of a major urban hub, but you can also access close by the most remote spots known to man. I highly encourage Chile, if for the optional tour to the Atacama Desert only. Even as somebody that thought they wouldn't enjoy a lot of the outdoor activities in Atacama, I was proven wrong and it became arguably the best part of my study abroad, especially the amazing star gazing. Chile is also so close to great travel destinations, from Easter Island, Machu Picchu and Lima, Buenos Aires, and Rio (I was able to travel to the last four on that list!). My social life was incredibly lively because I chose the cheapest living option with the most amount of roommates, so it ended up being a win-win. I had a great deal, plus I met many friends. The housing is mostly students from other Latin American countries (my roommates were a friendly mix coming from Mexico, El Salvador, Chile, and Spain), so my Spanish improved a lot. For anybody worried about the Spanish, I noticed other people did fine. Despite what local news might say, I actually found Santiago incredibly safe, especially in comparison to big US cities. Overall, the program was very satisfying, and I sincerely hope you consider studying abroad in Santiago.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice is to strongly, strongly, strongly consider choosing the housing experience with the most roommates. Yes, it is the cheapest option, but the quality of your experience will be priceless. You will most likely be placed with Spanish-speaking students from a wide range of countries (In my case it was Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, and Spain), but it is great whether you do or do not speak Spanish. I happen to speak Spanish, and the practice helped me so much. The biggest benefit, by far, is my social life was the most vibrant it had ever been. Everybody in the apartments is friendly, and I now have friends from all over the world. Secondly advice is to travel inside and outside of Chile, and I should say that not only did I travel with my roommates, I became such great friends with them that after our program ended, we are meeting again in Mexico on vacation together.
  • The Atacama Desert tour is unforgettable, especially for outdoorsy people.
  • The Spanish practice is priceless, and locals are friendly and willing to talk to you even if you are a beginner.
  • Location, location, location: Chile is easy access to places like Easter Island, Machu Picchu, Buenos Aires, Rio, etc.
  • Santiago might be many hours ahead of your home city in the US. In my case, it was 5 hours ahead.
  • The program is pretty small and class sizes are around 5 people (could be a plus, though, if that's for you!)
10 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

Not the program for me

I don't regret going, but I also can't say it was fun. I tried my best. I'm usually really social and involved with groups focused around my hobbies. I put everything I could into improving my Spanish and was one of the better speakers in my program. Nevertheless, the lack of non-party social opportunities through the university (you're at a commuter school with hardly any student clubs) and my dead-set focus on only ever speaking Spanish made me very sad and lonely (most friendship opportunities were with anglophile Chileans or other English-speaking exchange students). My disappointment was not for lack of trying--I traveled and went to events just about as much as anyone. Living in Chile was just really, really, really hard.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Come to make connections, not to reach goals. I was so focused on improving my Spanish that (ironically) my communication and socializing suffered as a result.
8 people found this review helpful.
Response from USAC

We are sad to hear your commitment to speaking Spanish on campus overshadowed the rest of your study abroad experience. Sometimes traveling doesn’t lead to the experience you set out to have. However, you made it all the way to a unique place like Chile, explored the Patagonian region, and completed the term while taking on a homestay option — that’s an incredible accomplishment. Please be proud of yourself! Not everyone is as brave as you are to explore another country.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Chile - Study Abroad

I enjoyed my experience abroad here. I would recommend especially if you have an interest in international studies, political science, & human rights law.

The city offers lots of activities, but it's not far from nature if you would like to hike in the mountains or travel near the coast (a couple hours by bus west or east).

My advice
• Pack lightly
• Bring bags with zippers, use fanny pack or small zippered bag to prevent pick-pocketing
• have to use cash to refill metro/bus fare
• bring lots of warm layers/winter clothes when traveling in the winter or fall

  • Public Transport
  • Nature
  • Activities to do
14 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

So much more traveling!

I studied abroad twice with USAC, and loved each time. The classes are great, but the best part is that everyone, even the professors, want you to experience the culture and other parts of the country as much as you can. In Chile, I got to go to Patagonia twice, the Atacama desert, Argentina, Valparaíso, and many other areas! In Spain, I had the chance to go to Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Granada, and more! It was such a great community as well. Everyone is there to support you in any way you need!

  • Extra traveling
  • Safe housing
  • Lots of access to cultural activities
  • Not the most flavorful food
27 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Chile: 1st Adventure Of Many

I'm glad Chile was my first international experience because it was amazing. It was my first time out of the country, and I'm not fluent in Spanish, so everything was definitely new for me. USAC provided fun out-of-city trips, informative classes, and a supportive home stay family. With a month of experiences and newly developed Spanish skills to finally talk to my house mom, this study abroad experience was the perfect introduction to being of the country. I'll always cherish this experience as the start of my many travels.

27 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

USAC Santiago, Chile 2018

I would highly recommend studying abroad through USAC and if you are interested in Latin American politics, business or geography Chile is the place for you! Chile has so much to offer, you can visit the Pacific coast, the driest desert in the world, the Andes or Patagonia and the Chilean Antarctic. Spending time in Santiago, I was able to learn about Chile's history and also learn about the Latin American region as a whole. I loved being their during the Fall semester, because I was able to participate in the Fiestas Patrias which are the independence celebrations in September. During my time there, I was also able to intern at a local nonprofit with USAC's help and support in arranging it. One of my other favorite parts of my experience was living with a host family and being able to make connections with a local family.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do your research and don't waste time! There is a lot to see and do in Santiago and there are many cool places close by like the Atacama desert or even going into another country like taking a trip to Argentina.
103 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I Peaked

I chose Chile because I wanted to discover and ultimately fall in love with a country I knew nothing about prior to my choosing to live and study there. The USAC Santiago program had all of the program aspects I was looking for: the ability to have all my classes in Spanish, the accessibility to traveling advice (and friends to travel with), and the option to live with a host family. I loved my professors (especially Señor Julián Gutiérrez); they made Spanish fun and surprisingly easier to learn. I loved my program director and advisors; they were so easy to talk to and always were down to talk and have fun. The friends I made are all super unique and amazing in their own ways (both local university students and the students sharing my foreign exchange experience in Santiago). But my host family was the best aspect of it all; they taught me to cook, corrected my Spanish, and accepted me as their own. That was definitely the best part of the entire thing - knowing that, even in a foreign country with zero familiarity, there is a family for you that accepts you and that you could always turn to.
As for some advice: definitely opt for a host family for the ultimate integration experience. Apartments are cool, and you definitely have some more freedom, but when it comes to living in your typical Santiago barrio with a cool family that cooks and cleans for you as well as gives you unlimited advice and guidance, you really can't go wrong. Practice your Spanish as much as you can, even if you're embarrassed! People will always appreciate your effort and you will definitely learn more than you ever thought possible. Finally, don't be afraid to travel! Chile is the most amazing place and country ever, and South America is an entirely different world (geographically, at least). Take advantage of your time in a big city, but also don't forget that the Andes and Torres del Paine are waiting for you!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Definitely for me I challenged myself immensely by backpacking and hiking at the Torres del Paine national park in the Patagonia region of Chile. I was super nervous (yet excited) before the trip, FULLY aware of my hiking abilities (I almost had none) and my willingness to be patient with sleeping, cooking, and eating outside for five days. During that trip, I became closer to my fellow program gringas, I did the hardest climb of my life, and I learned new things about myself, such as I hate sleeping in a sleeping bag and I love ramen noodles and mashed potatoes. Most importantly, though, I have a memory from my time in Chile that I will never forget, and that is accomplishing my first backpacking experience (and definitely the first of many).
103 people found this review helpful.

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.