It has always been clear to me that I wanted to do a semester abroad in South America. Since I couldn’t get a place at my own university, I decided to go through MicroEDU. I chose the Universidad de Chile, as it is one of the best business universities in South America with the FEN (Faculdad Economia y Negocios) and Chile is considered the safest travel destination on the continent. In addition, I was able to take all courses in English and learn Spanish on the side. The application went smoothly and I was grateful not to have to show any annoying Spanish tests or a letter of motivation.
The only real administrative work consisted of the application for the Auslandsbafög, which reimbursed me for all tuition fees. You also have the choice to enter with the free tourist visa for 90 days or to apply for the official student visa. The advantage of the student visa is that you can use it to apply for the Chilean student card and thus travel cheaper by metro or get discounts in the national parks. The disadvantage is that the application is quite complex and expensive. That’s why I decided on the tourist visa.
The Universidad de Chile is well established compared to the University of Cologne. Everything is new and modern, the library is equipped with numerous computers and study rooms. There is a gym for free use and numerous exercise classes are offered. We were very well looked after by our contact persons and you could take part in film evenings, dance courses or excursions every week.
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I took the subjects “International Management”, “International Business” and “Import Export Management” (all correspond to 6 ECTS) and was very satisfied with my choice. With 20-30 students, the classes were quite small and the relationships with the professors were therefore very personal. Compared to Germany, studying in Chile is more difficult: we often had to hand in homework, give presentations or hand in group work. You even got points for being present, which must be more than 80%. If you had travel plans, you just had to let the professors know and with a bit of luck the exams might even be postponed for us.
Living in Santiago:
I lived with 18 flatmates from all over the world in the house “Casa Condell” in the safe district of Providencia. I paid around 250 euros for the rent and the placement followed through the Atacama Hostel in Santiago. Even if the rooms were very small and the house didn’t really meet German standards, I loved life there. We had many house parties, only Spanish was spoken and the housewife “Tia Nelly” took care of the necessary cleanliness. Another advantage was that I could walk to the university in just 10 minutes from the house.
Both shopping and the metro is very expensive in Chile. You can hardly afford cheese and sausage from the supermarket in particular. A cheap alternative was therefore the weekly market, where I bought my fruit and vegetable ration for the whole week every Friday.
The nightlife takes place mainly in Bellavista or Las Condes. The “Miercoles po” party series, which takes place every Wednesday, is particularly popular with exchange students. We also recommend the “after office”, a party that takes place on the 8th floor above the roofs of Santiago and is intended for the entertainment of the middle and upper class. The most popular drinks include “Pisco Sour” and “Terremoto”.
Chile & Culture:
In my opinion, the Chileans are among the friendliest people in South America: when I lost money, a Chilean ran after me to give it back to me; When the bags in the supermarket were too heavy, a Chilean carried them home for me; when I asked for directions, I was escorted to the destination. In addition, there was always interest shown and the willingness to help touched me deeply.
Only the taxi drivers were exhausting. Alone on the way to university, a European, blonde girl was honored several times. This can get on your nerves after a while.
When it comes to traveling, Chile is a dream. You can go surfing west by the sea or skiing east in the Andes in just 2 hours. During the semester I was able to travel almost all over the country. Special highlights were the Atacama Desert and Patagonia. Since the semester in Chile starts very early and ends at the end of November, there is still enough time to travel to the surrounding countries of Bolivia, Peru and Argentina.
Nothing ever happened to me in Chile. If you don’t walk alone through lonely streets at night, don’t take taxis alone and don’t proudly present your iPhone on the street, then you are absolutely safe on the road.
For me, the time in Chile and my final trip through Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia was one of the most beautiful times of my life and I don’t want to miss a single day of it. I can only recommend the semester abroad at the UDC !!