Decision for Chile
Since I have already been to English-speaking countries very often and also wanted to learn Spanish, it was clear to me from the start that I wanted to do my master’s semester abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. Since the HS Koblenz did not offer a suitable university for me, I started looking for suitable universities and came across the MicroEDU agency. After I gave my contact person my exact ideas, a short time later I was sent a list of possible study locations, detailed information and prices. After consulting with those responsible at the HS Koblenz about the course selection and recognition, I finally decided on the Universidad de Chile. The Facultad de Economiy y Negocios (FEN) is one of the best business universities in South America and offers a very good exchange program for international students. An important decision criterion for me was that I could take the courses in English and thus learn Spanish on the side. I have also heard a lot about Chile from relatives and in Latin America Chile is one of the safest and most developed countries.
After discussing everything with the HS Koblenz, I informed MicroEDU of my decision. They immediately sent me the detailed application conditions and the required forms. These documents had to be filled out correctly and completely and sent to MicroEDU along with a copy of the passport. It was very pleasant that I neither had to write a letter of motivation nor take language tests. If I had any questions, I was able to contact my contact person at any time, who took a lot of time to answer them, be it by e-mail or in person on the phone. The entire placement process ran smoothly and free of charge via MicroEDU and the acceptance from the university was not long in coming.
MicroEDU was always at my side with advice during the final preparations, and the country information helped a lot with some decisions. For example, you can choose between applying for a student visa or entering via a tourist visa. The student visa has the advantage that you get a Chilean ID card and can benefit from discounts in the metro or in national parks. The disadvantage is that the application is quite expensive and time-consuming, even in Chile. Since I had planned various trips during the semester anyway, I opted for the tourist visa, which allows you to stay in the country for 90 days. After that, it is sufficient to leave and return for a day or a weekend, for example. This works due to the proximity to Argentina (e.g. Mendoza) very good and is really problem-free. If you don’t stay in Chile for a whole year, I can only recommend the tourist visa.
- Learn more about Chile and South America, please check ehealthfacts.
I booked my flight through TAM Airlines because you could take two pieces of luggage with you for free. It wasn’t the cheapest offer and I might not book the outward and return flights together if the exact route is not yet clear. Since there is no direct flight from Germany to Chile, you can choose between stays in Madrid, France, the USA and / or Brazil and thus possibly have a stopover on the outward or return journey. In total, however, you should plan between € 800 and € 1300 for the flight.
After the acceptance of the Universidad de Chile and the presentation of the International Office, we were provided with detailed information about studying at the UDC, looking for accommodation, life in Santiago and general safety precautions. This included a “Housing Guide” in which the various options were explained, from apartments to long-term stays in hostels and host families. Since other students recommended that I take a close look at the accommodations before moving in, I only did general research and already made some viewing appointments for my first week. After my arrival I was fortunate enough to stay with friends who also showed me the local websites. I found various advertisements on www.compartodepto.cl and looked at some shared apartments. You can also create a profile yourself and you will then be overwhelmed by offers. I can only recommend everyone to take a close look at the apartments beforehand and to pay attention to the regulations in the contract, e.g. what is all included. Unfortunately, many offers often promise more than what they actually hold in reality. But different Facebook groups can also be helpful in the search. After looking at five apartments, I found the perfect room for me in a 4-person shared apartment. For this I paid 250,000 pesos a month, which is about 330 €. There are certainly cheaper alternatives, but of course it always depends on the person and what you expect from the accommodation. Of course, the standards can in no way be compared with Germany. For example it was very bad for me that our apartment had no heating (this is not so common in Chile), only a small heater was available. The insulation of the windows cannot be compared with German standards and if you have a room on a main street you shouldn’t be sensitive to noise. Personally, I didn’t want to live in a typical student house with 20 people, but as already mentioned, Santiago has something for everyone. My apartment was right on a park in the Providencia district, only a 5-minute walk from the university, and a supermarket and metro were right around the corner. The Bellavista party district and the center were also just a few minutes’ walk away.