In Santiago there is a Facebook group called “Roommate and Flatfinder” through which many have found their apartments and student houses. There you can post yourself that you are looking for something, and the landlords put ads of free rooms in there. Apart from that, there are some websites where you can search for free rooms, e.g. compartodepto. In general, it is relatively easy to find accommodation, especially since the FEN students are there relatively early and therefore look for the majority of the other exchange students.
You should definitely stay in the hostel for a few days and search on site. Cleanliness and order are defined a little differently in Chile and the standards do not correspond to the German ones. Therefore, you will probably end up in a few shacks at the beginning and think in shock that you will never find a good place to stay, but you will not give up. After a few disappointments, everyone has found a nice home.
I personally made friends with one of my future roommates in the hostel and we knew that we had roughly the same demands. When she said that there was still a room in our house, that she raved about the clean house and that I could see it that same evening, I found a nice place to stay within a week. In my opinion, it was the easiest, and so have many others, that you can find a room through the other exchange students who already have a home.
The Chileans are very family-bound, and living is quite expensive, so that many Chileans still live at home until they are 25. As a result, most of us have lived mainly in apartments or student houses with other internationals.
I lived in a large house in Providencia with six other students from around the world. Our familia had a really good relationship: You were never alone, you always found company at breakfast, cooking or in the evening when you wanted to watch a movie in the living room. Every Sunday evening someone cooked for the whole gang of rascals and then another episode of Narcos was watched, chatted or the next legendary party was planned in our house. I was very lucky with my roommates, and some of them quickly became my closest friends in Santiago.
Santiago is a huge metropolis and everything your heart desires can be found there. FEN itself has a gym that can be used for free. Apart from that, you can choose sports courses or go to try-outs for the university teams. Otherwise there are plenty of fitness studios in the city and the city also offers free sports courses. These are the people you see dancing Zumba or aerobics in one of the many parks, times and places can be found on the Internet.
Otherwise there are an incredible number of cute cafes, nice restaurants and cozy bars in Santiago where you can meet. Especially in Providencia in the area around Manuel Montt and Tobalaba, Barrio Lastarria or my favorite district Barrio Italia, it is difficult to choose a place because one is more beautiful and inviting than the other.
Every Wednesday Miercoles Po was on the program, a series of parties for internationals. Since most universities started a little later on Thursday and at least the official party was over at 4:30 pm at the latest, you could easily get this under one roof with the university. Afterwards there was usually the possibility to go to an after party in a student house, these were generally the most popular parties. There were many bars and clubs in Bellavista, but for most of them the best and most memorable evenings were long nights in one of the student houses.
There are countless possibilities for excursions. Chile is an incredibly beautiful and varied country. There are hardly any trains, but there is a very well developed long-distance bus system. The buses are quite cheap and very clean and can definitely keep up with the German buses. If you are lucky, you can also find cheap flights that pay off to the Atacama Desert or, in particular, to the otherwise inaccessible Patagonia. Checking flights is worthwhile, as the length of Chile is definitely not to be underestimated.
Around Santiago you can ski in the Andes for a day in winter. In the Casablanca Valley there are many good wineyards where you can do a wine tasting for little money or buy a bottle of wine and have a picnic with it outside. Worth a day trip! Valparaiso is also only two hours away, but so beautiful that you should spend at least one night there or stop by several times.
Within Chile there are countless travel destinations for a long weekend, so that many of us have already explored Chile during the semester. As a whole continent, South America is absolutely breathtaking and fascinating. If the budget and time allow, I would definitely stay there after the semester and explore the other countries.
- Learn more about Chile and South America, please check homosociety.
After the semester, I stayed in South America for two more months and flew up to the Caribbean coast in Colombia and only then flew down to Patagonia due to the better weather conditions in the summer. This trip was an amazing experience! Really take your time to travel, there are so many great destinations and you would regret it if you were there, all of them took off and you had to go back to Germany.
My semester in Chile was a unique experience and I would choose it again at any time. The culture is different, it is a bit more chaotic and slower, but if you get involved in the other way of life, you learn to not only accept the relaxed way of life, but also to love yourself. Chile as a country is fascinating and beautiful, at first my parents had concerns about the security in South America, but if you behave there with enough caution and some common sense, it is absolutely safe and you do not have to have any concerns. I can only recommend a semester in Chile!