My name is Mara K., I am 24 years old and am studying for a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Osnabrück. I spent my 9th semester (from March 2018 – July 2018) at the University of Chile, Faculty of Economy and Business. This was a very valuable experience for me, which I would definitely recommend and recommend to everyone, because during this time I was able to develop not only academically and professionally, but also culturally and personally.
I decided to spend a semester abroad at the Faculty of Economy and Business because I wanted to develop and expand my economic knowledge. Although I had modules such as “organizational psychology” and “work psychology” in my bachelor’s degree, I was given the framework of my practical experience, such as my mandatory internship at BMW in Munich and a change management workshop in a psychological management consultancy (Timmermann & Partners, Munich) aware that I still lacked basic and intercultural business know-how for my further professional and academic career.
In addition, I would like to focus on the field of business psychology as part of my master’s degree and therefore wanted to use the semester abroad in Chile to prepare myself more specifically for it. For this reason, I wanted to supplement and expand my psychological knowledge from my studies in Osnabrück and my previous (practical) economic experience with basic and theoretical economic knowledge.
Courses & lectures
Since I had already studied psychology for eight semesters in Osnabrück and had thus already successfully completed all compulsory modules and services as part of my bachelor’s degree, I was able to choose my courses at the University of Chile, Faculty of Economy and Business (FEN) predominantly according to my personal interests and preferences.
Since I am interested in both economic and intercultural topics, I have, in addition to a Spanish language course (level A1-A2), the English-language courses “International Management” with Gabriela Schulten Mejia and the course “Latin America in Worlds Affairs” with Prof Walter Sánchez González occupied. The language course took place three times a week for 1.5 hours each in a group of eight students and the business courses always took place twice a week, also for 1.5 hours in a group of mostly 25-35 students. In general, one should not underestimate the workload at the FEN within the economic courses. Unlike in Germany, there is an 80 percent attendance requirement and “case studies” had to be submitted in small groups, presentations held and “reading tests” taken at regular intervals. In addition, there was a mid-term exam after the first half of the semester (end of April / beginning of May) and a final exam at the end of the semester, which consisted of both small essay questions and several multiple choice questions.
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Although the level of the subjects was slightly lower than in Germany, good grades were never given away. For the final grade of the module, not only the final exam counted, but also all semester-related services and active participation in the course, so that the workload in the semester was always high and you had to constantly work on the courses. Most Chilean students take their studies very seriously because they pay high tuition fees for their studies. This was heavily criticized both in the past and in my time, so that several times during my semester there were student strikes and thus “strike-free” days at the FEN.
Furthermore, it can basically be said that 80 percent of the English-language courses at the university consisted of international students, so that there were relatively few points of contact with the Chilean students within the courses. Nevertheless, there was also a buddy program and the international student organization ISA FEN (International Student Association), which, in addition to many activities, also organized trips and parties to bring international and Chilean students together in a relaxed atmosphere.
The modern campus of the Faculty of Economy and Business at the University of Chile is located in the Providencia district and was easily accessible by metro (red line 1, “Universidad de Catolica” station). On campus there was a small cafeteria with a varied menu, a café, a small fitness studio that FEN students could use free of charge, well-equipped computer rooms, a large library with a wide range of online services and rooms for small groups that could be booked. In general, the campus was very nice, bright, modern and well organized. Most of the sporting activities were free for exchange students and you were always warmly welcomed. Only the sanitary facilities left a lot to be desired in terms of cleanliness, but in the course of my semester I noticed that this was a general phenomenon in Santiago. There were also numerous cafés, small restaurants, a supermarket and a bank in the immediate vicinity of the campus.
During my semester abroad I lived in a shared flat for two in Las Condes (Hernando de Magallanes metro station, red line). For the first few days in Santiago, like many other international students, I had booked a hostel in the center of Santiago de Chile. There you could already get to know other students for the first time or get together when looking for an apartment. Overall, looking for an apartment on site has proven to be really very simple and straightforward. On the second day in Santiago I had already arranged several visits and thus quickly found my apartment. Especially in the weeks before the start of the lectures, there are a lot of shared accommodation and requests on the social networks, for example in the Facebook group “RooMate and Flat Finder Santiago”, so that you will definitely find what you are looking for.