One of the first questions the Chileans ask is “Why did you choose Chile?”
First of all, I can say that I always wanted to go to Latin America and a Spanish-speaking country for a semester abroad. The problem with my university in Germany, however, was that there are no partner universities in Latin America and that I had no other option than to organize the stay myself, but had a free choice. After I found MicroEDU, the choice of countries was already limited. I finally chose Chile because of its security, which in my opinion is comparable to that of Europe, and the high standard of living.
I chose the Universidad de Chile because I wanted to study in the capital, Santiago. Valparaíso and Viña del Mar are worth a visit for a weekend or perhaps for a longer period of time, but for the duration of a semester, Santiago simply has more to offer; I would therefore always make my decision this way.
MicroEDU simplifies the application process enormously, I had the feeling that I did not have much more effort compared to my fellow students who went to a partner university. Since I already knew pretty well where I wanted to go from my own research, I did not take advantage of the information offered by MicroEDU, but questions were answered very quickly.
I was often told that the U de Chile would like to have as many exchange students as possible, so there is a high probability that you will be accepted by the university.
Even before the start of the semester, the staff at the International Office provided comprehensive information at an early stage. Thanks to a Facebook group that was founded, you could already have questions about courses or other points that were answered immediately (al tiro). You will also receive a form beforehand (I think already in December for the autumn semester) in which you can enter your course requirements. You also get the same at the start of the semester and you have a month to decide on your courses. There is quite a large selection of English-language courses, so you can go to the FEN (pronounced Fen) even if you have no great knowledge of Spanish.
- Learn more about Chile and South America, please check mathgeneral.
The first day
On the first day you will get an introduction to the FEN, information about activities of ISA FEN (a student organization for exchange students) and other things together with the other exchange students. Optionally, you can take a Spanish placement test if you want to take a Spanish course later (it’s free, but not for MicroEDU students). In the end, after receiving all sorts of information and a FEN T-shirt, you were assigned to your group with Chilean freshmen (mechones), with whom you had to do something like a scavenger hunt together. My group was a little lazy, so we only did the tasks on campus and then bought beer and drank it comfortably on the soccer field. The Chilean freshmen are between 17 and 19 years old, which makes it seem a bit strange at first due to the age difference. However, these students are usually the first Chilean contacts that you make at university and that you see again and again during the course of the semester (even if not in the lectures). This also makes it very easy for exchange students to get to know new Chileans (friends of friends of friends, etc.). The day ends with completos (hot dogs) and drinks. meet new Chileans (friends of friends of friends, etc.). The day ends with completos (hot dogs) and drinks. meet new Chileans (friends of friends of friends, etc.). The day ends with completos (hot dogs) and drinks.
Studying at the FEN
As already mentioned, you can choose English courses in addition to Spanish. The specialty of the English courses is that the level is usually not very high and that there are a maximum of two to three Chileans in these courses. For Chileans, these courses are electivos (compulsory elective) and they usually prefer other courses. It should also be noted that the English level of the Chileans is very low.
If you want to have as little workload as possible during the semester, you should choose the English courses, because the workload is ridiculously low compared to the ones in Spanish, but these courses are not particularly interesting either. For example, the “Latin America in World’s Affairs” course sounds interesting in itself but is pretty boring, otherwise I had “Globalización, Tratados y Acuerdos Comerciales”, which was basically the same. I also had “Global Strategic Management” (with a British visiting professor) and “Dirección de Empresas”, which this semester was exceptionally in English. However, since it is a compulsory course for the Chileans, we were only three exchange students and about 15 Chileans in this course.
The study conditions at the FEN are excellent, there are plenty of workstations in the library and there are also plenty of PC spaces. However, these are often occupied and you have to wait a bit from time to time until a PC becomes free. Miserable at most of the FEN’s locations is the wi-fi. Tip: if you wanted a stable connection, it is best to go to the 3rd floor of the library, in my opinion the connection is best there.
What many may not know: the U de Chile is one of the best universities in Latin America and accordingly appears at the top of the comparative rankings. In fact, the FEN is the best Latin American business school.
At the FEN there are mid-term exams, if you lay your courses skillfully or coordinate with the professors, you can take a vacation from this ten-day phase. As a rule, the professors are very accommodating and offer to move the exams forward or to postpone them to a later date. During this week, many of us traveled to Buenos Aires or Bolivia / Peru, for example.
Life at the FEN
In addition to studying, there are plenty of other activities at the FEN. Every semester there is a football tournament organized by the CDA FEN (Centro Deportivo de Alumnos), in which the teams play against each other for two months. The games take place directly on the campus’ own soccer field. In general, it is also possible for exchange students to join one of the faculty selections and take part in games against other faculties or universities – everything is possible from tennis to rugby to futsal or football.
You can also choose sports courses, but you have to pay for them. The Chileans have to choose sports courses, as an exchange student it is sufficient to discuss with the respective trainer whether it is okay to take the course. There is also a gym FEN, that if it is free, is available and you can dance classes participate (merengue, bachata, salsa)
Every Friday, or at least many Fridays of FEN from 18:00 called Jaranazos take place on campus. These are parties, accompanied by reggaeton and electro, where you dance and spend time together. These parties usually end between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., after which you can move on – unless you are a Chilean, because some of them also have lectures on Saturdays.