The application process for the university in Chile was very easy. I had to fill out some forms in Spanish beforehand. However, MicroEDU sent me a PDF manual where every field was translated and I was able to fill in my details with ease. Then I sent everything to MicroEDU in Münster, who then clarified everything else with the Universidad de Chile. I received the confirmation after a short time. The application process was so easy !
My home university stipulated that I should take a total of four courses. On average, my fellow students also had four courses, but some also had up to six, which in my opinion are a bit too many, since the Spanish-language courses in particular are very labor-intensive.
Before I left, I had to choose four courses. On site, however, I still had the opportunity to change or cancel courses. I also made use of this and looked at various courses until I finally decided three weeks after starting my studies. Because of my manageable level of Spanish before the semester, I only decided to take courses in English.
I have chosen the following four courses: Entrepreneurship for Small Businesses, Intercultural Business Challenges in Latin America, Globalization, Treaties and Trade Agreements and Strategic Alliances, Mergers and Acquisitions. In the end, I was very happy with my choice of course. I would particularly like to highlight the M&A course, which I would like to recommend to any future student. The workload in this course was definitely higher, but the content and – especially the professor – were very interesting and entertaining!
Supervision of exchange students
The support from the International Office at the university was unique ! Catherine Rooney and Stephanie Dazin’s door was always open and they were always happy to help. In addition, the university held a very extensive introductory event where all questions were clarified. A group led by Chilean students called ISAFEN also offered free events several times a month (e.g. BBQ in the park, hikes and much more), which meant that people were very well integrated and contact with local students was promoted.
My new home in Santiago
Before going abroad, I was unsure whether I would like to share a flat with Chileans or other exchange students. On the one hand I wanted to improve my Spanish, on the other hand I also wanted to meet like-minded students who – like me, of course – wanted to explore the country.
In the end, I found a good compromise. I lived with 14 other exchange students from many different countries in a house in the Providencia district, which I can definitely recommend to any future student in Chile. I also had Chilean friends with whom I spoke and learned a lot of Spanish. On the one hand it is easy to get to know other Chileans through the university if you want, on the other hand there are tandem partner portals on which it is very easy to find someone.
I got in touch with the landlord through a friend. Otherwise, finding a flat in Santiago is not particularly difficult. There are many apartments on offer. There are always a lot of advertisements in Facebook groups. As mentioned, I lived in Providencia. The district is very safe and you can move around freely at night.
Chile – From the desert to the icebergs
As a travel destination, there is hardly a better country than Chile. During the semester and afterwards, I used the time to travel across the country, but also to neighboring countries. On the one hand there is the Atacama Desert in the north – the driest desert in the world. The landscape there is unique and cannot be compared to anything I’ve seen before. The country is very sparsely populated there, there are only individual oases in which water from the neighboring springs of the Andes can be stored and otherwise only a lot of sand. In the vicinity of the city of San Pedro de Atacama, for example, you can visit the Valle de la Luna (“Valley of the Moon”), which looks beautiful at sunset.
- Learn more about Chile and South America, please check politicsezine.
My personal highlight in Chile, however, was Patagonia. At the very end of my time in Chile, I went hiking in the Torres del Paine National Park for five days. Never before in my life have I seen such beautiful nature! I can only recommend everyone to pay a visit to the south when in Chile. In the national park I saw huge glaciers and (ice) mountains – so the complete contrast to the hot north. In terms of travel, there is something for everyone in Chile.
You can also go hiking in and around Santiago. In winter you can even make day trips to the Andes for skiing without any problems. Not far from Santiago (approx. 1.5 hours) is the port city of Valparaiso, which you can visit if you want to sniff the sea air on the coast.
Do’s and don’ts
First the do’s: Get to know the entire region !! It is best to save some money in advance to travel to Latin America. Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru… Everything is not very far away and can be reached with a maximum of 3-4 hours by flight. Or go on a road trip: Halfway through the semester, you have two weeks of vacation. Use the time and rent a car (very cheap), drive with friends through the country and get to know the culture and people.
Another tip: make use of the time. Of course you are there to study, but who knows if you will come to South America again. There is so much to see in the country and then you can cram again in Germany.
Don’t’s: Be careless, especially on the metro. Take care of your valuables! Especially in the subway people steal like crazy. In any case, you stand out there because of your skin color and language and are popular victims of theft. About half of the exchange students had something stolen during the semester. You should also be careful at the classic parties for international students (Miercoles Po, every Wednesday), and very important: Afterwards, under no circumstances should you take the taxi home on your own!
Don’t think South America is cheap! The supermarkets are more expensive than in Germany and if you want to live centrally, you have to expect around 300 euros, depending on the standard you choose. But Chile is a relatively expensive country in the region. Bolivia and Peru, for example, are much cheaper!
I can only warmly recommend a semester abroad at the Universidad de Chile, you will not regret it. I had a very nice year there, made many new friends and got to know a whole new culture.