Chile – a country of contrasts and my goal for my semester abroad in 2014.
Application to the Universidad de Chile
The semester abroad is an integral part of my dual studies. So I had to think: where do I want to go?
My university in Germany has a few partner universities, but in the Spanish-speaking countries and outside Europe, which were important criteria for the country of my choice, the selection was unfortunately not very large. But then I found out about MicroEDU at an information event at my university. On the website I found the Universidad de Chile and based on the good reviews and various testimonials and other factors, I decided on this university.
Thanks to MicroEDU, the application process was very easy for me. All contact with the university abroad is initially through MicroEDU. All the necessary documents are sent there and they are then forwarded to Chile. Regardless of what questions arise, you always have an answer quickly. It took a while for the UDC to confirm it, but you should expect that when you are dealing with South American institutions. But once the confirmation is there, you will receive the first emails from the UDC International Office, including on topics such as visas. It is also possible to take part in a program in which you become a so-called FEN buddy gets put aside. FEN is the Facultad de Economía y Negocios and the FEN-Buddy is actually a godfather who should show you everything that is important in the beginning and, above all, a FEN-Buddy is a good opportunity to make Chilean contacts early on. Here, however, you have to be lucky to get the right buddy, because I’ve heard several times from my fellow students that they actually had a FEN buddy, but never saw him because the buddies don’t try to meet. Personally, I was lucky with my FEN buddy. I met him on the first day and he showed me and a few people I had already got to know from the facebook group that is created for the exchange students before the semester starts, the first important places in Santiago.
Finding accommodation in Santiago de Chile
Finding accommodation is basically relatively easy. There is a website http://compartodepto.cl/ where you can create a profile and ask what kind of accommodation you are looking for. Then you can write to a provider and you can make appointments to look at the apartments. You can also search for offers. While some of them hadn’t found an apartment after more than a week, I only had to do a single tour before I found what I wanted: a house where other students live and where Spanish is spoken. The UDC also sends out a document in which apartment advertisements and platforms on which one can search are listed. Most of the people I spoke to hadn’t even dealt with the subject of living before I got there. Many of the UDC exchange students spent the first few days in the Hostal Providencia, which is very close to the university. Personally, I lived near the Manuel Montt metro station, which is a very good location in my opinion as everything you need is close by, there are also some restaurants and cafes close by and there are only two metro stations to the university. From there I walked to the university for about half an hour. If you want to live in the center of Santiago you should be aware that this part of the city is considered a little less safe. However, some exchange students have also lived here. In general: The further west you are from the center, the richer the people who live there and the safer the areas are.Depending on your requirements, you can adjust to rental prices in major German cities. My 12 or 13 sqm room, for example, cost 200,000 CLP, which was around 260 euros.
- Learn more about Chile and South America, please check topb2bwebsites.
Life in Santiago
Santiago itself is a big city in which almost half of the population of the entire country live. You especially notice these crowds at rush hour in the metro. The best way to get to the metro is to buy a BIP! Card. You can top up this with a sum of money at the ticket counters and thus get to the metro faster than having to buy a ticket every time. Getting around in Chile is generally very cheap. The taxis, for example, are very cheap compared to Germany. Depending on where you go to eat, you can do this much cheaper than here. Overall, however, the prices are more on the same level as in Germany.
If you are a blonde girl, you should perhaps know that the men on the street in Chile often make comments or, in their eyes, compliments. When you go out to party, for example in the Barrio Bellavista, you definitely can’t (I speak from experience) complain that you don’t get enough attention. Otherwise, the Chileans are sometimes very shy and you usually have to approach them yourself if you want to make friends.
One is often told that it is better not to walk the streets of Santiago alone at night because there are gangs of robbers. Even with two people it is usually still a bit dangerous, as these groups are usually around four people.
My semester started in July, i.e. in winter, and although it only cooled down to zero degrees at night, a lot of people caught cold. This cold often lasted for months because the smog in the city did not encourage the recovery process.