Decision-making and application phase
Since the beginning of my studies it was clear to me that I wanted to do a semester abroad. However, I wasn’t quite as clear about where to go. My university’s partner universities weren’t particularly appealing to me, so I looked for other options and came across MicroEDU. I was always given great advice, every smallest question was answered immediately and a lot of work and organizational effort was relieved of me. When I finally made up my mind that I wanted to improve my Spanish and go to South America, everything suddenly happened very quickly. I looked for my documents together and almost 2 weeks later I was accepted for the Universidad de Chile. Since I am actually studying communication studies, the Facultad de Economía y Negocios is not ideal.
The Facultad de Economía y Negocios has a fairly wide range of courses that are naturally related to economics and business. Chileans can only choose courses that correspond to their academic year. The international students, on the other hand, can choose courses from the entire range. In addition, a Spanish course is offered for which you are graded by a test. You don’t have to be afraid of the test. I came with B1 level, was classified as advanced and ultimately decided against the course because you learn a lot in everyday life and can also take part in other programs, such as the “language partner” program.
Studying at the Universidad de Chile is very demanding and you have to stay with it permanently for good grades. The material is not more difficult, but the assessment is often strict and there are not only exams at the end of the semester, but also in the middle of the semester, as well as numerous group work, tests, homework, etc. It is often more reminiscent of school, especially because of it the compulsory attendance. However, the Profs are very understanding when you are absent because you want to travel a bit. The Chileans are also very open-minded; I was immediately received in a friendly manner in every subject and integrated into groups. However, I recommend taking a maximum of four courses. Less is also enough, after all you want to get to know the country and its people, it is really worth it!
If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact the International Office personally. Everyone there is very nice and helpful and speaks fluent English if there are initial language difficulties (Chilean Spanish is very indistinct and takes some getting used to). You can also look at the courses first and then eliminate them afterwards. So it is better to choose too many rather than too few courses first.
Santiago and Housing
Santiago is a huge city. If you have to ride the metro every day at rush hour, it strains both your nerves and your wallet. Taking the metro is cheap compared to Germany, but it adds up. In addition, the metro is so full at rush hour that you can’t even squeeze in. That’s why I found it very useful to be able to walk to university. I lived in Santiago Centro. Other good neighborhoods are Providencia, Recoleta and Nuñoa. Those who like to go away a lot should move to or near Bellavista. However, taxi driving is also really cheap and safe, especially if you share it with several people.
You can easily find a room via compartodepto.cl. It’s something like wg-gesucht.de, with pulls from a social network, because you can create a profile. You can both write and receive messages. I only looked for my room on site, but you can also start from home and make viewing appointments.
The quality of life in Santiago is high, but life is far from cheap. So unfortunately you can’t come here to save, but that’s not the point;)
Excursions and trips
If you decide to spend a semester in Chile, you should definitely plan time and money for traveling, because the whole country is gigantic. San Pedro de Atacama in the north is an absolute must and my personal highlight. Other worthwhile travel destinations are la Serena (including Valle de Elqui and Isla Damas), Pucón, Chiloé and actually Patagonia. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to Patagonia because it was getting too cold. Shorter trips can be made to Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Isla Negra and the Andes.
The more distant destinations can be reached with LAN, for example, the Chilean low-cost airline: lan.cl. Attention: it is essential to book on the Chilean website and NOT on the German LAN website. The German prices are many times over. If you have booking difficulties because of a German credit card, you can also go directly to a travel agency. You can also easily reach everything by bus, e.g. B. with Tur Bus or Cruz del Sur. I would recommend Cruz del Sur the most, but only goes to southern destinations from Santiago.
Before or after the semester it is of course worthwhile to travel to other countries, e.g. Bolivia, Peru, Argentina.
- Learn more about Chile and South America, please check computerannals.
Cosmetic products are expensive here and the range is nowhere near as large as in Germany. Girls, bring tampons. Don’t drink tap water and be careful with food on the street. I have a sensitive stomach, so I found it difficult to get used to eating. Clothing is also rather expensive and the quality is poor. However, it is very easy to buy shoes. Entel is a good and inexpensive mobile phone provider. You can top up your mobile phone credit at the pharmacy.
If you are in the mood for a completely different life and many great experiences, you should definitely opt for a semester abroad in South America. Chile is comparatively really safe, I never felt uncomfortable on the street, although it can be exhausting sometimes because you stand out with blonde hair and are constantly turned on. The Chileans are very open-minded and helpful and also very curious. And the country is absolutely amazing. In my opinion it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world as it has so many extremes. Desert, glaciers, the Andes, the sea, etc.
So come on, come to Chile and plan enough time:)