Ten Reasons To Study Abroad In Santiago

by Jennifer Ramos

Interested in studying abroad in a safe and progressive Spanish-speaking city in South America with a Mediterranean climate? Here are 10 reasons why you should put Santiago on the top of your list:

Colorful murals in Santiago, Chile
Colorful murals in Santiago, Chile - Photo by Jennifer Ramos

Quality of Education

Santiago is known as one of the best cities in Latin America to obtain a quality education. It has two of the most prestigious universities in Latin America located in the capital, and others within the city limits that have established successful exchange programs with universities in the United States. Those who want to study abroad in Santiago have several institutions from which to choose.

Location, Location, Location

At the base of the Andes Mountains and the coast, cities Viña del Mar and Valparaíso less than two hours away by bus, the capital could not be better situated. As the gateway to Chile and many other destinations, it is an ideal location for weekend getaways and travels throughout South America. Mendoza, Argentina is only a five-hour bus ride from Santiago.

That Chilean Welcome

Don’t be surprised if locals you just met suddenly invite you to their home or want to know more about your experiences studying abroad in Santiago. Chileans are friendly and helpful, and often want to learn about you and hear your impressions of their country. And remember, because Chilean Spanish is so difficult, if you can understand Chileans then you can understand just about any Spanish speaker!

Downtown Santiago, Chile

Downtown Santiago, Chile


Santiago is known as the safest city in Latin America. Although anything can happen anywhere in the world, Santiago is low on violent crime, with petty theft such as pickpocketing at the top of the list. Many Chileans carry fanny packs for this reason (and so should international students studying abroad in Chile). More good news: No special vaccines are needed for Chile.


Basic goods and services are very affordable for students and public transportation usually cost less than $1 per trip. There are plenty of free things to do in the city and the cost of living is lower than Europe, Australia, and the United States.

Young People

Many Santiguanos are young! Chileans are well-known for their asados (barbecues) and for finding any reason to have a social event. Immerse yourself in the culture, meet new friends, and improve your Spanish. Push yourself to go out with other young locals. It’s easy to stay with other foreign exchange students and speak English, but get out of your comfort zone and take advantage of your time in Chile — the friendly young people who populate this city make it easy to do.

Vibrant City

Accurately described as an evolving and progressive capital with dramatic changes since the return to democracy in 1990, Santiago differs from other Latin American cities with its unique cultural, historical, and political background. From local festivals to markets, events, and the exciting nightlife, there is always something to do in the capital.

Internships in Santiago

As the major business hub of a nation that boasts a stable and growing economy with numerous offices of multinational companies, this city is a great place to get an internship abroad. Santiago’s available internships allow international students to see their major or future field of interest through a different perspective, make professional connections, and get international work experience. It’s a great opportunity to gain exposure to the professional world.

Palacio de La Moneda

Palacio de La Moneda

Cultural Scene

Art and culture enthusiasts will be thrilled to explore Santiago’s streets with new murals, graffiti, and architecture influenced by Arab and European immigrants; not to mention the fascinating museums. The house built by Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda for his secret lover, La Chascona, is a popular museum. So as the Museum of Pre-Columbian  Art and Museo Bellas Artes.

Political History

Chile has a complex and fascinating political past. Although Congress meets in nearby Valparaíso, the majority of government offices are located in Santiago, including La Moneda, the presidential palace. The Museum of Memory and Human Rights was opened in 2010 to commemorate the victims of the Pinochet regime. It recounts that turbulent time in Chile’s history, still a taboo subject in many Chilean households.