A man on top of a mountain A man on top of a mountain

API at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics


  • Living Situation


  • Cultural Immersion


  • Program Administration


  • Health and Safety


  • Social Life


My Study Abroad Experience with API

So much of what I learn in college is book-based, but there is something invaluable in connecting the intellectual world with personal intercultural experiences. The world used to seem so vast, but I have now created a network that provides comfort and accessibility in unknown territories across the world. I didn’t know anything about Chilean culture and I didn’t know what to expect but I knew it was something I wanted to learn about because it was so different from everything that I knew. It was an opportunity and I took it. I got to learn something outside of myself and I realized that there is more than what I was restricted to before. There are no limits and that’s an incredible feeling to know that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to like traveling to a new country and conquering a new language.
One of my greatest experiences abroad was volunteering for an organization called Valpo Surf Project in Valparaíso, Chile. I developed lesson plans to encourage English language skills, personal character development and environmental consciousness among at-risk youth. However, as much as I taught the kids, they taught me so much more. I cannot imagine my experience without them. They taught me about ambitious topics such as Chilean culture and history as well as reinforced and strengthened many of the characteristics I have today. While I sometimes felt insecure about my Spanish speaking abilities they showed me its okay to make mistakes and to smile. They also taught me how to constantly adapt and be flexible. Many of the kids came from unstable families and they taught me it is okay to be unsure and to adjust to different conditions and environments. I was constantly thrown in new situations, which at first seemed stressful, but I learned how to make them both successful and fun.
Many of the experiences, such as the volunteering described above, was the result of studying abroad through Academic Programs International. The company truly cares for each student and wants to make their experience incredible. Karla, the on-site director in Chile, knows all the hidden gems of the city and was very influential on my experiences. She truly cared about each student in the program and become a confidant and friend to all of us. I wouldn't trade any of my experiences for anything in the world.

  • Academic Programs International responded to this review January 09, 2015 at 6:02 AM

    Thanks Kaitlin - so glad that the experience has such a positive effect on you :)