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IES Abroad Santiago - Politics, Social Justice & Language

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I'm sad to leave

Study abroad is a personal experience that impacts everyone in different ways. The staff at IES abroad Santiago understand this and supports each student with social, academic, traveling, cultural-immersion, and host-family issues every step of the way. And Chile is a wonderful country with inviting people, breathe taking nature, and so much love to make any one feel at home.

When my parents dropped me off at the airport and I waved goodbye as I walked through security, I realized it was real and I was leaving to another country half way across the world on my own. I took a deep breath and plunged into the experience of a lifetime, one that would change me for the better and impact me for the rest of my life. I planted roots in South America and they run deep. Chile taught me to be patient with others and with myself, to communicate about everything always because you can never be too informed, to try new things and to get back up when you don't do as planned, to ask for help and in return, help others, to get lost and find your way home, to struggle and overcome obstacles, to learn, to love, and to grow. A part of Chile will forever be in my heart and I hope one day, it can be in yours too.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Connections and an Overall Great Experience

My study abroad experience in Santiago, Chile surpassed my expectations. As a member of the Health Studies Program, I took a Spanish for Healthcare Professionals course, did an internship at a community health foundation, and participated in a health studies seminar. One of the aspects I enjoyed most about being part of the IES program was the fact that they are connected and very accommodating to meeting students’ interests. As part of the Health Studies Program, the majority of students choose to participate in Clinical Observations; however, as one of the only students studying Public Health, I hoped to do something more hands on and learn about prevention. IES paired me with a community health agency called Popular Education in Health.
In addition, my host family as well surpassed expectations. A couple of my favorite memories were running most weekends with my host mom and also going to my grandma’s house for a Chilean BBQ. IES does a great job of pairing students with host families.
Lastly, arriving in Chile I thought I would travel more; however, I don’t regret staying in Santiago on the weekends and exploring various museums such as the Museum of Memory and Human Rights.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    8

Life changing doesn't even begin to cover it

Studying abroad in Santiago with IES was by far the greatest thing I could have done with a semester of my college career. I was able to solidify so much of what I want to do with my life and I don't believe that I could have done that without this experience. I was able to make lifelong friends, better my language skills, realize my passion for environmental policy, and really build a home away from home. I am planning on returning to work and live for a while after I graduate from college, there is just so much more of my beautiful Chile that I want to see and experience. I really do believe that without the help and guidance IES provided us my experience would not have been the same. They placed me with the most incredible host family, ensured that the classes I was taking both at IES and at the local university were what I needed for my area of study, and they helped us adapt to Chile in a brad sense as well as giving us the tools to navigate the culture on our own. I have attached a few photos of places that we got to travel and people I am now ever so lucky and grateful to call my friends.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

Study Abroad in Santiago

My decision to study abroad is one I will neither regret nor forget as it provided me the opportunity to grow academically and personally. Immersing myself in a new country enriched my global understanding; however, as much as I learned about Chilean people, history and culture, I learned more about myself.

As I waited at the Minneapolis airport for my thirteen hour flight to Santiago, a range of emotions swept over me: from excited to frightened, to homesick to exhilarated.Before embarking on my IES Study in Chile, I had never left the United States. I worried about how I could communicate with my host family and others. I had doubts about how I would manage all my classes and assignments in Spanish. I worried my GPA would take a irrecoverable hit or that I would be need to spend so much time studying I would miss the opportunities to explore the country.

All these concerns plagued me during my flight, but the moment I saw the IES group at the Santiago airport, I was at ease. The program and its staff provided resources, answers, orientation and ongoing support before, during, and after my trip. Beyond addressing students’ expected nerves commencing a study abroad program, the IES staff also helped me build confidence, acclimate to the country, and encourage me to embrace the uncomfortable by stepping outside my comfort zone.

I had ideas and expectations of what I thought my time aboard would be, but once I allowed myself to succumb to the adventure, I was able to learn the lessons I needed to learn. My mom wrote this Joseph Campbell quote on a card and packed in my luggage. Its meaning was unclear until I re-read it on my way home: “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Letting go of preconceived ideas and uncertainties allowed me the experience of a lifetime.

IES study abroad will immerse you in self-discovery that challenges you to find and rise above your potential. It will broaden your cultural understanding, develop your role as a global citizen, strengthen your relationships interests and values, prepare you with new problem-solving skills, encourage independence, and leave you wishing you could do it all again.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Finding a Second Home

My semester abroad is the most important chapter of my life in terms of growing as an individual. While living and studying in Santiago, I learned more than I could ever have imagined. When I arrived in Chile, I did not speak much Spanish and felt very lost. Luckily the IES staff, my host family, my friends (American and Chilean) and my professors helped me find a second home in Chile. Even though I did not directly enroll in a Chilean university, my classes at the IES abroad center were interesting and very in depth. I decided to study abroad with IES Santiago somewhat randomly, but it was the best decision I have made in my entire college career.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Semester in Santiago

I spent a semester studying at one of the best universities in South America through IES Abroad. I took classes that fulfilled my Spanish major, while also participating in a Health Studies program that solidified my interest in the medical field. I got to learn about the Chilean healthcare system while also shadowing doctors and nurses in a variety of different hospitals in the Santiago Metropolitan area. IES Abroad did a great job of immersing us in Chilean culture and preparing us for anything that would come our way. If I could have stayed longer, I would have!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Spring 2015

I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile during the spring semester. Being the only student from my university on this program, I was incredibly nervous going into the experience. However, the decision to study abroad with the Santiago program was the best decision I made. My program included 21 students from various universities across the nation, allowing me to meet people I would not have met otherwise. They were all welcoming and kind and created a wonderful foundation for me throughout the semester. The professors and program director at IES: Santiago were wonderful. They were willing to listen and help solve any problems that came up. I learned a lot during the semester and my Spanish improved greatly. Between the new experiences in a foreign country and travelling, I was kept busy and involved. After returning to the US, I would not trade this study abroad experience for anything.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    9

Aventuras en Santiago

I cannot speak highly enough about my experience in Santiago through IES! I went into the semester with a lot of doubts and apprehension, as I had never traveled or lived far from home. However, the supportive staff of IES made the transition to living in a foreign city less daunting. The program director, a seasoned veteran with IES, met individually with all students to address concerns and suggest ways to optimize the study abroad experience. The program provided a thorough orientation, in which I learned about Chilean culture, my fellow IES students, and much more.

The modern city of Santiago provided endless opportunities to explore the local cuisine and culture, and the transportation system made trips across the city feasible. The program often suggested weekend events around the city, as there were always fairs, shows, and concerts to attend. The academic workload was significantly less than at my home university, so I was able to travel across Chile and take advantage of weekend trips. This program was exceptionally well-run, and I highly recommend it!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Semester in Santiago

This past semester, I was studying abroad in Santiago, Chile with IES and it was such an amazing, unforgettable experience. The entire IES staff is extremely nice, they want you to feel at home even when you are thousands of miles away from home and they are such a great support system. IES also helps immensely in making you feel comfortable with the Chilean culture and customs through the week-long orientation and the various courses that they offer. Along with these classes, I was able to take a course at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile which is one of the best universities in South America. There I was able to be a part of the Chilean student life and meet some amazing friends, while improving my Spanish language skills at the same time. I lived in a homestay with the nicest host mom there is, she made me feel completely at home.
Santiago is an amazingly vibrant city filled with complex history, lively culture, and exhilarating thrills. It is a city of many contrasts from the colonial architecture to the modern skyscrapers, from the commotion of downtown to the peaceful surrounding mountains. This place has something for everyone. Likewise, the diversity of landscapes in Chile is striking. There are opportunities to relax among the beauty of the Atacama Desert or trek through the harsh landscape of Patagonia. I highly recommend spending a semester in Santiago, Chile with IES.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Santiago, IES style!

I recently returned from a semester abroad in Santiago, Chile through IES. Studying abroad is an ideal opportunity to pursue all kinds of growth – linguistic, cultural, and even personal, as you learn to identify and tackle the challenges that come with being in a foreign place. And in order to put down roots, adapt, and eventually thrive, you need a solid, knowledgeable source of support. And that’s exactly what I feel I got from IES.
From the very first few days in Santiago, IES was making sure we were situated and as comfortable as possible before giving us an overview of everything we’d need to know for our semester in Chile. Throughout my months abroad, I found IES to strike the perfect balance between accessibility and hands-off-ness. That is, IES staff was present, friendly, and easy to reach in times of need, but for the most part allowed me to do my own thing and sort things out for myself, all a part of the subtle, day-to-day growing that makes studying abroad so special. IES gave me the freedom to go out and explore independently; I was able to work with my peers to organize weekend trips to the furthest reaches of Chile on our own with minimal administrative red tape. However, IES was also there when we needed them, from offering emotional support during tough transitions to allowing us to use their building for a Halloween party. In short, beyond a few obligatory check-ins, IES played as big a role in our semester in Santiago as we wanted it to, which allowed for a highly customizable study abroad experience. I can’t imagine studying in Chile with anyone else!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    8

So... when can I go back to Santiago?

I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile last semester and I can honestly say that it was one of the best semesters of my life. From day one, IES made me feel at home and welcome which gave me the confidence I needed to travel and explore this beautiful city and country. This program gives you the opportunity to not only take great classes at the IES center in Santiago but also allows you to take classes at two of the best universities in Chile; Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad de Chile. I took three classes with IES, including the internship seminar and one class at Pontifica Universidad Católica and I enjoyed them all because I was learning something completely new everyday. My host family was very accommodating and made me feel right at home which made it even harder to leave at the end of my program. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone that is looking to have a culturally rich and exciting semester abroad!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Day-to-day adventure!

Studying abroad in Santiago, Chile was such a privilege and I would highly recommend it to curious, outgoing students who seek a "choose your adventure" type of experience. University life can be challenging, however it is rather normal for foreigners to be registered in courses with native-speakers at the local partner universities. The IES Santiago program gives you a more intimate feeling due to the usually smaller program size (during Fall 2014, there were 20 students studying in Santiago and close to 50+ student in the Buenos Aires program). This makes getting help and individual attention much easier from both program administrators and professors.

Chile is an amazing country to travel within with relatively affordable access to many tourist destinations of South America. Santiago in itself has endless opportunities for all interests. To take advantage of the entire cultural experience, our weekends were filled with hikes, soccer games, asados (similar to our cook-outs), trips to the beach, to name a few. I benefited the most from plugging in at a local Korean-Chilean church, and met friends who I will continue to keep in contact with. Seeking opportunities to meet locals will go a long way, and an open-mind paired was essential in making the most of time abroad.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    9

An Unforgettable Semester in Santiago

I spent a semester in Santiago with IES and loved every minute!

The program is very organized and the staff has a ton of experience, is very well-informed, and is always willing to help. I took two courses at the IES center, and two courses at la Pontificia Universidad de Chile (PUC), which is one of the highest ranked universities in South America. Everything is taught in Spanish, but with six years of Spanish language experience, I felt comfortable in the classroom. The professors are fantastic and really know their stuff. There are also opportunities to take classes at la Universidad de Chile, another highly ranked university.

For those looking for some one-on-one language learning, PUC runs a language exchange program with Chilean students who want to imporve their English. They pair you up and you agree to meet once a week for an hour to speak alternately in Spanish or English. This was one of the highlights of my semester, and is a great way to meet local students and make Chilean friends. IES also arranges housing with host familes, which is an excellent way to get immersed in the language and the culture.

There are always plenty of cultural events and activities going on in Santiago, and many have student discounts. Beyond the city, there are tons of opportunities for outdoor activities, as Santiago sits square between the Pacific Coast and the Andes Mountains. For those with any interest in hiking, this is the place for you! Chile also boasts many atractive landscapes from north to south that make great weekend trips - the Atacama Desert, Chiloe, and Patagonia were some of my favorites.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    9

Studying in Santiago

I thought I knew what to expect when I signed up to study abroad after talking to friends, reading these reviews and looking through endless pictures. But the truth is no matter how much preparing you do, your experience will be completely unique to you. Studying abroad really is what you make of it, and I firmly believe that I made my experience the absolute best. It was very scary and challenging ALL of the time, but it was completely worth it. With IES Abroad and living with a host family in Santiago, Chile I truly had the opportunity to be one with the local culture. I was able to meet genuine Chileans and travel all across the extremely diverse landscape of Chile. All of the sites I saw, people I met and places I visited have become my fondest memories. I love that I was able to take classes at the local university and still have my IES Abroad staff and fellow US students to fall back on. My favorite part about studying abroad was the fact that I was able to take the classes I wanted to (and with a lot of help from the wonderful IES staff still maintain my desired GPA) and I was still able to travel and do everything from hang-gliding, hiking with penguins, climbing an active volcano, skiing in the Andes Mountains, camping in the driest desert in the world and go to endless carnivals, parades and celebrations across the country! My experience abroad in Santiago, Chile is just impossible to describe, but I hope future students will be able to experience a fraction of what I was able to in just on semester.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Painful, beautiful growth.

My most memorable experience was hiking up the side of a snowy mountain in Pucón, Chile. As a group of five gringos, we probably should not have been hiking in such conditions since we were so ill-prepared. However, a few Chilean friends we made along the way encouraged us even when were freezing and slipping and ready to call it quits. After much effort, sweat, and strain, we reach the cumbre, or the top of the mountain and I saw the most beautiful view I have ever laid eyes upon. It was a moment of triumph and Mother Nature rewarded us for persevering against rough conditions by showing us her breathtaking beauty.

I honestly chose my program randomly. I had been planning on going for a summer to Argentina but realized if I wanted to improve a lot in Spanish, it would take longer than that. So Chile was a spur of the moment decision while sitting in my study abroad adviser's office, and I have never thought twice about it. I wouldn't change the random decision I made that day for anything - I know it wasn't by chance.

I am convinced I lived with the most generous, loving family in all of Chile. I had Chilean parents and three younger siblings who I consider to be my real siblings now. As I mentioned above, my host family was the best part of my experience. My house was really nice too, in a safe location, and I felt very much at ease there.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Incredible Santiago!

Memorable Experience was traveling to the South of Chile!

Why Choose program? Because I am very interested in Chilean history and politics.

I lived with a host family.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Painful, beautiful growth.

IES Abroad in Santiago was the best semester so far of my college career. For a country chosen randomly, I did not have any prior knowledge of Chile nor any expectations of what I would encounter. What I did encounter, however, was one of the most naturally beautiful, culturally interesting, and historically and politically stimulating countries I've ever known. The nature itself is breathtaking, as it hosts a variety of landscapes, from the eerie, majestic mountains of Patagonia to the dry mystery of the Desert of Atacama. The culture is fascinating and fun, to say the least - I was there during the national holiday, the 18 of September, which taught me a lot historically, politically, and culturally. I learned so much about September 11, 1973 and how the United States had such a critical and unfortunately harmful role in that governmental overthrow. I truly feel as though I now have a grasp on another country's rough political history and, even more so than that, I can sympathize with them because I am close to several people there. My host family became the best part of my study abroad experience and even now, five months later, I realize that not one day has passed when I don't think of them. I found another home in Santiago, and as hard as it was sometimes, it was worth every tear of frustration, every awkward moment, and every twinge of homesickness I ever felt. And now I'm still feeling homesick - only this time it's for Chile.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Incredible Santiago!

Study abroad in Santiago was an absolutely incredible experience. I loved the IES program, especially for its small size and its wonderful staff. As a city, Santiago is one of the most exciting places I've visited. I loved the art and music scene, the endless options for things to do, and the general culture.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

IES Santiago is a must

I took part in the clinical observation program. I was able to watch heart surgeries, brain surgeries, and even births.

I really wanted to better my Spanish and IES Santiago has a medical focused program which was very beneficial as I major in physical therapy.

I lived with a home stay family and it was awesome. The family was so nice and comforting. They taught me so many things and welcomed me so easily. They cooked me three meals a day which was really nice, I got to try real ethnic foods.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

IES Santiago is a must

IES Santiago was an incredible experience. The staff was so nice and helpful. They were like a second family. The city is awesome, there is so much to do from food to live music to clubs. Outside of Santiago, there are incredible places. For example, the driest desert in the world, San Pedro de Atacama, is in Chile.

Living Situation:
Definitely do a home stay. Living with a family allows you to really connect with the culture as well as practice your language skills.

Cultural Immersion:
Get involved. Walk around the city. Take classes at the university and make friends with the locals!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

My wonderful experience in Santiago de Chile

I was overly impressed with IES abroad in Santiago. When I got on the plane for what was to be my first time living in another country, I was worried that I wouldn't like the city and that perhaps it was even dangerous. I didn't know very much about Chile, but I was hoping it would be a place that I would enjoy. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. The staff at the IES center were amazing and they really contributed to the great experience that I had. Any issue that I had concerning my visa or life in general, they were always so willing to support me. I could truly see that our safety and comfort in our new home was their number one priority. I strongly recommend studying in Chile through IES!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My Second Family in Chile

I had an incredible time in Santiago! The IES Staff from the Director all the way down to the teachers, custodial staff, and families were incredibly welcoming ad always willing to go above and beyond to help me when I needed something. Chile is surprisingly beautiful, there was somewhere new to explore every single day and I still have more on my list that I hope to return and discover! I know that I have an amazing second family in Santiago and I can't wait to visit them! I recommend this program 100%!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

It was wonderful!!!! I wish I'd had more...

It was wonderful!!!! I wish I'd had more time there, instead of just a summer.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    6

Abroad on a tight budget!

Ever since highschool I dreamed of studying abroad in college. I couldn't wait to experience a life that was different from the one I experienced in the states and to be fluent in Spanish. My opportunity came junior year this year 2015 and I couldn't be more excited. Although I come from a family of very limited resources I was determined to make my dream a reality regardless of whatever sacrifices I had to make while abroad. There were only two important objectives for me while abroad: 1. Be in a different country and 2. Improve my Spanish. I decided I could do that despite my economic situation. I was able to live my dream but my experience was of a lower quality because of my situation. I tried hard for my economic situation not to affect me but honestly it did affect me. I couldn’t go on as many restaurant or ice cream trips after class with my program mates. I couldn’t explore Chile as much as I wanted to like the other students and when I found out that I didn’t have to take a class at one of the local universities, I opted out of taking a class at the university because it would save on transportation. My social life suffered a lot because of the decisions I had to make. But at the end of the day, I completed my two goals: I was in a different country and my Spanish improved tremendously. I would like to say that the IES study abroad experience was great in the sense that the teachers were great, the classes were interesting and the course work was not incredibly demanding.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Amazing program adminstrators -- they genuinely...

Amazing program adminstrators -- they genuinely care about students academic and personal progress and success.



Cultural immersion -- incredible in this country, so easy to make friends.



Academics -- at university, great opportunity for immersion.



I highly recommend this program.