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IES Abroad Santiago Summer - Health Studies

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Santiago Po!

As I look back on my trip, I realized that everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to be. Even through all of the smog it was refreshing and just what I needed.

I don't regret anything that happened nor anything that did not happen, like toilet paper that could have been but was never there, or getting attacked by a pregnant lady in the metro, to getting tear gassed after the Copa America final, to friendships that will last a lifetime, to the smiles and hugs of a host family that just turned into family. This trip will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Advice: If you love to get away from home, want to speak Spanish, enjoy hiking/backpacking, and love to experience different cultures, this is the program for you!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    6

Planting a Seed

I recently returned from the most incredible experience of my life, and would strongly recommend pursuing a similar opportunity to anyone looking to broaden their horizons! I studied abroad this past summer for seven weeks in Santiago Chile with the IES Abroad Health Studies program. I stayed with a host mother and one roommate in an apartment in the heart of the city, and attended classes at la Universidad Católica, a local university, in their nursing school. This program gave me the opportunity to take classes on a weekly basis informing me with respect to the healthcare system in Chile as well as equipping me with the vocabulary and linguistic proficiency that will be necessary in my future career as a multilingual healthcare professional. My plan is to be a physician, proficient in at least four languages, in order to provide exceptional care to as many patients as possible. In the United States, there is a growing population of Spanish speakers, so my hope was to achieve a degree of proficiency sufficient to navigate all situations without having to pause due to lack of fluency.
This program went above and beyond my expectations! Throughout the course of the program, I was able to learn vocabulary in the classroom, and then apply it throughout my observations in local hospitals and clinics. We participated in activities to familiarize ourselves with the subject matter and vocabulary including debates, essays, and panel discussions with professionals. If there was any doubt in my mind with regards to whether or not I had achieved the level of proficiency I initially desired through this program, I had the opportunity to navigate the healthcare system myself when I fell ill in the final week of my travels. Thanks to my studies over the course of the program, I was able to successfully schedule and navigate an appointment with the physician and obtain antibiotics without any problems with respect to the language barrier. The language barrier, in effect, was no longer a barrier.
In addition to the well-designed course layout of the program, the experience allowed sufficient extended weekends such that I was able to travel around the country and experience the culture and landscapes unique to Chile. I took a trip to Pichilemu, where I rode a horse on a beach and took a surfing lesson in the same day. I traveled to Cajón del Maipo, where I trekked in the mountains and went zip lining high over a river. In a final trip, I went with a large contingent of our group up north to the Atacama Desert, where I enjoyed biking in the desert, exploring ancient ruins, crawling through caves, and bathing in hot springs. I had so many life-changing experiences, which awakened in me the desire for adventure. I returned home eager to embark on my next adventure, as inspired by a poster above the door of a local university: "¡Tú también puedes aprender Chino Mandarín!"
Now undaunted in my studies of language and culture, I plan to continue to broaden my horizons, and would encourage anyone considering a similar path to do the same! I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities afforded by IES Abroad and their staff, and hope someday to travel back and visit the city that helped shape who I am today.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I am now a Chilean doctor...Just a joke

I have to admit moving from small-town Michigan to one of the largest cities in South America proved to be a bit daunting in my mind before I came here but as transformed into one of the greatest experiences of my life. I am not traditionally a sappy-cliché loving person but when it comes to talking about my experiences here in Santiago I tend to become that way. I cannot even begin to sum up what an incredible experience I have been given here. I have had the opportunity to learn, grow, and meet some of the best and most amazing friends that this planet has to offer. I am a firm believer that everyone, yes everyone should study abroad at some point in their college life. I know that often times people will say "well I am to busy" or "my classes and schedule won't allow me to go abroad" but I am here to tell you that it is possible. I am a biochemistry and spanish major who attends a liberal arts college that requires me to take various other classes as well as being pre-med. It is possible and a life-changing experience that will transform you in ways that you did not know were possible. I spent the majority of my summer program outside the confines of the classroom walls and in hospitals and clinics shadowing medical professional and learning about the health care system here in Chile and how it differs from ours in the States. I have seen and done so many things throughout my time here from watching surgeries to petting penguins in Patagonia. I am a bit of an oddity in program terms because I decided to do 2 back-to-back programs so that I would have more time abroad. Therefore, I am writing this from Chile because I will be here until mid-december! I have learned so much about myself as an individual throughout the course of my time here. I am not only more culturally aware, stronger in my spanish but also a more self-confident and assured/independent person. Living on my own outside of the confines of my normal culture has taught me more about myself and the world in the period of 4 months than I have learned my entire life. If you have absolutely any questions please feel free to ask!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

A Summer Away

This program is a great way to see more about hospitals and doctor's offices before graduate school as well as does provide the opportunity to learn an entirely new medical vocabulary. It also was an amazing opportunity to be part of a different culture. I wish it was more of a total immersion, which would have improved my Spanish ability even more. It is especially a great experience for younger students who are nervous about having to speak a foreign language (Spanish) and would be more comfortable with a fellow US student as a roommate. I really did enjoy my experience ad would do it again if I had the chance.