Chile is a small, slender, breathtaking slice of South America with a little of everything — from the Atacama Desert in the north (the longest, driest desert on earth) to the spectacular glaciers in Patagonia in the south. This Spanish-speaking nation is safe for travelers, with a stable economy, and it boasts an interesting mix of old and traditional with new and modern, embedded throughout the culture. Chileans are known for their hospitable attitudes toward foreigners, and a quality of education that attracts students from all over Latin America — both reasons Chile is an ideal academic destination.
Geography & Demographics
Most of Chile’s 17 million residents live in the capital city of Santiago and over 80 percent live in urban areas. If you study abroad in Chile you may be surprised at the modern infrastructure as well as the European influence. Many Chileans are of German, Spanish, and other European heritage and that is clearly reflected in the culture and architecture.
Food & Culture
Compared to the United States, studying and living in Chile is economical. Although the cost of living in Chile is higher than the rest of Latin America, it is still an affordable country and it is less expensive than studying abroad in Western Europe. Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant and cheaper at the markets than at the grocery. There is a lot to see and do in the Andean nation, too. Traveling by bus is the most common form of transportation as it is inexpensive. The public transportation system is great. It’ll get you where you need to go whether you want to travel to a rural area or a check out the urban nightlife.
Things to Do
It is inexpensive and easy to travel and get around without a car in Chile during school breaks and long weekends. With such a varied range of geography, from the desert to the Pacific coast, with volcanoes, lakes, and glaciers, you won’t get bored with all of the pristine beauty that Chile has to offer. Its outdoor playground is vast with various subcultures within the national identity too. From eye-opening experiences visiting national parks, small villages, and urban areas, meaningful learning does not only take place in the classroom.
Studying in Chile
Since Chile is located in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposite and the academic school year is different. It begins in March and finishes in December. One advantage about studying abroad in Chile is that it’s known as one of the best countries in Latin America to obtain a quality education. Keep in mind that classroom environment is not the same as what you are used to in the United States. The Chilean teaching style lets you see your coursework and career through a distinctive point of view. There are a variety of educational programs available in Chile, well beyond the traditional Spanish Language and Literature and Latin American studies major.
Students generally have two housing options, none of which include dormitories. International students can live with a host family, or live off-campus alone or with other students. Depending on your goals and what you want to get out of your experience abroad will determine what type of housing best suits your needs. If you are intent on learning the language, living in a homestay with Chileans is the way to go. Why? This type of full immersion gives you an authentic and inside look at the Chilean culture by living day to day with them.
Studying abroad in Chile very much includes getting out and about, trying new foods, having outdoor adventures, learning new Spanish slang, and soaking up the dynamic Chilean culture.