PROGRAM TYPES

CONNECT WITH US

IES Abroad Santiago - Health Studies
IES Abroad participants in Sydney Opera IES Abroad participants in Sydney Opera

IES Abroad Santiago - Health Studies

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Study in Santiago and fall in love with everything Chilean

Before traveling to Santiago, Chile I was quite nervous about living in a foreign country for 5 months, but from the moment I stepped into my host family’s apartment, I knew it was going to be a great experience. The classes I took, the places I travelled, and the Chilean culture all made a truly unforgettable experience, but the people I met along the way helped Chile steal my heart. My host family, the IES staff, Chilean students at the university, and especially my fellow IES students helped me to learn, to grow, and most importantly, enjoy every moment of my time abroad.
The staff at IES made it clear from day one that they wanted our experience in Chile to be as fun, productive, and safe as possible. During the first week, they taught us everything we needed to know about Chilean culture, how to navigate the seemingly enormous city, and how to decode the very fast paced Chilean Spanish. The academic coordinator met with each student and helped us select the best classes for us, and the student coordinator had an answer for literally every question or problem we may have had. The staff and professors were always very supportive and helped guide us through every aspect of our journey abroad. I enjoyed all four of the classes I took abroad, my favorite being the Health Studies Clinical Observation program. In this program, we not only studied how the Chilean healthcare system works, but we also got to observe in a different healthcare setting each week!
My host mom could not have been more excited to welcome me, and all my friends, into her home. My host family very kindly included me in all their family activities: birthday parties, cookouts, holiday traditions, etc., and that truly made my experience one of a kind. I got to experience Chilean culture through a fun, loving, and hilarious family that made way too much delicious food. I knew I had formed meaningful relationships with all the members of my host family when they were all very sad to see me leave and my host grandmother begged me to come back to Chile soon. I keep in contact with my host aunts and cousins through Facebook, and my host mom and I still message each other quite frequently.
Santiago, Chile is a wonderful city with endless activities of all types. Within the city there are museums of all types, beautiful parks, cute cafes on every corner, lots of shopping, bars and dance clubs, etc. The Andes mountains lie just outside the city and the parks in the foothills of the Andes provide easy access opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, etc. An hour bus ride west of Santiago gets you to beautiful coastal towns like Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. Chile is unique in that it offers literally every type of landscape and I highly recommend trying to see as many as possible. From desert, to beaches, to the frozen icebergs of southern Patagonia, and all the way out to Easter Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Chile has everything you could wish for. Some of my fondest memories abroad are traveling and exploring with other IES students!
If you still have a doubt about studying abroad in Chile after reading these reviews, know that you should go – immerse yourself in the Chilean culture, travel to all the different regions, and meet some truly incredible people. ¡Viva Chile!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Chile: the place your heart needs to be but you didn't even know it!

If you really want to practice your Spanish, come to know a Spanish speaking culture that many don’t hear much about but is so rich in history and fabulous people, then I would recommend this program to you. Santiago de Chile is a fabulous place to be whether you are an outdoorsy kind of person or more of the city life, Santiago has it all. IES does a fabulous job of thinking through everything and are prepared for the good the back and the ugly. Being a part of their program, the onsite administration and teachers make you feel like you are their number one priority. They genuinely care about every person and want to make sure they have the greatest experience abroad. They will help you with anything and everything; if you are struggling with your host home, trying to find a class to take at the local university, maybe you want some travel suggestions (literally one woman on staff helped everyone call hostels/busses/you name it if we needed help). They go above and beyond and love welcoming you into their home. For me, I have danced ballet professionally in the states and wanted to make sure I could find a good company while I was abroad to keep up my dancing. One of the staff introduced me to a company and I actually had the opportunity to perform on a well known stage for a paying audience in CHILE! (That was a dream come true).
Looking at the academics, the courses are wonderful and they offer a nice variety. It was slightly hard to find specific courses for some people at the university, though this may have been due to the strikes at one of their partner universities making it unavailable for us to take classes there. I was able to take a ballroom class filled with 50+ Chileans and 3 “gringas” including myself (to Chileans anyone not from Chile can be considered a gringo/a). This was a great way for me to get to know many friends, I would highly recommend trying to find a dance class even if you don’t go to Chile because there is something about learning basic dance moves that is fun and breaks barriers allowing friendships to flourish. I got the opportunity to also be in an observations program which was honestly one of the main reasons I chose this entire program in the first place. It is just that, observations. This is very helpful for really any pre health professional because you really get to dive into seeing how other health care systems work and actually see different facilities in another country. I will let you know, this is strictly observations, you are not allowed to take vitals or anything. But most health professional schools want you to have some type of observation hours so it is a win win.
I got the chance to study with the two lovely ladies who have already posted reviews about this program (Monica and Nina hey guys!). Hopefully in reading our reviews you can see different experiences of the same, literally the exact same program (Fall 2016). Speaking of Monica and Nina, I loved that IES was a program that pulled students from all over. I got the chance to go out on a limb, goto a country that I had never been to, with no one I knew, and had the time of my life. We had 19 people in our program and I loved the opportunity of getting to know every single one of them. There were a few from the same schools but otherwise we all were in the same boat and that to me was an experience I was looking for.
One last plug, specifically for the Fall semester in Chile. Though it is our “Fall” it is their Spring. EVERYTHING happens in Chile at this time, you get a “spring break”, there are Fondas which are basically Chile’s State Fair, and a few other holidays. The weather though cold in the beginning is lovely towards the middle and end. If all of this doesn’t convince you... then take a look at these photos!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

The best decision I could have ever made

Hi everyone, I studied abroad in the wonderful Santiago, Chile for a full fall semester. One of the immediate differences you will notice are the seasons- they’re reversed from the northern hemisphere! That being said, my host mom paid extra attention when I first moved in to make sure I was warm enough at night and ate plenty of fruits so that I wouldn’t get sick from the sudden change in climate. And this was just one example of how cared for I felt in Santiago. My host family made sure I not only had my basic living needs met, but also that I felt comfortable in their home as part of the family. I shared almost every meal with them and got to spend time with their friends and extended family. The IES staff in Santiago also made me feel very cared for and looked after during my time there. Academically, I participated in the health studies program where I attended a class called “Spanish for Health Care Professionals” and observed health care professionals in a hospital setting. In class, we learned how to talk to people about nutrition, pain, and insurance as well as study vocabulary for different items that are found in a healthcare setting. This vocabulary was incredibly useful during my clinical observations where I visited various private clinics and hospitals as well as public hospitals and a Ruca, which is a hut used by the indigenous group for alternative medicine. During my four months, I never traveled outside of Chile, but I did travel to the northern region to see the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert, and get to backpack for 6 days in Patagonia’s Torres del Paine.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

The people make the program

This fall, I went to Santiago through the IES Semester in Santiago program and had the absolute pleasure of meeting some of the most wonderful people in the world. Many study abroad programs have similar draws—small classes, hands-on learning, fantastic teachers, cultural integration, etc—and don’t get me wrong, my program definitely had all of those. However, one thing that really set the program apart was the type of student on the program, the staff at the study abroad center in Santiago, and the host families. All the students on my program got along fabulously, which was honestly pretty strange. I went abroad in high school on a different program, and there were clashes within the program, as happens when many very different people spend a lot of time together. However, in Santiago, we literally all got along well—there was no exclusion, no cattiness, nothing. The group was comprised of very smart and interesting students, who were laid-back in attitude and all of whom enjoyed nature, and for whatever reason, this made us incredibly cohesive. I can’t stress enough how bizarrely lovely and inclusive it was.
Our cohesion was probably due in part to the incredible staff at IES, who were intentional about teambuilding and introductions from the start. The five women who work at the center were some of the most loving, kind, compassionate, funny and warm people I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. Not only were they good at the administrative aspects of their jobs, they cared for me and the other students like their own children. I had bronchitis for about a month (immunodeficiency, whaddup), and they worked tirelessly with me to coordinate makeup work and tests while also firmly and lovingly demanding I go take a nap and give myself a break. They are amazing. Again, I can’t stress this enough.
One of the women who works at the center is responsible for housing placements, and she does an incredible job. Each homestay is hand-picked by her, and she is careful and thorough with her reasoning. You get to fill out a form in which you indicate what your desired outcome in a homestay is—whether that’s to be integrated into the family, to spend a bit of time with them, or to have it more as a place to sleep and eat rather than a family setting—and she matches you with people who have similar desires. This eliminates a lot of awkwardness around being unsure on expectations. I wanted to be part of the family, and I ended up in a house where I would spend hours talking to my host mom about life philosophy and experience. She is my second mom (even now she texts me asking if I’m sleeping enough. That’s mom love for ya).
On my program, I navigated a big city after living in rural college towns my whole life. I formed loving and warm bonds with people I never would’ve met otherwise. I explored and grew and learned and laughed and cried and ate too many empanadas, and IES Santiago gave me the space for that. Go. You won’t regret it.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Cachai Chile, weon?

My time in Santiago, Chile was one of the greatest yet hardest experiences of my life. I came in with a pretty good level of Spanish but quickly realized that classroom Spanish and a background of 7 years in class isn't real life Spanish... especially Chilean Spanish. I remember being afraid to say things incorrectly at the beginning, but by the end understood better that it really is okay to make mistakes and was more comfortable asking questions/really trying to understand the language in its entirety. My host family was great, and although we started at a slow place with getting to know them, by then end I felt like family. I also learned that it takes a lot on the student's part to build that relationship, and I feel like it is extremely valuable to build those because the home is where you get a lot of good practice with no pressure. But again, the way you feel about making mistakes is ultimately up to you. The more you accept yourself for them, the more you will learn and improve. While the Spanish learning, cultural learning, traveling were great experiences, I had a major health issue going on. I share this to demonstrate how safe and cared for I felt the entire time that I was dealing with this issue. If you have a health condition, please don't let it stop you from studying abroad. I have a complicated story with too many details, but I made 1 hospital visit and 3 doctor visits (all in Spanish) but was accompanied by program advisors who made me felt very comfortable and understood... despite any potential language issues. My host family was very caring and always asked how I was feeling, and the school even let me take a week off from classes. It was hard, my days were long and tiring with this issue... but would I take it back and not go? No way. I will never regret my decision to stay because I made long lasting relationships, seriously improved upon my Spanish skills more than I ever would staying at my university, and got to experience another part of the world that functions slightly differently from what I'm used to... and these are experiences I will carry with me forever. Chile is an amazing country that is highly dismissed. If you have the opportunity to go, do it. You won't regret it.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

Studying abroad in Santiago, spring 2017

The unique offering that drew me to this program was the Health Studies component. During my semester, I rotated around different units at Complejo Assistencial Sotero del Rio. My Spanish for Medical Practitioners class was complementary to that internship. In terms of living situation, I lived in an apartment in Las Condes. The IES Abroad school house is very quaint, and located in Providencia, in close proximity to many restaurants and cafes. Santiago, Chile, is a beautiful location, and there was so much natural beauty to explore! I had a great study abroad experience, and I hope to go back and visit Chile again in the future.