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. Thanks to its stable economy, this Spanish-speaking nation is safe for travelers. If you study abroad in Chile, you get to enjoy an interesting mix of old and traditional. 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.
Best Places to Study Abroad in Chile
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.
Santiago. The largest city and capital of Chile is sandwiched in the middle of the country between the Andes and the Chilean Coastal Range. The city boasts neoclassical architecture, art deco, neo-gothic, and other styles as you wind down the streets. Marvel at the statue of the Virgin Mary at San Cristobal Hill, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Watch a football game at Estadio Nacional de Chile, stroll through a hillside park, and attend one of its many festivals. You’ll have plenty to do to take your mind off your studies here!
Arica. If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of cities, Chile’s most northernmost city just below Peru offers a smaller population, a world-class surfing spot, mild weather, and beautiful beaches. Climb Morro de Arica, explore the Catedral de San Marcos de Arica, and join the locals in Plaza Colón. If you’re interested in studying health and medicine in rural areas, this is the place to be for your Chile study abroad program.
Valparaíso. About 70 miles northwest of Santiago lies this coastal city, major seaport, and UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore Iglesia de la Matriz, Plaza Aníbal Pinto, and Plaza Sotomayor. The Jewel of the Pacific offers colorful houses, beautiful sea views, some of the best street art in Latin America, a maze of steep hillsides, and the annual New Year's by the Sea fireworks show.
Popular Subjects to Study 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.
Spanish. Considering that this is the national language of Chile, you’ll definitely want to consider taking Spanish classes here! You can find programs that are both short term and long term, and you can decide to take these classes in conjunction with other classes or alone. From group classes to one-on-one tutorials to intensive language classes, you have a variety of options that suits your study abroad needs. You could even choose to live with a host family to gain fluency even faster.
Marine Biology. With a stunning Pacific Ocean coastline and a variety of landscapes, which offers an array of ecological fields for you to put under the microscope, so Chile is an excelente choice for this type of program. Here you could be researching with instructors, collecting data, and diving the depths of the ocean. Why not learn how to preserve and conserve the environments for our waterlife counterparts in another country?!
Chile’s art scene and growing economy offers courses in everything from architecture to business to theater to computer science. 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 Chile study abroad programs here, well beyond the traditional Spanish language and literature and Latin American studies major.
Costs of Studying in Chile
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.
While it’s fairly affordable, the study abroad Chile program fee can be a bit hefty with everything it includes, but it depends on the number of courses you take and the duration of the program. Most program fees will cover the cost of tuition, accommodation, meals, support, insurance, and more. You can start applying for scholarships via GoAbroad’s Scholarship Directory to help cover the cost of the program fee and airfare.
Student Housing in Chile
Students generally have two housing options for their study abroad Chile program, 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.
Chile Student Visas
Before you take classes in Chile, you’ll need to apply for a student visa, which can take three to four weeks. You’ll need a passport that lasts six months beyond your departure date, a letter of acceptance, a visa application form, passport-sized photographs, health clearance, a background check, and a couple of other forms. Your study abroad Chile program coordinator can assist you with the requirements and process. GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory is also a helpful resource in locating consulates and reaching out for help.
Benefits & Challenges
It’s 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.
The Spanish language may sound different from what you’re used to in Chile. You’ll likely hear faster speech and interesting accents, but you’ll learn to pick it up in no time as you continue studying Spanish and practicing it with locals and other students. With Spanish being one of the most spoken languages in the world, your resume will shine bright when it says you can studied abroad in Chile and learned to speak Spanish.
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!