Chile’s fourth largest city, Vina del Mar, is a hidden gem located near the coast and is home to much more than just a comfortable Mediterranean climate. The city is covered with manicured boulevards lined with palm trees, elongated public beaches, and numerous parks, earning it the nickname Ciudad Jardin (Garden City). As Chile becomes an increasingly popular place to study abroad, there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to hit the beach between classes and study abroad in Vina del Mar.
How to Study in Vina del Mar
Many argue that Chile has the best education system in Latin America. The classroom environment may not be the same as what you are used to in the United States, but the Chilean teaching style lets you see your coursework and career through a profound and distinctive point of view. So check out the most popular ways to get in on the good vibes coming from Vina del Mar’s education system:
Popular subjects to study. Considering that Spanish is the national language of Chile, you’ll definitely want to consider studying Spanish abroad in Vina del Mar. Also, 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, Vina del Mar is an excelente choice for marine biology majors. Here you could be researching with instructors, collecting data, and diving the depths of the ocean.
Short term/summer vs. long term programs. International students can study abroad in Vina del Mar almost any time of the year, though summer programs and spring break programs are especially popular. Long-term options, such as semester and even yearlong programs are available too for those who want the total immersive experience!
Attending universities vs. other program types. When deciding specifically where to study abroad in Vina del Mar, the obvious route is to take university classes, however, there are many other options to consider. Other program and institution types, such as language schools and private programs and tutors, are available as well. No matter where you choose, many study abroad programs in Vina del Mar factor in plenty of field trips, such as beach escapes and walking tours to give you plenty opportunities to integrate some street smarts in with those book smarts.
Student Life in Vina del Mar
The Vineyard of the Sea is a stone’s throw from the capital of Santiago, and not far from the infamous Valparaiso either. As a coastal city with miles upon miles of Pacific coastline, the ocean’s waves create many opportunities for competition, especially when it comes to surfing to skim boarding. More than just a beach town, Vina del Mar is home to a variety of annual festivals. Each year, thousands of visitors come flocking into this quaint city to witness the infamous International Music Festival, among others.
Students will definitely be able to spend more than just a day strolling around the city, visiting museums and taking in the magnificent architecture and historical sites. Whether attending an event at the open-air amphitheater, strolling through Plaza de Vina del Mar, or visiting museums filled with archeological artifacts, students will always find something to do outside of the classroom. Lastly, all students MUST take a trip to one of Vina del Mar’s vineyards and learn about the way grapes are harvested and wine is manufactured in Chile, all while tasting some of the nation’s best.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
If you want an off-the-beaten-path study abroad destination, Vina del Mar is the place for you. Not many foreign travelers can be found traipsing around the city, nevertheless, Vina del Mar remains a popular weekend and summer destination for well-to-do Santiaguinos and the carrete (partying) here is first rate.
It’s inexpensive and easy to travel and get around without a car in Vina del Mar during school breaks and long weekends. Taking micros, a Victoria (a horse-drawn carriage!), a bike, or scooter will give you some independance and get you safely and from point A to point B.
The Spanish language may sound different from what you’re used to in Vina del Mar. You’ll likely hear faster speech and interesting accents, but you’ll learn to pick it up in no time as you practice 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 picked up a little skill called Spanish fluency while studying abroad in Vina del Mar.
Most importantly, learn to relax and enjoy your time while studying abroad in Vina del Mar. While Western education somewhat idolizes busyness and an overburdened schedule when it comes to higher education, Vina del Mar helps you ditch the stress of it all and makes room for learning spanning beyond what’s going to be on next week’s test.
For information on more awesome opportunities, read our comprehensive guide on studying abroad in Chile.