How’s life in your host city? What is the University like?
Viña del Mar is a Paradise. This place is one of a series of about 4 or 5 neighbouring coastal cities and is a highly developed vacation retreat. The majority of exchange students studying at UAI live in apartment blocks overlooking the beach and are able to enjoy luxurious living conditions for reasonable to cheap prices (especially in comparison to Sydney). UAI is considered the most prestigious university in Chile and is competing for best in South America. “Specially Designed Courses” for exchange students do however allow for freedom in travelling and have a lower degree of difficulty as the Uni understands the students’ desire to experience and explore rather than solely study.
What have you found most surprising about your new country/ culture?
The most surprising factor about this country I thought personally was how high class Viña del Mar is. I initially spent a few days in Santiago, a highly populated but rather grey and rundown city, which left me under the impression Chile as a whole shared this same form of underdevelopment. It is important to note that the district Viña and the University are located in could be considered a bubble, in the other ways more “South American” rest of the country. This however makes it an ideal location to be based and return to after travelling to various other locations throughout the continent.
Have you taken up a new sport or activity while on exchange?
While on exchange I have joined the University football (soccer) team that exercises an intense form of competition with a training schedule consisting of 5 days. This is at times a liability as the exchange student lifestyle offers a 24/7 late night activity lifestyle and training is frequently at 8am or other early hours of the morning, a fact that could be politely referred to as “inconvenient”. Nevertheless, the university offers many sporting teams as well as organised gym classes, which one is able to sign up for through the student app.
To conclude, the exchange experience so far has been a blur of parties, sight-seeing, snow and sandboarding, surfing, beach, studying (I guess), sport, friendships and a variety of other positive activities and adjectives.
I highly recommend Viña del Mar to commence an exchange session.
Bachelor of Global Studies (major in Business)
Universidad Adolfo Ibañez