Arriving in Chile was a whirlwind at first. Literally, the dialect of Spanish here is so fast and distinct that many Latinos from countries more north of Chile & even Chileans, will joke to you that it’s not Spanish, its Chilean. This pretty much sums up the entire culture of Chile, the Chileans really say and do what they feel like and when they feel like it and although you’ll definitely find yourself arriving to things way too early a few times, you get used to it and you’ll absolutely love how different life is here. But even before assimilating into the new culture, you will already love the place. Chile is a country where in almost all parts you can go from the beach to snow capped mountains within a day, traveling through some of the most amazing dry mountain landscapes in the world, not to mention that driest desert in the world and everyone’s favourite, Patagonia are both located in this awesome country.
I, along with two other students from UTS am currently studying at Universidad Adolfo Ibanez in Vina Del Mar, one of the many neighbouring coastal cities in the Valparaiso region of Chile, that essentially form one big city surrounding the ocean, about an hour away from the capital, Santiago. The university structure could not be more relaxed. The program for exchange students (which is in English, so if you don’t speak Spanish don’t let that stop you from coming!) is seemingly designed so that most of the exchange students have all their classes on two days back to back, allowing the academics to take a back seat to all the other aspects of exchange. The university also organises an awesome “buddy program” with Chilean students who basically organise things to do close to every day and are great for cultivating an amazing and fun lifestyle for us exchange students, bringing everyone together within the first day of exchange. There are also lots of sports classes everyday where you can join casual games like soccer and basketball run by the university, and these are awesome ways to breakup the normal exchange routine and meet heaps of new people.
In terms of accommodation, exchange students basically have two options, you can live in one of the four beach front towers sharing high end apartments with other exchange students, which is kind of the centre of a lot of the exchange student life, or like I chose, you can stay with a Chilean family, which is great for improving your Spanish. Either way, although you have likely heard that Chile has its rough spots, the standard of living in Vina Del Mar and the surrounding cities is exceptionally high and you’ll feel super safe and comfortable for your entire stay.
I have only just started my adventure here, but I’m so excited to keep it going and keep living this awesome Chilean lifestyle and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone thinking of coming to Chile. Al Seco Weon!
Bachelor of Business
Universidad Adolfo Ibanez
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au