Advice from MicroEDU
In April 2015 I decided to do a semester abroad before finishing my studies. Since I wanted to learn another foreign language, namely Spanish, the choice of countries and universities was limited. I decided on Chile relatively spontaneously and took advantage of MicroEDU’s advisory services because friends recommended it to me. On the MicroEDU homepage you can easily request a lot of information about the country of study, the university and the courses as well as prices. I finally decided on the Universidad de Chile in Santiago and my application documents were submitted. Although the application deadline had already expired, the MicroEDU team helped me, so that finally it worked out with the acceptance.
In preparation for my semester abroad, I took the A1 and A2 Spanish language course at the university in Germany so that I could at least master the basics. In retrospect, I would recommend that to everyone who goes to Chile. Although the Chilean Spanish is completely different than in the lessons, at least I was able to communicate a little. Otherwise I booked my flight, took care of the international insurance and got my vaccinations up. You should also order a credit card with which you can withdraw free of charge anywhere in the world. On the advice of the UDC, I decided against a student visa and only flew to Chile with the tourist visa. This is valid for three months and then you have to leave and re-enter. As a weekend trip, a trip to Argentina, for example Mendoza, is ideal. In order to stay in Chile, the FEN sent me a catalog with nice, but very expensive offers. You can also search for apartments from Germany or on site via http://www.compartodepto.cl/. I was lucky and was able to take over the room from another student from the University of Hohenheim in Santiago.
Life in Santiago
After my arrival in Santiago I took the public Aiportshuttle Centropuerto for $ 1,500 CLP to the city center. This is much cheaper than taking a taxi, if you have a lot of luggage, but also a bit cumbersome. My apartment was in the very popular Providencia district. Many internationals and exchange students live here. Santiago has a very good metro network with which you can easily get from A to B. At the counter you have to buy a so-called BIP card on which you can load money, because there is no monthly or student ticket. With the BIP card you can also use the public buses. Since these do not stop at every stop, it is advisable to find out about the start and destination before driving and, if necessary, to use Google Maps or Mapsme during the journey. My impression of Santiago is very positive. I perceived the city as very safe, clean and diverse and the people as open-minded and friendly. My favorite neighborhoods were the Bella Vista nightlife and Barrio Lastarria. Highlights in Santiago for me were: the Cerro Santa Lucia, the Mercado Central and La Vegao, the Teatro Municipal and the visit to the Costanera Sky Tower.
- For information about Chile and South America, please visit ehealthfacts.
Studying at the UDC
Since I had already finished my master’s degree in Germany, I only took two courses at the Facultad de Economía y Negocios (FEN). On the one hand “Globalization, Treaties and Agreements” in English and “Comunicación I” in Spanish. The courses were all from the undergraduate program, but one I could still in Germany as part of my Master’s program get credit. The English-language course was about international trade agreements and the effects of globalization. Two tests were written in which content from previously specified literature was queried. In addition, you had to write a presentation and a term paper on a pre-established trade agreement in small groups. I found the topic very exciting. Since the lecturer’s English was relatively poor, it was often difficult to follow his explanations. I chose the Spanish-language course “Comunicación I” because many exchange students have told me that this is the fastest way to learn the language. I was the only exchange student in the course and at the beginning I understood almost nothing. The lecturer and the Chilean students were extremely friendly and helpful and always supported me. In the end, I wrote essays and a film analysis in Spanish and was able to largely understand discussions about the student uprisings and education policy in Chile. In retrospect, I would recommend anyone who wants to improve their Spanish quickly to also take courses in Spanish, although this is of course more work-intensive than in English.
In addition to the two courses at the FEN, I have a Spanish course at the Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades (http://www.uchile.cl/portal/presentacion/relaciones-internacionales/programa-de-movilidad-estudiantil—pme/ alumnos-libres-internacionales / 6694 / programa-de-espanol-para-extranjeros). Before the start of the course, I took an oral and written placement test and was divided into the advanced course (B1 level). This took place twice a week throughout the semester and was divided into three modules (grammar, conversation, writing) of 1.5 hours each. Two exams were written per module and several presentations were given and essays were written. For me, the course was a great alternative to the expensive private language schools and has helped me to improve my Spanish a lot.
For me, the semester abroad in Santiago was an all-round great experience. I got to know a lot of nice Chileans, improved my Spanish and got to know the South American culture and way of life in Chile. In my opinion, the Universidad de Chile is a very good university and, especially at the Facultad de Economía y Negocios, they always try to integrate and support the exchange students well. Chile also has a lot to offer for those who love to travel, and some excursions can also be combined with everyday student life. Overall, I can highly recommend the Universidad de Chile in Santiago de Chile to anyone interested in a semester abroad in a Spanish-speaking metropolis.