The application through MicroEDU went really smoothly. After the first call, I already had the necessary registration documents and information about the university in my e-mail. Questions could either be answered immediately or were clarified directly with the Universidad de Chile as quickly as possible.
I chose Chile because I wanted to study in English in a Spanish-speaking country outside of Europe. Since Chile is considered the safest country in South America and the two alternatives of MicroEDU Mexico and Peru did not appeal to me for different reasons, I opted for “the backbone of South America”. In retrospect, I would certainly have chosen a different country from a linguistic point of view. Going to Chile to learn Spanish is like going to Bavaria to learn German. I never had Spanish in school, so it wasn’t easy for me to understand. When I was on the road in Peru and Bolivia after the semester, I was downright scared to understand the people and to be able to talk properly.
The country of Chile
As in every country in the world, there is of course a lot to discover in Chile. However, the distances are exhausting here. Chile is just incredibly long. That’s why I decided now and then to take the plane instead of sitting in the bus for 24 hours at a time. If you book early enough, the price is also clear.
- For information about Chile and South America, please visit estatelearning.
You shouldn’t go out on city trips in Chile. However, those who like to be in nature and like to hike or climb will not be bored in Chile.
The city of Santiago
In the first days in Santiago I was amazed how “normal” the city felt to me. It’s a big city where you can get everything, but of course also have to live with the negative sides. You need an incredible amount of time for all routes and it is always loud. I especially missed being able to cover the distances by bike. In principle, this is of course possible. But out of consideration for the motorist, there is no need to hope. That’s why I decided against the beloved Leeze.
For me, Santiago was too big, which meant that I was limited to the main routes and regions. Compared to Peru and Bolivia, I never felt safe in Santiago either. You always had the feeling of having to take care of your valuables. As a European it is of course immediately obvious to everyone that you are not necessarily from South America. At the beginning of the semester abroad there was also a small attack, which I was able to escape unscathed. So you should be careful where you go at night.
Universidad de Chile – Faculdad de Economia y Negocios
The faculty is really well equipped. There are many separate computer workstations, group work rooms with screens, a large entrance hall and a small fitness studio. The tuition fees have to be invested somewhere. Unfortunately, the wifi is pretty bad. The connection with the computer is usually fine, but with the smartphone it is a nightmare.
I was particularly impressed that there is an event of some kind at the FEN almost every week. From political exhibitions to acrobatics courses to the simulated opening of a FastFood sale or a lecture by a Harward professor, everything was there.
If you want to eat at the FEN during the 40-minute lunch break, you shouldn’t believe that you will be on time for the lecture. Usually you stand in line for at least 25 minutes and then look for a seat for another 10 minutes, leaving you with little time to eat. I didn’t find the food really tasty anyway. The desserts in particular were very suspect. A little tip: You have to queue up to meet friends. The Chileans do the same. Then it goes faster.
The range of lectures in English is really very large. Unfortunately, with some courses it is not so easy to understand how the final grade is made up or I didn’t have the impression that you can have a great influence on the grade by learning. Very, very often you also work in groups. Also, there is usually not the classic final exam, which makes up 100% of the grade, but material is already distributed over the semester. This means that you can already have a lot to do during the lecture period.
Another special feature is the compulsory attendance. Min. 80% have to be present at the lectures, regardless of whether they are good or bad. The lecturers therefore have little incentive to give a good lecture. The students have to show up anyway. If you want to travel, that doesn’t make things any easier. But as it is in Chile… when you talk to people there is always a possibility. For example, a complete exam date has also been postponed. The students just hadn’t learned for it yet.
In retrospect, I would have decided on another country in South America and a smaller city. On the one hand, this would have helped my Spanish skills and, on the other hand, I would have felt at home more quickly. Of course, I don’t regret having done the semester abroad in Chile. I am happy to have got to know a small part of a foreign continent and can very well imagine flying there again to get to know other countries and people.