The Facultad de Economía y Negocios campus is located in the center of Santiago. The facility is relatively manageable and offers space for around 3000 students, but you can still find everything you need (cafeteria, enough study spaces, gym, soccer field, etc.). The university offers a buddy system for which you can register before the beginning of the semester. A buddy will then be by your side throughout the semester. In addition, the orientation day offers the opportunity to get to know the other exchange students, some locals and the university. If you have any general questions, the International Office will help wherever they can. The people are very helpful and try everything to make your stay as easy as possible.
The entire course registration takes place online and is very straightforward. Usually the same courses are offered in both the fall and spring semesters. If you are not assigned to the desired course, the International Office will be happy to help and make sure that you are finally assigned all the desired courses.
There are as well as Spanish courses in both English offered. In general, an attendance of 80% applies, although this is more or less strictly controlled depending on the course. I have completed three English courses with 6 credits each. The English courses are primarily geared towards exchange students and are accordingly well graded. The effort involved was also not comparable to that of the HSG. However, it should not be underestimated, as there are always submissions / presentations during the semester and exams are pending in the middle and at the end of the semester.
International Management (6 ECTS focus area, not recommended):
This course deals with the (cultural) challenges that companies encounter in the globalized world. Central models of the course are the dimensions of Hofstede or Trompenaars. The examination performance consisted of a group work (20%), group presentation (20%), midterm exam (20%) and a final exam (40%). The lectures were mostly uninteresting and not on a university level. In contrast, the questions in the exams were very arbitrary, which is why the course is not recommended.
Business Negotiations (6 ECTS Skills, recommended):
This course was offered for the first time this year and was therefore a bit unstructured at the beginning. However, the professor is very committed and competent. The focus was less on theory and more on the practical application of various negotiation techniques. The examination performance consists of a quiz (10%), participation in the class (25%), a presentation (20%), midterm exam (15%) and a final exam (30%). I definitely got the most out of this course, so I highly recommend it.
Latin America in World’s Affairs (6 ECTS focus area, recommended):
First of all, it should be said that the course may no longer be offered in the coming semesters because the professor has retired. The course deals with the role of Latin American countries in an international context and their relationships with one another. The lectures were rather uninteresting, but the reading was extremely instructive in order to get a better understanding of the history and current political situation in Latin America.
A Spanish language course is not offered at the university, but for a reduced price you can take one in a nearby language school (approx. CHF 200 for 36 lessons of 45 minutes each).
Important information before the exchange:
Reside and live:
On the advice of other exchange students, I only went looking for an apartment on site in Santiago and in retrospect this turned out to be a good decision. At the beginning I lived in an Airbnb and started the search from there. The «Hostel Providencia» is also recommended for the first few weeks, where many other exchange students are also accommodated.
There are many different websites on which rooms / apartments are advertised. I found my room on https://www.compartodepto.cl/. The Facebook page “Roommate and Flat Finder Santiago” or https://santiagoexchange.com/en/accommodation are also recommended. The latter is arranged by the university and there is the possibility of renting a room before arrival if you prefer. In general, it is very important that you always visit the apartment first, as it often does not look like the pictures!
Regarding residential areas, Providencia is particularly recommended as it is a quiet, safe area and is also close to the university. The center is one of the somewhat unsafe areas, especially at night, but many exchange students have lived there and have had no problems. Las Condes is another nice residential area, but a bit further outside the center and the university. I paid CLP 280,000 for my room in Providencia, which is the equivalent of around CHF 420.
Chile is generally a relatively expensive country, especially when compared to other South American countries. However, you can live well with CHF 1200 a month, not including travel expenses. Supermarkets in particular can be expensive, which is why I recommend buying vegetables and fruits on the street or in the market. This is not only cheaper, but also usually of better quality.
To withdraw money one should either go to Scotiabank or Santander. These banks did not charge my card any fees. However, Santander was not free for all students, which is why it is best to check this yourself (the ATM always shows before the transaction whether and how high fees arise for a transaction).
Life in Chile:
Chileans are generally very warm, but not quite as open as in other South American countries. But if you approach people, you will always be welcomed warmly. The English language skills of the Chileans (at university and in everyday life) are very limited, which is why at least a small Spanish vocabulary is highly recommended.
The city is extremely diverse and has a lot to offer, so you will never get bored. The nightlife offers a lot of variety and during the spring / summer months there are countless festivals in the area. The “city hill” Cerro San Cristobal also makes it possible to escape from the city into nature and is perfect for sporting activities. As the city is surrounded by the Andes, temperatures can rise sharply during a day. So it can be 5 ° Celsius in the morning and 20 ° in the afternoon. Winter in Chile should not be underestimated, as practically all houses are not insulated and rarely have heating. So pack enough warm clothes.
- For information about Chile and South America, please visit aristmarketing.
As in many other big cities, you are not safe from theft in Santiago. In the metro, on busy streets and especially in the exit, you should always be very careful and watch out for your valuables. However, violent crimes are very rare and I have never felt unsafe. In the evening you should not walk home alone and generally avoid taxis, as these can also be dangerous. Instead of taxis, use Uber, which is not only safer but also cheaper.
Santiago is an ideal base for traveling in and outside of Chile. Many places are easily accessible by (night) bus and are perfect for a weekend trip. Some recommendations are Valparaiso / Viña del Mar, La Serena / Valle del Elqui, Pichilemu, Pucón or Mendoza (Argentina). During the semester, depending on the course selection, you have up to two weeks vacation after the midterm exams (mid-September). This is perfect for a first long trip. And since the semester ends by the end of November at the latest (for me it was already mid-November), there is plenty of time to go on further trips.
I really liked the city and the country and I am sure that I will return there again. I can warmly recommend an exchange semester in Santiago to everyone!