1. Preparation and application
I looked at the possibilities for a semester abroad at an early stage because I wanted to study in South America for a semester. Since my university only offers a few places in South America, I decided to go abroad as a freemover. After a very nice consultation in the former MicroEDU office in Münster, it quickly became clear to me that the Facultad de Economía y Negocios (FEN) of the Universidad de Chile in Santiago met all of my criteria. This included courses in English, good student support, but also a good reputation for the university. I submitted my application in March and received confirmation of a place at the FEN in May. The application process is very simple and is always well looked after by MicroEDUs .
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about a visa, as you receive a free tourist visa of 90 days upon entry. This is always extended by 90 days when you leave the country and re-enter. The Argentine city of Mendoza can be easily reached by bus and is definitely worth a trip. I would only recommend a student visa if you are studying in Santiago for 1 year, as this involves a considerable amount of effort.
2. Getting there and looking for an apartment
Once in Chile, the bus company Transvip will bring you safely to the center for just under € 10. Before the semester, you can get a housing guide from the FEN with many contacts, including host families, to whom you can write. However, like most exchange students, I simply rented a room in a central hostel for the first few days and started looking for an apartment from there. It is a bit strange to fly to Santiago without knowing where you will ultimately be staying, but finding a room within 1-2 weeks is not a problem at all. You can also get a feeling for the apartment situation in this way, which is often better represented in pictures than it is in reality. There is a large number of rooms in shared accommodation, which are offered, for example, in the Facebook group “Roommate and Flatfinder Chile”. In this I posted a search ad and immediately received a lot of messages. You can also register on the website compartodepto.cl, place an advertisement and many landlords will quickly write to you.
- For information about Chile and South America, please visit constructmaterials.
If you want to live centrally, you pay around € 270-380. I paid almost € 300 for a room in a shared apartment in a house with 8 people. When looking for an apartment, I would definitely make sure that Spanish is spoken in the house. That is what helped me to become fluent in the language. Living within walking distance of the FEN makes sense in order not to have to rely on the metro. This is unbearably full, especially at rush hour, and a lot is stolen. Also, very few houses have central heating, which makes the Chilean winter (July – September) feel quite cold and many exchange students catch cold after arriving. In terms of clothing, you should be prepared for the cold in the houses.
3. Study at the FEN
3.1 Course choice
Studying at the FEN begins with an Orientation Day, which you should definitely attend. Here are all the information provided, such as the online platform “Docencia Web” works, what offers are the part of the FEN and what you regard to be aware of the course selection. You also get helpful safety instructions, such as how to protect yourself against pickpockets or what to do in the event of an earthquake. You then have a while to attend the various courses and, if necessary, to make changes to your course schedule. I’ve been to Latin America in World’s Affairs, Intercultural Business Challenges in Latin America, and International Management courses overall very satisfied, even if there are significant differences to the German teaching system.
In general, one should consider the amount of work at the FEN don’t underestimate. Unlike in Germany, there is at least 80% attendance and there are presentations, mid-term exams, reading controls, homework and group work throughout the semester. Although the level of the English-language subjects is slightly lower and it is easier to get good results, good grades are never given away. Since all grades count towards the final grade, not everything depends on the final exams, but you should work constantly. Most Chilean students take their studies very seriously because they pay high fees for their studies. These were heavily criticized, especially during the student protests of 2011 and 2012, but still nothing has changed. This leads to student strikes again and again,
3.2 Supervision of exchange students
What I particularly liked about the FEN was the support for exchange students. Before the semester begins, you can register for the “buddy program” and thus have a Chilean student at your side who can help you find accommodation, for example. The door of the international office is always open on site, which is very helpful.