Course choice and course program
I decided on the Spanish-language program, which is explained below, and attended courses at the Spanish Center for international students, as well as a course in the regular “Carreras” (study programs) of the UVM. I did not take an English language course. Although I had to specify a course choice in my application, I only chose my courses on site after consulting the respective “Jefes de Carrera” (course director).
First of all, I attended all courses relevant to me in the first 2 weeks before I had to make a final selection. I asked the course directors about the conversion of Chilean credits into ECTS points (SCT are equivalent to ECTS here), as well as the course descriptions (the English-language course descriptions and the course descriptions of the Spanish Center can also be found on the UVM website or on the college website Contact).
English language course program:
This program is designed for international students and takes place on the Diego Portales campus (Diego Portales 90, Viña del Mar). The tuition fee for the English-speaking semester is approximately USD 3700. You can find the courses offered here: http://sitios.uvm.cl/international/academic-semester-program/
Spanish language course program:
Any international student can take courses at the Spanish Center (Centro Español). In addition to communication and grammar courses, courses in literature, culture, society, politics and economics are also offered in Latin America. If you take part in the Spanish-language program, you are not allowed to take English courses, as the tuition fee is lower here (approx. 3150 USD). If you take part in the English-language program, you are free to choose from any of the courses – provided you have sufficient knowledge of Spanish.
Courses of the “Carreras” of the UVM:
Regardless of the program in which you participate, you can choose courses from the regular Carreras (degree programs) of the UVM. All courses of the Escuela de Negocios (Faculty of Business) take place on the Diego Portales campus. The other faculties are spread across the Campi Diego Portales, Miraflores and Rodelillo. You can take as many courses as you want, also from different Carreras and Escuelas.
The Dept. of Economics in Chile by the way does not mean as one might expect “Administración de Empresas” but “Ingeniería Comercial” (what you would actually translate industrial engineering – the is not so, “Ingeniería… ‘is here almost every course, even if it has nothing to do with engineering!) All faculties, courses and subjects can be found here: http://www.uvm.cl/mallas-curriculares/
Arrival and mobility
I haven’t found a direct flight from Germany to Santiago de Chile, but there are good connections where you only have to change once. However, I decided to travel before and after the semester abroad, so I booked a different connection and opted for an open-jaw flight. From Santiago de Chile I had to take the bus to Viña del Mar for about one and a half to two hours.
Since Viña del Mar is a rather touristy city, the bus connection from the airport in Santiago is very good. Buses leave every ten minutes from the Pajaritos bus terminal (alternatively Alameda). From the airport you can take a “turbus” (the green coach) to the Pajaritos bus terminal for about CLP 1,800 (approx. € 2.50) and then buy a ticket to Viña del Mar or Valparaíso for less than € 10.
- For information about Chile and South America, please visit oxfordastronomy.
Mobility in Viña del Mar and the surrounding area:
The so-called micros (buses) and colectivos (collective taxis for up to four people), but also the metro, run within the city. Another popular and comparatively inexpensive means of transportation is Uber. The micros cost between 300 and 340 CLP (approx. € 0.40-0.45) for short trips (local), otherwise they cost 480 CLP (approx. € 0.63) at night, regardless of whether short or long-haul routes 500 CLP (approx. € 0.65).
The Colectivos look like taxis (only instead of yellow with black roof) and you can recognize them by the signs on their roofs that indicate the direction. At the bus stops, you wave them over and tell them when you get on where you want to go and pay a fixed price for the route, e.g. 600 CLP (approx. € 0.78). Driving a taxi is relatively expensive and should therefore only be used if you are really in a hurry or if there is no other option. For orientation, I recommend the MapsMe app, an online map that can also be used offline and is worth gold.
Mobility within the country and the continent:
Although there are no trains in Chile, the long-distance bus network is very well developed and, above all, relatively cheap. For example, you can take a comfortable night bus from Viña del Mar to Pucón for around € 10 (approx. 13 hours travel time). The bus providers I used were turbus and Condor, but there are more.
It is best to reserve the tickets directly at the Rodovario bus terminal in Viña del Mar, if you want to be sure, preferably a few days in advance. The buses also travel across national borders (e.g. to Mendoza, Argentina). Those who prefer to fly should compare airline prices on despegar.cl. With hand luggage you can fly cheaply with JetSmart and Sky.