Hola a todos! I try to bring you my experiences with Chile a little closer and hope my report helps you – if you are still in doubt, take heart and dare! It was a wonderful experience full of unforgettable moments that I wouldn’t want to miss for anything in the world.
1. First considerations and application process
I’ve always wanted to go abroad – and what better way to do this than a semester abroad while studying? Unfortunately, at the university where I study, it is quite difficult to get a place at one of the “more popular” partner universities. So I had almost finished dreaming of a semester in a foreign country when I happened to find out about a lecture by MicroEDU at our faculty. The information event was interesting and detailed – the topic of “Study Abroad” was discussed particularly intensively.
Since I’ve been learning Spanish for several years (school, university,…) and wanted to improve my language skills, I found out more about the universities in Spain and Latin America.
After some research, I decided to go to Münster personally to take a closer look at the MicroEDU office and made an appointment with a member of staff – the entire CC team is extremely personable and extremely helpful – you fill up as soon as you sign up for a university decided to fill out the application form and the CC ladies will do the rest! I could turn to her with any questions. A huge THANK YOU for this!
I have to admit: I knew very little about Chile as a country before my stay in Viña – but Latin America sounded more exciting to me than Spain, which is very close. I was asked why I wouldn’t prefer to go to Madrid, if only for security reasons. But don’t worry too much: Chile is a very safe country – of course there are things you should be aware of, but you shouldn’t shy away from them because of any security concerns. Nothing happened to me in Chile in four months – all in all I only had one negative experience in this entire time, which took place in Argentina;)
Back to the application;): I applied to the UVM in March 2012 (as I said, you fill out the form; including a small passport photo and some information – especially relevant if you want to stay with a host family) – CC sent the form to the International office of the UVM sent. I was told that so far everyone has been accepted and that they have been working with the Universidad Viña del Mar for years.
- For information about Chile and South America, please visit shopareview.
I finally got my approval in mid-May. I had waited for this because I didn’t want to book a plane ticket to Santiago without insurance – if I had booked earlier, it would have been cheaper. So I paid 1500 euros for a return flight (Frankfurt – Sao Paolo – Santiago).
At this point, the question of the visa is of course important. I had been consulted with CC and also received the email address of the contact person for international students at the UVM – a very helpful (and incredibly photographing) Chilean named Carlos, who works in the International Office of the UVM and goes on many trips with the international.
It turned out that you don’t necessarily need a student visa (almost none of the Germans had one). When I arrived at the airport in Santiago, I received a small slip of paper with the date of entry. Do not lose it if possible;) With this tourist visa you can stay in Chile for 90 days and then have to leave the country, which was not a problem because I wanted to travel anyway. Before the three months were up, I flew to Argentina with some girls. When you come back to Chile, you will receive a new little piece of paper.
The flight to Sao Paolo took about 12 hours, to Santiago it is another 4 hours. When you get there, don’t take a taxi, but one of the blue airport buses (when you come out, on the right) – this will bring you to the Rodovario bus terminal. From there coaches drive to Viña del Mar (approx. 2000 Chilean pesos).
Speaking of pesos: I had previously exchanged a few pesos in Germany. In Viña itself there are several banks – since I did not have a partner bank on site, I always withdrew from machines marked “redbank” (up to 100,000 CLP).
The Euro-CLP exchange rate naturally fluctuates. In simplified terms, I calculated with 1 € – 600 CLP, which usually works.
3. Accommodation / Host Family
In the application form you will be asked which type of accommodation you prefer: to live with a host family or to move into your own apartment / shared flat.
I chose the former because I wanted to be “forced” to speak Spanish and because I think that this way you have the opportunity to get to know the country and its people in a different way. Of course, I was excited and wanted to find out about my host family as soon as possible. I am happy to have decided on this type of living and life in Viña – I had very warm and friendly host parents who, after many years of experience with guest students, integrated me into their life without any problems and who made it easy for me from day one made me feel “at home”.
You pay a fixed amount that includes not only the accommodation but also the meals and then you usually live with this family for the whole semester (here too: if you have any questions, it’s best to contact Carlos – he is the one who allocates the families).
Of course, everyone has to decide for themselves – some of the students (especially Americans) lived with host families, but most Europeans in their own apartments or rented rooms.