Selection of the university and the application phase
It was clear to me – yes, I would like to do a semester abroad and preferably in Latin America. However, since our university does not offer any cooperation with a university in Latin America, I only had the opportunity to plan my semester abroad as a free mover, which of course also means that hardly any support and supervision from the university is possible. I found the agency MicroEDU at a trade fair at our university that specifically related to the semester abroad who was able to support me with my questions and tasks as a freemover. When I got in touch with MicroEDU, I was immediately forwarded to an employee who was particularly familiar with a semester abroad in Latin America. I reported my concern to her and without further ado I received some offers from universities in Latin America that might be suitable for me. Now it was up to me, I had to choose. So it finally came about and I decided to spend a semester abroad at the UVM because it offered a wide range of courses in the field of social sciences for me. MicroEDU sent me the application form and the UVM course catalog. Thanks to the good advice and support as well as a quick answer, whether by email or phone, I was able to fill out the application form quickly and easily. The first step was done, now I had to take care of the financing of the semester abroad. There were various ways to get support in the form of grants. On the one hand, it may be possible to get support from the Auslands-BAföG to get. You should take care of submitting all the required documents on time at an early stage. Another option is to apply for QSL funding. This is a scholarship holder, which can be applied for independently of a partnership. Another important question I was concerned with at the time was choosing the right visa. After consulting with MicroEDU, I decided on a tourist visa. A 90-day visa is issued free of charge. However, since the semester lasted longer than 90 days, I made a long weekend in Mendoza (Argentina) and got on my return trip to Chile another 90-day residence permit. This saved me the time-consuming preparation and the money I had to pay for a student visa.
Finding accommodation in Viña del Mar
At one crucial and important point in the search for an apartment, I received good support from fellow students who had already completed their semester abroad in Chile (Santiago or Viña del Mar). On the one hand, it is possible to be referred to host families through the UVM, where I received mostly positive feedback from discussions with my fellow students during my semester abroad in Viña del Mar, who had decided on a host family through the UVM. Since I already live in a shared flat in Germany, I wanted to keep the freedom to be able to choose a host family or shared flat on site. It is often much easier to find a suitable apartment on site. That’s what happened to me, too. The first week of my arrival I decided to stay temporarily in a hostal to look for me on site. Many housing offers can easily be found on the website compartodepto.cl. I arranged some viewings and without further ado I decided on a host family who own a nice big house in a relaxed location in beautiful Viña del Mar. Together8 other Chilean students lived with me. In addition to everyday life at university, we did a lot together, so I was able to learn a lot about Chilean culture, food, slang and friendships with Chileans.
- For information about Chile and South America, please visit thereligionfaqs.
Studying at the Universidad Viña del Mar
The good organization and support by the international coordinators during the introductory week and the entire semester made it easy for us to get started. Through joint activities and projects, which we developed together with the other international students, the contact to our new fellow students was made super easy. There were numerous offers in the introductory week, such as a city tour through the artist town of Valparaíso, a scavenger hunt through Viña and the establishment of a social project in the Viñas hills. During the semester, too, tours such as For example, a wine tour in the Casablanca wine-growing region up to larger tours, such as a visit to the Torres del Paine National Park, are offered. Furthermore, each nationality represented by the international students had the opportunity to organize an evening with food, games, dances and music in order to give the other students an insight into their culture. We got a good overview of the important survival tips from the “How to Survive in Chile” lecture. Here we were given useful information about life in Chile, such as the use of the numerous means of transport (Micro, Colectivo, Metro), dealing with earthquakes or the cocktail of the same name “Terremoto”, which is definitely a must to try. During the entire semester, the coordinators Carlos Torres and Caroline Cortes were available for every question, whether it was questions about the courses, help with visits to the doctor or general questions, and thus gave us one great care.