Ama la vida – love life!
… and I really loved that in Chile. Everything goes a little slower and more relaxed there, which sometimes gets on your nerves, but you get used to it and come back home with a little more South American serenity. I’m really super happy with my decision to go to Viña, as the semester was really a great new experience. After a very short time I was able to call the cities Viña with its beach promenade and Valparaíso with its street art and its very special charm my home and I really felt at home.
When I decided to go to Chile, registering for the Universidad de Viña del Mar through MicroEDU was very easy and hassle-free. Tatjana was available to answer any questions and helped me with the registration. Personally, I also thought it was great to get a contact list in advance from the other exchange students who went there through MicroEDU.
The finding accommodation locally proved very easy. There are a lot of offers on compartodepto.cl and if you are there a few days before the start of university, you can relax and look at a few apartments and move in before the start of university. I also found my apartment in Valpo through the portal. If you study in Viña, you can live in both Viña and Valpo. With the bus you can get anywhere quickly, no matter where you live and at night collectivos – a kind of shared taxis.
Since my Spanish wasn’t that good at the beginning and I wanted to take courses in Spanish, I decided to only take language courses. The groups were very small, so you really learned a lot. I also found the lecturers very good. The organization at the university, on the other hand, was rather chaotic in a South American way. The staff in the International Office were always very friendly and helpful, but the implementation of some things usually took some time.
This took up a large part of my stay abroad. Chile really has a lot to offer and if you book early, you can get great bargains at skyairlines or LAN. Whether in the Atacama Desert in the north or in Patagonia in the south – the landscape of Chile is simply breathtaking and really worth seeing! During the semester you can also go to the “closer” area for long weekends, be it by bus or rental car. In general, you can talk to the lecturers very well, postpone exams and negotiate absences because everyone is enthusiastic when you see as much of Chile as possible.
- For information about Chile and South America, please visit homosociety.
If you want a semester with a pronounced party life, then you’ve come to the right place! We spent Wednesday at the notorious “Miercoles de Baile” in Club Hollywood and every Thursday there was a series of parties for the exchange students, which always took place in different locations. There are numerous clubs in Viña as well as in Valpo and especially in Valpo you can easily walk through the bars. You can actually go dancing every night of the week and there is always something going on somewhere. You can get home easily by Collectivo, which are shared taxis that always drive a certain route. If your home is not on the route, our experience has shown that for a few pesos more they deviate from their route to bring you closer to home.
When I arrived in Chile in August, it was still quite cold. Somehow I didn’t expect that and didn’t have a thick jacket with me – be sure to bring some warm things with you, because temperatures drop especially at night. The problem in Chile is that there is no real central heating, that is, it is cold outside as well as inside and you sometimes had the feeling that you didn’t get warm any more. I would recommend taking a sleeping bag with you – you ‘ll need that anyway if you go on a trip and do a few tours. In the supermarkets you can also buy thicker blankets at relatively low prices. As soon as the sun comes out, it is super warm, so we were sometimes already in a bikini on the beach in September, but the next day you walk around in a sweater again. So the weather is very changeable and when it becomes summer, you definitely need sunscreen with a high SPF, as the radiation is super strong.
It was my dream to live with a sea view one day, and I fulfilled that in Valpo. I think it’s just a great way of life to live by the sea, whether it’s jogging, walking, drinking coffee or lying on the beach, everything is much more fun by the sea. Speaking of coffee – unfortunately, in Chile, the powder Nescafé, which is super sweet, is drunk. Besides Starbucks in Viña and some cafes in Valpo that have normal coffee machines, there is a super cute cafe in Arlegui – Swedish Coffee House – which have the best coffee in Viña. There are many destinations around Viña and Valpo that you can head for after university.The dunes of Renaca at sunset, surfing in Concón, Laguna Verde, Quintay… you will never get bored! In general, we did a lot with the exchange students, especially all the trips. That’s why I found it super interesting to live with a Chilean woman, because otherwise you would have less contact with Chileans at the university, depending on which courses you took.
Eating out in Chile is such a thing in itself. It’s rather greasy, a lot of fried food – they even deep-fry sushi – but since you live there during the semester, you can cook really well. On Wednesdays and Saturdays there is a market in Viña as well as in Valpo and there you will find fruit and vegetables, usually by the kilo, at really good prices. Food in the supermarket tends to be rather expensive, but you can also get a lot. Especially in the big jumbo you get a lot that you might miss, there is even packaged whole-grain bread. In Chile you will definitely eat a lot of more or less good empanadas – you can find them on every corner and, above all, cakes and other sweet delicacies are plentiful.