6. Everyday life and leisure
As an international student life was not bad in Santiago. I went to university four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). On Wednesdays in the mornings I usually went to La Vega, the largest market in Santiago, to shop. As already indicated, it was relatively expensive to buy. Therefore, La Vega was a good and cheap alternative. Entrance to museums is free on Sundays, which was very pleasant, especially at the beginning of winter.
Since the university required a lot of work from home here, I also spent a few afternoons studying, working on projects or preparing presentations.
In Chile and Santiago in particular, a political upheaval is underway. Students demand the abolition of tuition fees and try to get this through with strikes or protests, sometimes somewhat violently. At many universities, therefore, classes started very late or not at all. However, my faculty was not affected by these strikes; teaching was carried out here as usual.
Despite everything, the fun was definitely not neglected. Santiago offers good opportunities to go to bars or clubs in the evening, but always with the background that it is a big city and not necessarily always safe. However, you quickly get used to keeping an eye on your valuables, always carrying the bag in front of your chest and not having your cell phone visible for an unnecessarily long time in the evening. You shouldn’t walk home alone, but rather use an Uber, which is considered safer than taxis. It is also a very good opportunity to practice small talk in Spanish.
When there were no projects around the corner, the weekends offered plenty of opportunities and time for excursions. As already mentioned, Santiago is a good starting point for something to do in the area or for a short city trip on long weekends. There is also a lot to do on the weekend in Santiago, so you don’t always have to plan whole day trips. Numerous museums, parks and activities are offered, many of which are even free and therefore very suitable for students. These are often used as a meeting place for international students. The Chilean specialties and traditional delicacies and drinks can be tasted well at street festivals. In addition to empanadas in all flavors, the completto and the choripan, you should definitely also try a pisco and mate con hussilio. The latter may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is definitely worth an experience.
At the beginning of the semester there was a long weekend off and with a large group of almost 30 people we booked into a hostel in Valparaiso on a kind of school trip to get to know each other. In retrospect, this weekend was one of the most beautiful and did the entire group dynamic very well. Another great opportunity was the midterm period, since the exams for the English-language courses were before the actual midterm period, we had the opportunity to drive a little further away for 2 weeks. Again and again, and especially at the end of the semester, there was the opportunity to get to know and love this unbelievable, diverse, elongated country. It doesn’t compare to anything I’ve seen before and highly recommended for all people who love to travel and are close to nature.
National parks like the Torres del Paine or Tierra del Fuego, the driest desert in the world (Atacama), the volcanic region in the south, coastal areas where surfers cavort, the Valle de Elqui with wine and pisco tastings and an incredibly clear starry sky, beaches in the north to relax and unwind, the Andes, where you can ski great and countless small but beautiful hiking routes are definitely a must.
7. Statement of costs
A semester abroad is generally associated with high costs and even in a country like Chile the cost of living is felt to be at least as expensive as in Germany. In the capital Santiago in particular, you often pay a lot more for food and clothing than you are used to in Germany. If you also want to travel, depending on your destination, you will have to spend a lot of money. For example, flying in South America is significantly more expensive than you are used to in Europe, but of course the distances are also somewhat longer.
- Student visa: € 80
- Return flight: € 1,250
- Rent per month: 350 €
- AG for groceries per month: 170 €
- Tuition for 4 courses: $ 3,900
- Public transport (Bip card): € 10
- Mobile phone contract (Claro): 15 €
- for trips to Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil: approx. € 4,000
My semester abroad enriched me a lot. I would repeat it anytime and can only warmly recommend UChile. I haven’t been able to improve my Spanish as much as I wanted to, but it has solidified a bit. I made many friends from all over the world and got to know a new country with its culture and its peculiarities. It was interesting to be able to immerse yourself in the life of a Chilean student and to see how they teach there.
- Learn more about Chile and South America, please check ezinereligion.
Even if it seems to me that I am learning more in one semester in Germany, or learning more qualitatively and professionally, it has helped me above all personally and broadened my horizons.
The highlight of my semester abroad is undoubtedly traveling with friends and exploring other cultures, customs and regions in South America and especially in Chile. I can only recommend a semester abroad there.