1. Selection of the foreign university
From the beginning, it was my wish to spend my semester abroad in a Spanish-speaking country in order to improve my Spanish in addition to English. The idea of going to Latin America sounded exciting and appealing, but at the same time I couldn’t really assess the risk of living on the continent.
While I was still researching Spain at MicroEDU, I became aware of the university in Chile, a country that I had barely studied before and about which I didn’t know much either. As it quickly turned out, however, many Latin Americans like to refer to Chile as “almost European” because, compared to its neighbors, it is considered stable, relatively rich and orderly. Santiago de Chile is the safest metropolis in South America and is located in the middle of a fascinatingly long but extremely narrow country that extends from the hottest desert in the world to the eternal ice.
In addition, the Universidad de Chile is considered the best university in the country and can also be found on the ranks of some international comparisons. This has the advantage that the course catalog of the Facultad de Economia y Negocios (FEN) comprises around 200 pages, English and Spanish courses can be freely combined and thus there is something for every taste. The tuition fees of 2200 € are also acceptable and lower than at many other South American universities.
At the beginning I was still considering universities in Buenos Aires or Lima, but then for various reasons I decided to visit both cities only as holiday destinations. In retrospect, it was also the right decision for me. Although both cities are fascinating, life in Santiago is nowhere near as chaotic and the safety in the city means you can live more carefree and have more freedom.
Even if security concerns brought me to Chile before the start of the semester, I now mainly admire the diversity and the associated possibilities of the country and the always friendly Chileans who, separated by the sea, mountains, desert and ice, have developed their very own lifestyle.
- Learn more about Chile and South America, please check pharmacylib.
2. Registration / application
The application process was easy, even if it was the first time I had to adapt my German planning horizon to the Chilean one. MicroEDU will send you the necessary, easily understandable forms plus an explanation, fill in everything once and send it back. In addition, I had to fill out and send a transcript of records with my previous courses at the university of applied sciences. MicroEDU will then double-check everything before sending it to the FEN.
Even if no one has ever received a rejection from MicroEDU, the application process at the Chilean university does not start until April, i.e. you do not need to expect a confirmation before the end of April / May.
The FEN then quickly gets in touch with you and the (current) international representative Kaia takes care of all kinds of questions from then on, regardless of whether they are directly related to the university or to other life in Chile. You also get an updated course catalog and have time to find your desired courses and send them back to the FEN so that the corresponding places in the courses can be reserved. Nobody had any problems getting into any courses, but it is important to be flexible about the choice of course. The offer has changed here or there, so that in the end the best method is to look at the courses that are currently being offered on site at the start of the semester and to choose the best. This is not a problem because you have a month to add or drop courses from the beginning of the semester. Since almost all courses are business administration courses (unfortunately only the Chileans get credits on Zumba), it was no problem for me to have my “new” course choice recognized at the university of applied sciences.
In addition to the course catalog, you will also receive a form for participating in the FEN’s “Buddy Program”. The program consists of each international student getting a Chilean student with similar interests and hobbies as a contact person. I can only recommend the program to everyone, because rather as a person who can be questioned with all questions and with whom you can speak Spanish, I got to know one of my (then) best friends in the first week, the showed me Santiago and integrated me into her Chilean family.
3. Organization of studies
The FEN is in the process of converting its credit system so that the number of credits per course is given partly in so-called UDs and partly in the new “Créditos”. Both measure the weekly workload in terms of teaching time, preparation and follow-up work and 10 UDs correspond to 6 credits, which in turn correspond to 6 ECTS. Since the standard courses have 10 UDs, I took three courses and ended up with 18 ECTS (three more than necessary).
In general, courses are divided into the two areas “negocios”, everything to do with the company, and “economia”, which deals with the economy itself. Chileans have to specialize in one area, exchange students can take courses from both areas.
Most courses take place twice a week, some also have a tutorial in which the material is repeated and practiced.
The support at the FEN is great, you always have a contact person at your side who also helps if your cell phone is stolen at the airport or you don’t know which vaccinations you need for your next trip. In addition, the courses with around 20-30 students are rather small, so that the professor often knows one by name and can take into account any lack of language skills.