Study Abroad at University of Viña del Mar (3)
Hello my dears!
I’m not really sure where to start. You experience so much, see so many new things, meet great people and then suddenly the semester is over and you don’t really know where the time has gone. And somehow it is also difficult to write something general, because everyone has their own experiences and so many different factors influence the time spent abroad.
Well, I just wrote down what came to my mind and hope that you can do something with it.
For everyone who cannot / do not want to go to a partner university of their university / college, CC is a great opportunity. You are well looked after, the staff are available to answer any questions and make the application process much easier. It’s just a matter of filling out the application documents and sending them to CC and then they will take care of contact with the university. Super easy! At this point, a big thank you to MicroEDU for their support!
I don’t know whether that has changed in the meantime, but the UVM does not require a student visa from the Intercambios to study. That’s why I entered Chile on a tourist visa and then left for Mendoza (Argentina) after 90 days in order to get it extended for another 90 days when I re-entered. In itself it shouldn’t be a problem to travel in and out of the country. All Germans who studied with me had no problems with it. But it can of course be that at the border you are asked questions about what you are doing in Chile. It just depends on the border guard.
For the first few days in Chile I booked myself in a hostel (Che Lagarto – very nice) in order to look for an apartment on site. I decided against the option of a host family because I wanted to live in a shared apartment again (like in Germany). I have heard different stories about families. Some felt very comfortable as a real part of the family. With others it was more like living there and getting food, but not really doing anything together. But well, that always depends on the family. Definitely a way to get to know Chilean life better.
Finding an apartment is actually not a problem. There are always other exchange students who are also looking for an apartment. A lot goes through the Facebook group that the university has set up. There is also a kind of WG-searched page, where apartments are also activated (compartodepto.cl). If you have enough patience to look at different apartments, this is definitely an option too:)
I decided on the UVM at the time because it offered the semester in English and I knew that my Spanish would not be enough to study in Spanish and that I wanted certain courses to be credited for Germany. In itself, the semester in English is also a good alternative to studying in a Spanish-speaking country without having sufficient knowledge of Spanish. However, the Intercambios will be in the introductory week divided into two groups. One group of students who can speak Spanish and the other group of students who cannot speak Spanish. That also makes perfect sense, since a lot of important, organizational things have to be explained at the beginning. Unfortunately, all other activities of the introductory week also take place separately and since in the first week the groups in which one then moves are usually already formed, this organization makes it incredibly difficult to make contact with the Spanish-speaking Intercambios. That’s why a German group formed very quickly, which was a shame because we spoke a lot of German, even if I was very fond of the girls. We also had ours courses not at the right university, but in a house where only the Intercambios had universities. You need a certain level of Spanish to take part in the normal courses with the Chileans. Every now and then a few Chileans would run around with us, but that was rather the exception. Actually there were only Americans and Germans. Unfortunately, there was no campus feeling either.
- Learn more information about Chile and South America on beautypically.
The courses I took were still very interesting and I learned a lot. The courses for learning Spanish grammar are really helpful thanks to good profs. In general, the courses (as in Germany) also depend on the professors. Some are really good, some are modest to really bad.
Well, in retrospect I would have preferred to have arrived in Chile with a better level of Spanish, even if it has of course improved anyway. A semester is very short and when I was able to have a conversation, it was almost time to leave. And because farewells are always very sad, I am also very happy that I got to know the girls I can see again in Germany and whom I don’t have to say goodbye to forever.
Chile is expensive. The supermarket prices hardly differ from those in Germany. Cheese is even more expensive:(Definitely buy fruit and vegetables at the local Fería / Mercado! It is much, much cheaper! In Viña there is Fería every Wednesday and Saturday, in Valpo there is a Mercado that is open every day.
You definitely don’t have to worry about security in Viña. That is no more dangerous than any city in Germany. Of course, something can happen to you at night or you can be robbed during the day, but that can also happen to you in Frankfurt or anywhere else in Germany. The dark, lonely corners should be avoided anywhere in the world.
There are an incredible number of street dogs that mostly do nothing, except maybe walk next to you for a while or bark at the cars, but a few people got bitten during my semester here. There are definitely more beautiful things than street dogs.
The Chilean winter is cold. Mainly because there is no heating in the apartments. We froze a lot in August and September. So, don’t forget your winter jacket and put blankets on:)
Otherwise the Intercambios are very party-loving. There is definitely not too little opportunity to go out in the evening;)
Allow time to travel if you don’t have to go back to Germany straight away. South America is big and very beautiful!
Just have a good time in your semester abroad and enjoy every moment. The months fly by like anything else!