Study Abroad at University of Viña del Mar (7)
Everyday student life:
All in all, the university is fine. I had interesting courses and great professors. The professors I had were all pretty relaxed, it was completely normal to be on two terms. If you couldn’t be there for upcoming presentations, tests or essay submission deadlines, for example because you had planned a trip, it was never really a problem to find an alternative. The professors were all very helpful and uncomplicated, they even thought it was good when we went on a trip to get to know the country – but of course everything within the framework, as there is still a compulsory attendance.
The composition of the notes is also somewhat different than in Germany. Instead of a final exam, which shows the overall grade, grades are collected throughout the semester, which at the end of the semester make up one grade. The final grade is formed through presentations, essays, tests and an exam at the end. I found the system pleasant, because it didn’t mean everything was dependent on an exam in the end.
My last tip at this point: don’t choose too many courses, you don’t have the best experience in university, but in your free time and if you want to learn Spanish, it works a lot better if you meet up with a few native Spanish speakers in the evening Meet in a bar and don’t sit at a desk or at university from morning to evening (you can do that at home in Germany too, you don’t have to fly to Chile for that).
Life in Chile:
Chile is a country in South America, which, however, often didn’t seem like that to me. When you go to the supermarket, the prices are like in Germany. Some a little cheaper, some a little more expensive – but there is no big difference. I recommend the weekly market (Wednesdays and Saturdays), where you can buy fruit and vegetables cheaply (sometimes half the price in the supermarket).
It can also get very cold in Chile, which I wasn’t really aware of before. When I got there at the end of July, it was bitterly cold. In between there were many sunny days, but it only got warmer in September. The idea of walking around at night without a jacket and only in a T-shirt, however, was only a dream until the end, even in November you still needed a jacket at night. In addition, we often sat on the beach, but you can say goodbye to the idea of going swimming there regularly. The Pacific there is very cold. I was only there twice in the sea from August to December and that was for surfing (with a wetsuit). Surfing tip: Playa Concon (sand surfing is also good there in the dunes).
- Learn more information about Chile and South America on ezinesports.
Otherwise, Chile seemed to me to be relatively developed compared to other Latin American countries: in most areas it is clean and there is little rubbish in the streets, I never felt unsafe (except in Valparaíso – you shouldn’t go through there at night if possible walking the streets and especially not alone, during the day that’s not a problem), there are good long-distance buses with which you can travel through the country and in many places you would get by with English (which is not necessarily the case in other Latin American countries).
Since I decided against a host family from the start, I thought about looking for an apartment early on. However, you should not promise or rent anything from Germany – in any case, look at it first. There are many apartments, some in very good condition and some not, and often the price is not much, so the price is not necessarily an indicator of a good apartment. I rented an Airbnb for the first week with three other girls from CC. Within that week we looked after the apartment and we all found something. Many have used the page: compartodepto.cl, which is something like WG-wanted in Germany. I met a Mexican at university
Further tips at a glance:
- Take a replacement cell phone with you: There were a lot of people whose cell phone was stolen (especially when partying and in the micros)
- At Plaza Vergara there is a Scotiabank where you can withdraw money free of charge with a DKB card, but also with some other credit cards
- The Uber / Cabify and Mapsme apps were vital for me
- Regularly keep an eye on the exchange rate of euros and pesos, which fluctuated a lot in my time, so that really mattered
- We didn’t get a student ID from the UVM, take your own or apply for the international one (we saved money many times as a result)
- Last tip: be careful with the Terremotos (drink), they are really tough