Study Abroad at University of Viña del Mar (8)
At the beginning of my studies it was clear to me that I really wanted to do a semester abroad. Since I am fluent in English and I wanted to learn a new language, I decided to go to the Spanish-speaking area. At first I thought about going to Spain, but I wanted to experience something new that was totally different from Germany. With the help of the international coordinator at our university, I became aware of the Universidad Viña del Mar in Chile and was immediately convinced! There have already been a few female students from our university in Chile and highly recommended the country and the university.
The application was very easy thanks to MicroEDU and the application form was filled out quickly. Neither letters of motivation nor other documents were required and the MicroEDU team was always at my side if I had any questions. I’ve never applied for something so easy!
Since the university in Chile is a private university, it is pretty sure that you will be accepted and so you don’t have to be afraid of ending up without a place to study. An application for alternatives was therefore not necessary.
When I received my “Offer Letter” from MicroEDU a few weeks later and was accepted in Chile, the preparations could begin.
I booked my flight myself over the Internet, some also did so with the help of various travel organizations. When looking for a flight, you should consider whether you would like to travel after the semester or not, as you may need to take off from an airport other than Santiago.
I knew from other students who had already done their semester abroad in Viña that it was not necessary to look for an apartment before arriving. I found it a lot easier to rent a hostel for the first week and look for an apartment from there. Since there are a few students in Viña and the neighboring town of Valparaíso, there are always many housing offers. More about my apartment search later.
Before I left, I attended a Spanish course, but unfortunately couldn’t take a lot with me and went to Chile with very little knowledge of Spanish. Of course, this made things a little more difficult at the beginning, but for me personally it was nice to see how quickly I learned the language during the semester. Nevertheless, I would recommend a language course beforehand, it makes things a lot easier, as hardly anyone speaks English in Chile.
Arrival in Chile
So at the end of July we went from Düsseldorf via North America to Chile. I spent my first night in Santiago and the next day I picked up the UVM from the airport. There were a few other students from other countries on site and you had the opportunity to make contacts on the first day.
- Learn more information about Chile and South America on fashionissupreme.
In Viña, I first found accommodation in the Street Garden Hostel and then looked for an apartment from there. Through a friend, I got in touch with a Chilean woman who rents apartments to students and found a room within a week. I lived with three Chileans and an Austrian who was also studying a semester abroad at the UVM, and we all got on really well. The apartment was directly across from the university and cost the equivalent of 270 euros a month.
On the Monday after my arrival, the “Orientation Week” began, where we were introduced to the university, Viña and Chile and many activities were planned for us by the university. For example, there was a tour through Viña and Valparaíso, lectures on safety and life in Chile and of course a welcome party. The week was very helpful to get to know the other students and to find your way around Chile a little better. The international students are divided into English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students and we were quite separate during our Orientation Week, which made it a bit difficult to get to know Spanish-speaking students. In the course of the semester, however, you come into contact with the rest of the group relatively quickly through university events, events of the International Club, parties and so on!
The International Club at the university consists of Chilean students and international students. The club organizes many events during the semester, for example a day for each country that is represented among the international students. You can join this at the beginning of the semester for a small sum, which I would highly recommend. You grow very close together very quickly, everyone got on very, very well with us and after a while we were like a big family. We were over 100 international students, but at some point we knew each other and there were hardly any strong groups!