Hello future exchange student!!! We are more than pleased to welcome you in Chile. Here we have a structured organization that will help you althrought your exchange period. The clerkships are very well organized with really great tutors and we have an extremely good "Social Program" (that's what really sets us apart), so you better be ready for your BEST month abroad.
Chile is a country in South America placed in a long and narrow coastal strip wedged between the Andes mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage and Antarctica at the country's southernmost tip. With a coastline that stretches over 6,435 kilometres, Chilean territory extends to the Pacific Ocean which includes the overseas territories of Juan Fernández Islands (including Robinson Crusoe island) and the Easter Island located in Polynesia, among others. Chile's unusual ribbon-like shape — 4,300 kilometres long and on average 175 kilometres wide — has given it a wide variety of climates, ranging from the driest desert of the world —Atacama Desert— to the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the center, to a snow-prone Alpine climate in the south -Torres del Paine-, with glaciers, lakes and the Tierra del Fuego or Land of Fire. The relatively small central area dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources. This area also is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century, when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. The northern Chilean desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper and lithium, and the southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.
Chile is part of the Southern Cone of South America along with Argentina and Uruguay. High life expectancy, the highest Human Development Index of Latin America, high standard of living, significant participation in the global markets and the emerging economy of its members make the Southern Cone the most prosperous macro-region in South America.
Why choose Chile in the Latin American context
Currently, Chile is one of the Latin American's most stable, prosperous and secure nations. Within the greater Latin American context it leads in terms of human development, gross domestic product per capita (at market prices and purchasing power parity), competitiveness, quality of life, political stability, globalization, economic freedom, low perception of corruption and comparatively low poverty rates and one of the highest security level, mesured by the Global Peace Index (GPI). It also ranks high regionally in freedom of the press and democratic development. Chile is the only South American country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Chile along with Uruguay are the only Latin American countries considered as high-income economies (but yet developing countries). Finally, Chile is the only Latin American country included in the Visa Waiver Program of the United States, so Chilean do not need a VISA to get in that country.
That's why too many exchange student choose us for a professional/research exchange, do a lot of tourism to the north/central/south of the country and some of them (and once they fit in the Latin American lifestyle) use Chile as a platform to visit many hot turistic spots in South America like Argentina (Buenos Aires), Perú (Cusco), Brasil (Rio de Janeiro), Bolivia (Salar de Uyuni) etc...,
- Map with foreign travel recommendations and warnings by country for Canadians
- Human Development Index 2016 (world rank #42, LA rank #2)
- Transparency International: Corruption perceptions index 2016 (world rank #23, LA rank #2)
- Gross National Product (PPP) per capita 2015 (world rank #54, LA rank #1)
- Global Peace Index 2016 (world rank #27, LA rank #1)
- Economic Freedom Index 2016 (world rank #7, LA rank #1)
- World Travel Awards: South America 2016 (Best Adventure Tourism Destination)
- The Huffington Post: Argentina vs Chile - Where to go
- Serious Eats: A Beginner's Guide to Chilean Wine
- The World’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations 2014 (world rank #4)
- The Economist: The where-to-be-born index 2013 (world rank #23, LA rank #1)
- TRAVEL+LEISURE Best Countries for Solo Travellers (world rank #10, LA rank #2)
- CNN World's most loved cities 2012 (rank #3: Santiago de Chile)
- New York Times: The 41 Places to Go in 2011 (rank #1: Santiago de Chile)
- New York Times: The 45 Places to Go in 2012 (rank #8: Chilean Patagonia and #37: Chiloé Island)
The health care system in Chile is divided in two. In one hand you have the private service managed by the ISAPRES and public service managed by FONASA (National Health Fund). More than 70% of the population is affiliated to the Public System. In the past years the Goverment has worked really hard in increasing the coverage of the Publich Health System which turn out in the creation of the called GES (Explicit Health Guarantees). The GES system is based in the asurement of the diagnosis and treatment of the highest morbility/mortality diseases ranging from Hypertension to several kind of cancers. This means if a person is affected with one of this common diseases the treatment and the follow up are for free. Right now the goverment is working in increasing the number of diseases that are include in the new System. Even if you have ISAPRE you get the coverage for the GES. In Chile is mandatory to be part of a Health System, either public or private. If you have a salary is mandatory to pay the 7% of it, if you are affiliated to the private one you can pay the 7% for the basic plan coverage or more if you want to get more insurance. Homeless people are on FONASA and they get healthcare for free. The patients of the public system are supossed to be attend first in the "Consultorios" and if is an emergency then they can get attention in the "SAPU" and afterwards they are sent to the Hospital where they can get a more specific treatment.
After finishing high school, all the Chilean students who want to continue studing in a University have to take a national test which is called PSU (University Selection test). And considering you score in the PSU and ones grades in the high school you may apply to each University in Chile (publich or private). We have a lot of faculties where you may study Medicine in the country. They are 26 in total and 14 are SCOPE active for incomings. In Chile we have Public and Private Universities in both you have to pay but the prices are differents; in a public one you pay around 3.500-6.000 Eur per year meanwhile in a private one you pay over 7.000 Eur per year. There are just a few students who have full scholarships and most of them ask for loans to the goverment or private banks. Medicine is the longest career to study in the country, it takes 7 years to get your Medical Degree diploma. The first 2 years are most theorical and since the 3rd year you start to go everyday to the Hospital. Most in the mornings and in the afternoon we still have theorical classes. This goes on until the 5th year. In the 3rd year you study Semiology. Then the 4th and 5th year we have internal medicine, surgery, gynaeocolgy, pedriatrics, ophtalmology, dermatology, OTN medicine, legal medicine, etc. The last 2 years, 6th and 7th, you work as an intern which include night shifts. In this last 2 years you has to pass in the differents Departments of the Hospital but the ones that take longer are Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics&Gynaeocology and Pediatrics. By the end of 7th year you have to take the National Medical test of knoweldge in Medicine to practice as a Doctor, when you do that, then you have different choices; you cmay work as a General Practioner, work in rural areas and gain points to get your residency paid by the Ministry of Health, or go with your grades, National Medical Exam scores, published work to a National Ranking Competion and choice the residency you can sign acording to your ranking.
QS Univeristy Rankings: Latin America 2018
14 Chilean Universities in the TOP 100
- #1: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Santiago de Chile)
- #6: Universidad de Chile (Santiago de Chile)
- #15: Universidad de Concepción (Concepcion)
- #16: Universidad de Santiago de Chile (Santiago de Chile)
- #23: Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (Santiago de Chile)
- #26: Pontifica Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (Valparaiso)
- #40: Universidad Diego Portales (Santiago de Chile)
- #43: Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (Valparaiso)
- #44: Universidad Austral de Chile (Osorno & Valdivia)
- #79: Universidad de Talca (Talca)
- #84: Universidad Andrés Bello (Valparaiso, Santiago de Chile & Concepcion)
- #89: Universidad de Valparaíso (Valparaiso)
- #91: Universidad de los Andes (Santiago de Chile)
- #96: Universidad de La Frontera (Temuco)
Times Higher Education University Rankings: Latin America 2016
11 Chilean Universities in the TOP 50
- #3: Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile (Santiago de Chile)
- #4: Universidad de Chile (Santiago de Chile)
- #13: Universidad Técnica Federico Santamaria (Valparaiso)
- #14: Universidad de Concepción (Concepcion)
- #17: Universidad Austral de Chile (Valdivia & Osorno)
- #19: Universidad de Santiago de Chile (Santiago de Chile)
- #24: Universidad de Talca (Talca)
- #26-30 Universidad de La Frontera (Temuco)
- #26-30 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (Valparaiso)
- #36-40 Universidad Diego Portales (Santiago de Chile)
- #41-45 Universidad del Desarrollo (Santiago de Chile)
Latin American countries by population
- #1: Brasil (208,767,000)
- #2: México (122,273,473)
- #3: Colombia (49,591,000)
- #4: Argentina (43,590,368)
- #5: Perú (31,488,625)
- #6: Venezuela (31,028,637)
- #7: Chile (17,574,003)
Transport service varies depending on the size of the city. The biggest cities in Chile are Santiago de Chile, Concepción and Valparaíso, so just them have a Metro system. And all of them have buses to take you from one point of the city and this is the most common mean use by Chilean, except for Santiago de Chile, where Metro is the most used system.
Santiago de Chile also sets apart from the rest of the country in the means of payment, in this city is mandatory to have a card to use either Metro or Buses, which has to be charged every once in a while with money. In the rest of the city, you have to pay with cash the bus fare and with a similar card the Metro (Concepción and Valparaíso).
National transportation (between cities)
It is widely spread in the country the usage of buses to move between cities. Generally speaking we may say they are safe, fast and confortable. Here we drop a few bus lines operating in Chile, where you can check the prices and frecuencies (1 USD = 600 CLP).
- Tur Bus, webpage:https://www.turbus.cl/
- Cruz del Sur, webpage:http://www.busescruzdelsur.cl/VEL/
- EmeBus, webpage: https://www.emebus.cl/view/indexPro.jsp
- ETM, webpage: http://www.etm.cl/
How do you get in the country? By plain would be the typical option. Almost all the internacional flights arrive to Santiago Airport (SCL) and then make a connection with another flight directly to your final destination (unless you have been placed in Santiago de Chile). If you are placed in San Felipe, Valparaíso or Talca, first you have to get in Santiago de Chile and after take a bus to your final destination.
- Arica: Chacalluta International Airport (ARI)
- Antofagasta: Andres Sabella International Airport (ANF)
- La Serena: La Florida Airport (LSC)
- Santiago de Chile: Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL)
- Concepción: Carriel Sur International Airport (CCP)
- Temuco: La Araucania International Airport (ZCO)
- Valdivia: Pichoy Airport (ZAL)
- Osorno: Cañal Bajo Airport (ZOS)
- Puerto Montt: El Tepual International Airport (PMC)
- Coyhaique: Balmaceda Airport (BBA)
- Punta Arenas:Carlos Ibáñez International Airport (PUQ)
San Felipe, Valparaiso, Talca & Chillan doesn't have an airport with regular flights from Santiago, but it is advisable to get to the nearest city aiport.
Here in Chile we have some airlines for domestic flights, they are really convenient at the time of looking for a good price:
- LATAM Airlines(LA), webpage: http://www.latam.com/
- Sky Airlines(H2), webpage: https://www.skyairline.cl/
- JetSmart, webpage: https://jetsmart.com/cl/es/
Air lines operating in Santiago de Chile: Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Aeroméxico, LACSA, Copa Airlines, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Austral Líneas Aereas, LATAM, Avianca, TACA, Iberia LAE, Air France, Qantas Airlines, BQB Líneas Aereas, Alitalia, Turkish Airlines and British Airways. Soon: Emirates.
Regular direct flights from/to:
- Argentina (Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza & Rio Gallegos)
- Australia (Sydney)
- Bolivia (La Paz)
- Brasil (Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paulo)
- Canada (Toronto)
- Colombia (Bogota)
- Costa Rica (San Jose)
- Dominican Republic (Punta Cana)
- Ecuador (Guayaquil & Quito)
- Falkland islands/Islas Malvinas (Port Stanley/Puerto Argentino)
- France (Paris)
- Germany (Frankfurt)
- Italy (Rome)
- Mexico (Cancun & Mexico city)
- New Zealand (Auckland)
- Panama (Panama city)
- Paraguay (Asuncion)
- Peru (Lima)
- Spain (Madrid)
- French Polynesia (Papeete)
- The Netherlands (Amsterdam)
- United Kingdom (London)
- United States (Atlanta, Dallas-FortWorth, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami & New york)
- Uruguay (Montevideo)
Also there are flights to Eastern Islands which is considered as a Internacional destination because even if it is Chilean territory it is really far away.
Ski in the Andes
During the winter season, between the months of June and September, there are many option of practicing ski in Chile. There are 18 Ski Centers distributed between the Central Valley (Santiago de Chile) and southern Chile (Punta Arenas). The slopes of the Andes Mountains offer variety: quality hotels, a diversity of quality ski runs, equipment rental facilities, good restaurants, and warm cafeterias. Within what is available, there are very sophisticated winter centers that offer helicopter flights to land on mountaintops so experienced skiers can descend through virgin snow. Other centers offer snowmobile rides and open air hot springs under the falling snow.
Traditional skiers and snowboarders occupy an important position in the winter activities offered. Currently almost all centers have slopes that are exclusively snowboard use, with modern snow parks where DJs play music live to a backdrop of beautiful views of faraway valleys.
Even without skis or poles, the white-capped mountains under the sun is a reason enough to visit. And every summer, mountain centers are opened for horseback riding, trekking, spelunking expeditions, or biking.
Close to San Felipe, Valparaíso and Santiago de Chile
Close to Talca and Concepción
Close to Temuco
Close to Valdivia, Osorno and Puerto Montt
Close to Punta Arenas
Tourist destinations in northern Chile
- Andean Altiplano
- San Pedro de Atacama
- Antofagasta and Calama
- La Serena and Coquimbo
Tourist destinations in central Chile
Tourist destinations in southern Chile
Chilean identity is something to be discovered and experienced by visitors. You will no doubt observe distinct differences between the hurried residents of the big cities and the inhabitants of the valleys, coasts and mountains, where the pace of life is calmer and time seems to pass more slowly. Generally speaking, the people of Chile are friendly, open to foreign visitors (despite the fact that only 10% of them speak English with relative fluency), and have a strong sense of identity linked to rural Chile.
Chileans speak Spanish rapidly, often dropping the last letters of words including the plural-denoting "s". The vernacular includes a series of slang terms and invented words that is always evolving and reveals a healthy dose of humor and mischief. Visitors may feel a bit lost at first, but the locals are more than happy to explain the nuances of the Chilean idioms.
Some articules about Chile's culture:
* How to piss off a Chilean
Accommodation & Boarding
The accommodation and boarding for exchange students are at Host Families. This will increase your cultural experience as a exchangee because it gives you the opportunity to realized how the Chileans actually live. Normally you will have your own bedroom or probably you might share it with another exchange student or someone of your Host family. At least 1 meal per day will be provided. Sometimes students don't study where they actually are from so they rent an apartment. In this case you might live just with one student or probably with other ones. The normal chilean family is with 4-5 members but also you will find families with more. We always try to place the incomings students near where they will attend their clerkships but sometimes is not possible.
Note: Contrariwise to other countries who work with students' hostels/residences as a acommodation to the incoming students, to find a host family to each exchange student requires a really hard and coordinate work of the National Exchange Team so you have to be aware that the details about your host family will be only provide once we recieve the Card of Confirmation and it could be given with a significant delay (even 1 week before your arrival). But don't worry, we never fail.
- Al lote = careless, untidy; too casual
- Al tiro = Right away; immediately
- Atinar = To react in the correct manner to a sitation. Suitable, appropriate.
- Barsa = A guy who tries to take advantage of situations
- Cachar (cachai?) = to understand (you get it?)
- Cacho = a problem; a dificult person or situation
- Caleta = A lot
- Carabineros = Police
- Carrete/carretear = party/to party
- Chalas = sandals
- Chato = fed up
- Chela = beer
- Chueco = crooked; not straight; dishonest
- Copete = Alcoholic drink (usually piscola or beer)
- Copucha = a piece of gossip
- Cuico = rich snob
- De repente = Sometimes
- Embarrarla = Screw it up
- Engrupir = to smooth talk
- Filo = Nevermind
- Flaite = Refers to people of lower classes, sometimes derogatory
- Fome = Boring, lame
- Guagua = Baby
- Guata = belly, stomach
- Harto = A lot
- Jote/Jotear = Guy constantly trying to hit on girls/to hit on a girl
- Lata/dar lata = Boring; Not wanting to do something
- Lanza = a thief that snatches someones purse, necklace or cellphone from its owner
- Luca = one thousand pesos CLP$1000
- Meter la pata = to put your foot in your mouth; to stuff something up
- Mula = fake; false
- Onda = "Deal", "story"
- Paco = carabinero (policemen)
- Pagar el pato = to pay the consequences
- Palta = Avocado
- Pega = Work
- Pelar = To gossip
- Penca = Sucky
- Pendejo = Child
- Pilucho = naked
- Piscola = pisco with coke
- Plata = money
- Po' = From "pues". Chileans tack this on to the end of almost every sentence. Sometimes it's reduced to just p' so, "sí" can be "sip"
- Pololo/Polola = boyfriend/girlfriend
- Poto = bum
- Pucho = a cigarrette
- Sapo = a noisy person
- Taco = traffic jam
- Tener mala pata = to be unlucky; to have bad luck
- Trago = to drink
- Tranqui = calm (down); don't worry
- Weón = Familiar term among friends (very informal/vulgar); can also be used with a negative connotation (sort of like "idiot").