Program Highlight: Study Abroad in Santiago, Chile

Studying abroad in Santiago means enjoying the benefits of a large urban city that has preserved the hospitality and accessibility of a small community in its intimate neighborhoods. Santiago is one of the top five cities with the best quality of life in South America.

This metropolis is surrounded by unbelievable natural sites and environmental extremes to explore. Tempt your taste buds with Chile’s tasty cuisine, which incorporates seafood from its long-stretching coastline, fresh meats, and abundant fruits and vegetables. Enjoy traditional empanadas and avocado hot dogs, along with international restaurants all over the city. There is truly something for every student to enjoy in this city. In particular, students with an interest in Spanish language, Latin American culture and international studies will find a variety of unique courses and opportunities to explore Chile, Latin America, while working towards their degree. 

Academic Focus:

Spanish Language, Latin American Culture, Journalism, & International Studies

Host University:
Universidad Andres Bello

Universidad Andres Bello has approximately 45,000 students and is widely regarded as one of Chile’s most important private universities. USAC classes and the office are located at the downtown Santiago campus, conveniently situated along the subway line. It is in a traditional, peaceful, elegant neighborhood, which is quickly becoming a student hub. The mixture of the university activity with the daily life of Santiago’s citizens opens an attractive view and experience of this Latin American capital city with historical and modern faces.

USAC students take advantage of the basketball courts available at the university in Santiago, Chile during study abroad
Playing basketball in the school gym

Interesting fact:

Chile is home to the Andes Mountains with some of the world’s largest active volcanoes and Easter Island.

Best weekend travel destinations:

Santiago is surrounded by natural beauty and there are endless ways and to enjoy it from skiing in El Colorado to wine-tasting in Casablanca. Hike through the Andes or do a range of fun winter activities at Cajon del Maipo, a true heaven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Chile is home to some of the world’s most incredible national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Atacama Desert is one of the oldest, largest and driest deserts is the worlds and looks straight out of a movie scene. Torres del Paine National Park is one of the Eight Natural Wonders of the world and for good reason, the jade-green glacial pools and astounding peaks can’t be topped! While you have free weekends we encourage you to explore these beautiful places, but USAC resident staff also provide guided trips and tours to help you experience their beloved country. 

USAC students explore the Atacama Desert during their study abroad with USAC in Santiago, Chile
Exploring the Atacama Desert

Field trips (vary by term)

Vina Del Mar & Concón
The coastal city of Viña del Mar with its lovely gardens, parks, cliffs, and cold-water beaches, as well as Concón, are considered some of the most attractive cities in the country.

Ocoa Valley
Trek through the most important palm tree reserve in the country and discover the natural beauty of Ocoa Valley. The valley is full of biodiversity and was the source of much of Charles Darwin’s research work in South America.

USAC students in Ocoa Valley during a field trip with USAC
On a field trip to Ocoa Valley

Valparaiso
“Valpo” is one of Latin America’s most original cities with a colorful, bohemian vine and breathtaking architecture left from European immigration in the 19th century. Its transportation via “Elevators” on steep hillsides makes the city even more unique.

USAC students pose for a photo in Valparaiso, Chile during a study abroad field trip
There’s always time for a photo in front of the “We are Happies” stairs in Valparaiso

Pomaire
Known as one of the country’s most important craft centers for pottery, Pomaire is an urban and cultural synthesis of ancient indigenous communities.

Northern Chile Tour & Field Study
This tour includes excursions to the village of San Pedro; the oasis towns of Toconao; sites of native Atacama culture; guided excursions to the Moon Valley, Flamingo Lagoons in the salt flats, and the Andean Antiplain Lakes; a night astronomical session in the desert; an exploration of the Cactus Valley; and a refreshing visit to the Puritama thermal baths.

USAC students on the Northern Chile tour and field study during a study abroad in Santiago, Chile
Sand boarding during the tour and field study to Northern Chile

Southern Chile Tour & Field Study
This tour includes excursions to Puerto Montt and the fishing port of Angelmo; ferry crossing to Chiloe Island, the second largest island in South America; tours of the famed wooden churches of Chiloe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the Cucao National Park and the attractive Punihuil Natural Penguin Reserve; Puerto Varas;the Esmeralda Lake, the rapids of the Petrohue River; rain forest hikes in the Llanquihue Region; and fun zip lining on the Phillipi Hills.

USAC students take a boat ride during the Southern Chile tour as part of their study abroad in Santiago, Chile
Taking a boat ride during the Southern Chile tour and field study

What students have to say

“I would highly recommend studying abroad through USAC and if you are interested in Latin American politics, business or geography Chile is the place for you! Chile has so much to offer, you can visit the Pacific coast, the driest desert in the world, the Andes or Patagonia and the Chilean Antarctic. Spending time in Santiago, I was able to learn about Chile’s history and also learn about the Latin American region as a whole. I loved being their during the Fall semester, because I was able to participate in the Fiestas Patrias which are the independence celebrations in September. During my time there, I was also able to intern at a local nonprofit with USAC’s help and support in arranging it. One of my other favorite parts of my experience was living with a host family and being able to make connections with a local family.” -Emily

“I chose Chile because I wanted to discover and ultimately fall in love with a country I knew nothing about prior to my choosing to live and study there. The USAC Santiago program had all of the program aspects I was looking for: the ability to have all my classes in Spanish, the accessibility to traveling advice (and friends to travel with), and the option to live with a host family. I loved my professors (especially Señor Julián Gutiérrez); they made Spanish fun and surprisingly easier to learn. I loved my program director and advisors; they were so easy to talk to and always were down to talk and have fun. The friends I made are all super unique and amazing in their own ways (both local university students and the students sharing my foreign exchange experience in Santiago). But my host family was the best aspect of it all; they taught me to cook, corrected my Spanish, and accepted me as their own. That was definitely the best part of the entire thing.” – Bridget

“Santiago, Chile is an incredible location to study abroad. Full of history, beautiful architecture, and with its own unique culture, Santiago is perfect for immersing oneself in South America. As far as activities, there is next to nothing that Santiago–and especially Chile–cannot offer. Within the city, there are a plethora of museums, gorgeous parks, wonderful restaurants, scenic views, and other sources of entertainment. Outside the city, beautiful hikes, ocean views, and even skiing are but a weekend trip away.” – Seth

Additional articles about Chile

Looking Back on Five Months in Chile
I Never Want to Leave Santiago
Alumni Q&A: Emily – Santiago, Chile