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Out of all countries, why did you pick Chile?

So many people here have asked me “out of all countries why did you pick Chile lol?”, and I never really know how to answer. To be honest I kind of closed my eyes and picked somewhere on the map. But woww am I glad I picked this country. I can’t even explain what an amazing experience it has been so far. I’ve been gone for 4.5 months now and it has been the best 4.5 month of my life, no debate.

Sand dunes of Huacachina in Peru

Previous to starting my semester in Viña del Mar, I backpacked for 6 weeks through Peru, Bolivia and the north of Chile. Amazing, amazing, amazing. If you decide to come to Chile for an exchange I highlyyy recommend exploring the surrounding countries, there is so much natural beauty and culture to discover.

The pictures below are a street in Cusco Peru, me doing a hike up a canyon in Arequipa Peru and my friend taking a photo of the sun in the salt flats of Bolivia.

I am now in my last month of my exchange semester in the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. When I picked this university I really had no idea what my experience would be like. Three month into my studies I can say it has been quite a good one. The university itself is a really cool building with an amazing view of the city. It has really great facilities, a nice gym you can use for free and a wide variety of sports groups and clubs you can be a part of. There are only around two- thousand students which gives the feeling of being in a little community where everyone seems to know everyone. In a way it feels a bit like high school where everyone just hangs together during class breaks on the grass or eating lunch outside the canteen.

I am studying 5 subjects here; Spanish Grammar, Business in Spanish, Chilean Culture in Spanish, Latin American Culture and Identity and Strategic Leadership. They are all subjects specially designed for exchange students. This means all of my classes are full of other students from all over the world. Although this means I don’t get to be in class with Chileans, it has enabled me to make amazing friendships with some really cool people who also came with an open mind, wanting to experience new things, grow, learn and travel.

In terms of the study load, it is pretty laid back. I have one class of 2 hours for each subject a week and only come in to uni Mondays and Tuesdays.  The classes are usually a combination of lectures and interactive work either with the whole class involved or within groups.  The professors are all really nice, encouraging and accommodating to our desires to travel and experience the culture. I think the best part of this exchange for me has been the opportunity to learn so much about Chile’s history and culture not only through my classes but also traveling to many different cities with the friends I’ve made.

Some highlights have been:

  • Exploring Valparaiso (left) which is about a 15 minutes bus ride from Viña del Mar.
  • Visiting the south of Chile with a solid group of exchange friends.
  • Camping in the north with some Chileans, Spaniards and a girl from the Netherlands.
  • Partying hard and often in Valparaiso.
  • Volunteering and staying for free in a hostel in a beach town for 2 weeks.
  • Just chillin with some cool people pretty much all day everyday.

Moral of the story is… I could not be more happy that I chose Chile to study in. It’s going to be really hard to leave this lifestyle of constant adventure and memory making with such incredible people. Probably going to shed a few tears when I leave but ultimately the pain will be worth it in exchange for a semester of pure legendaryness.

Sofia Viney

Bachelor of Communications (Journalism, Digital and Social Media)

Global Exchange student

Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Chile

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