Foreign exchange students are a unique blend of people. Yes, you’re in a different country than your own to study, but I think the most significant aspect of studying abroad is being social. Santiago is a difficult city to master in just a few months; however, with my tips, I am passing along some information that took me months to discover. Here are my suggestions to have the best time living it up in Santiago during the unique time of being a college student.
Think foreign exchange students from all over the world, all gathered together every Wednesday, and with a theme: there you have it, Miercoles Po! Ladies, good news: miércoles po is free for you to enter all night. To the guys studying abroad, make sure to arrive before midnight unless you want to pay a CLP 5,000 cover fee. The location for Miércoles Po typically changes week to week, so make sure to keep up with their Facebook page.
Santiago Exchange Network
Looking to take advantage of being in South America to travel? Make sure to check out Santiago Exchange Network. This company organizes group trips for foreign exchange students in Santiago. They take care of the flight, tours, and hostels, and all you have to worry about is showing up at the airport. The best part? All these excursions are at a reasonable price, even for college students who are studying abroad. Not only do they offer trips to places like Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Torres del Paine (Patagonia), San Pedro de Atacama, Uyuni, and Buenos Aires, they also put together really great parties. I’ve already traveled with this company to San Pedro de Atacama and was extremely impressed with their organization.
It’s pretty hard to survive in Santiago without at least conversational Spanish, so you better get to practicing! There are all kinds of language exchanges in Santiago, some free and some at a price. My favorite that I have attended thus far was at the Shamrock, an Irish pub in Providencia. Come every Wednesday at 8 pm (Address: Avenida Providencia 1100, Local 18).
Finding a Place to Live
If you’re looking for an apartment or a room in Santiago, I recommend joining the Facebook group Roommate and Flat Finder. This closed group has daily posts of people in Santiago, both looking for places to live as well as offering rooms. Make sure to state the neighborhood you’d like to live in and your price range. If you’re not having much luck and are willing to pay a realtor fee, I recommend Contact Chile. This company mainly offers apartments in Centro, Providencia, and Las Condes.
There are upsides and downsides to both of these options. If you want to rent an entire apartment, Contact Chile is probably the better route. However, Contact Chile does not allow the opportunity to view the apartment before moving in.
Are you feeling sick?
I recently found a great website called Lila’s List that has an extensive list of English-speaking doctors in Santiago. You can also find doctors that speak other languages such as German or French.
Still, have questions?
The best resource that I can give you for random questions about Santiago (everything from “How do I get a temporary visa?” to “which neighborhood should I live in?”) is the Gringos/students/foreigners in Chile Facebook group. I check this group daily to check out group trips being advertised, housing, meetups with other gringos in Santiago, and to help answer newcomers’ questions.