6 Reasons to Study Abroad in Chile

September 28, 2017

Students seeking a fascinating and socially diverse region to pursue their educational goals may want to consider studying abroad in Chile. With metropolitan cities like Santiago and fabulous beach towns like Vina del Mar, Chile offers cultural sophistication, charming village communities and everything in between.

For a fantastic mix of history, whimsy and social progress, Valparaíso, Chile is the ideal study abroad destination. Often called the “San Francisco of South America” and affectionately known as “Valpo” for short, Valparaíso is a colorful (literally) coastal town filled with artists, students and free-thinkers. Pablo Neruda was inspired to compose an ode to this dockside city, celebrating its beauty, exciting chaos and overall strangeness.

Here are a few reasons why Valparaíso, Chile is a wonderful study abroad destination.

You can immerse yourself in regional, colloquial Spanish

Even if you’re academically fluent in Spanish, you probably still have much to learn about the regional conversational language. Chilean Spanish is famously difficult to understand for many Spanish-speakers, and students of Spanish dialects will have an excellent opportunity to speak and learn this colorful variation of the language.

You can enjoy a home-cooked meal

While there are many exceptional restaurants in Valparaíso, native Chileans tend to prefer the intimacy of home-cooked meals. If you make friends among the locals, you may be invited to partake in a meal prepared at home, generally at lunch time. In Chile, lunch is the main meal of the day – dinner is typically a light salad or a snack of bread, dips, vegetables and cheeses. Our program also offers a homestay option which allows you to live with a Chilean family.

You will be suprised by the local cuisine

Surprisingly to many Americans, Chilean food doesn’t typically contain chili peppers.Due to the many variations in climate, you’ll find that cuisine is quite mild and hearty in the colder regions (lots of casseroles and stews), and light and clean in the warmer areas (brothy seafood soups, grilled meats and raw preparations). If you’re a seafood lover, you won’t find better, fresher fish dishes anywhere in South America – simply prepared and often straight from the ocean.

You can explore and enjoy a spectacular natural environment

Chile is a gorgeous region, with a wide climate diversity and innumerable opportunities for natural exploration and open-air sports. From skiing in the Andes to surfing pretty much anywhere, Chile offers students abundant opportunities to frolic in the great outdoors. If you decide to study in Valparaíso, you will have access to fabulous beaches, horseback riding, hiking and climbing.

You will be able to dance the night away

Valparaíso is known throughout Chile for its nightlife. A bohemian region filled with unique clubs, bars and pubs, there is no shortage of places to meet locals for a drink (try the pisco sour) or to listen to live music – some of the country’s best jazz, cumbia, reggae, hip-hop, Afrobeat and salsa performers can be found in the local clubs. If you dance the tango, you’ll find an eager community that will be happy to spin you around the floor!

You will be able to experience a dynamic culture

For centuries, Valparaíso was Chile’s most active port; travelers from all over the world would stop over and even make Valparaíso their home. This confluence of cultures ultimately led to Valparaíso becoming one of Chile’s most diverse cities. One of Valparaíso’s most interesting characteristics is its street art. The proliferation of street art makes Valparaíso not only extremely colorful, but encourages a celebration of expression and individuality that makes the city and its people wholly unique.

You’ll be able to engage in a wide variety of student activities

Because Valparaíso is an enclave for celebrated artists, writers and academics, it’s no surprise that student life in Valparaíso is very politically and socially active. Students are encouraged to participate in rallies and influence legislation regarding civil rights and access to education.

Valparaíso is home to the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, one of Chile’s most respected and competitive academic institutions. If you’re thinking about studying abroad in Chile – and particularly if you are majoring in education, since Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso has a distinguished education studies program – you’ll definitely want to think about making Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso your host university.


ISEP has fostered a border-free education for students from all socio-economic, academic and geographic backgrounds since 1979. With more than 300 member institutions in over 50 countries, ISEP ensures student access to some of the finest international academic resources in the world. To learn more about ISEP Direct study abroad and student exchange program options, please visit our program finder page to learn more.

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