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7 Must-Have Items to Study Abroad in Chile

March 14, 2016

ISEP student Melissa O. is a part of ISEP Voices Spring 2016. She is a Spanish education major from University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, and is currently studying abroad at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso in Chile.

Preparing to embark on your study abroad endeavor is no easy task. Leading up to the days before leaving for Chile, I was researching everything. What do they wear there? What will I need? What should I leave behind? I found that there were several resources for those traveling to popular destinations, but I came across practically no articles or tips for those traveling to Chile. I began to feel a bit frustrated about the lack of information related to Chile or other South American countries. Now that I am here myself, I want to be able to share what I have learned thus far in order to minimize any stress or frustration future travelers to Chile may feel. Here are seven items that I am extremely thankful I brought with me on this trip!

1. Satchel

Satchel bag to carry
Satchel bag to carry

Like mine? Purchase your own here.

I use mine every single day. When searching for a purse to travel with, make sure that there are several different compartments and make sure at least one of those has a zipper. In Valparaíso, pick-pocketing is somewhat common, especially if thieves can see that your valuables are easily accessible to them. It is important to keep your valuables zippered up tight and right next to you when you need to bring them out with you!

Pro-Tip: Fanny packs are extremely popular amongst the locals here, both men and women. Their design adds an extra level of safety, so I would suggest checking them out!

2. Buff

Buff brand headband
Buff brand headband

Choose from different styles and prints here.

While abroad, your schedule is going to change drastically from your schedule at home. You will be busy exploring, attending school and checking out the night life. You aren’t always going to have time to shower daily or fix your hair just right. My buff is my savior on mornings when my hair is wild as can be due to the previous day’s activities. My buff makes me look somewhat put together, and it only takes me 0.3 seconds to throw it on!

3. Zip-Up

Zip up jacket
Zip up jacket

I think I’ve worn my zip-up sweatshirt every day since I’ve been here. It is great! In Chile, the weather changes drastically within one day. In the mornings it can be cloudy and chilled, and by the afternoon there is nothing but sun in the sky and it can get quite warm. With my trusty zip-up, I’m able to layer my outfits each morning to keep at a comfortable temperature all day!

4. Sunscreen

Sunscreen bottle
Sunscreen bottle

Sunscreen is ridiculously overpriced here in Chile. Bring one small bottle of your own if you’re going to be here in the summer months (December-March), or if you’re planning on traveling to the northern part of the country.

5. Chacos

Chaos shoes for lots of walking
Chaos shoes for lots of walking

Purchase your own pair here.

Although Chacos scream “traveler” and not “local Chilean,” I continue to wear mine almost daily. I could walk miles and miles in my Chacos and they’re perfect for any situation or terrain!

  1. Water bottle
Reusable water bottle
Reusable water bottle

Luckily, the tap water in Chile is safe to drink. Pack a refillable water bottle to save a lot of money throughout your trip, as bottled water is usually over USD $1.00.

  1. Coin purse
Coin purse for money
Coin purse for money

Coins, unlike in the United States, are very useful here! One coin can be used as your bus fare for that day, so it’s important to organize your coins and have them be easily accessible instead of just thrown into the bottom of your bag. I suggest getting a coin purse to keep your bag organized! By actually using the coins you collect, you will save yourself a lot of money once your time abroad is over.

Note: ISEP does not endorse any of these specific products.

*Are you ready for your own adventure? See all of your study abroad options on the ISEP website.

Want to see more from our ISEP bloggers? Learn more about our ISEP Voices Spring 2016 group.*

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