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Study Abroad in Chile

While attending high school in Chile you can explore the cosmopolitan capital of Santiago, the majestic Andes Mountains, the world’s driest desert in the North, or the untamed wilderness of Patagonia in the South. But it’s also a haven for thinking and learning—as Nobel-prize Chilean poet Pablo Neruda said, the country is “made for poets.” This is your chance to discover beautiful natural landscapes in a place that’s also bound to educate and inspire. Experience all that Chile has to offer by living with a host family and attending a local high school for a year or semester. You’ll get to immerse yourself in everyday culture while enjoying the adventure of a lifetime!

Things to Know About Chile

Chileans tend to be proud of their country’s achievements. They come from a culture that celebrates customs like La Minga in the island of Chiloé, when friends and neighbors help move wooden houses or churches from one location to another, and then celebrate afterward with food and drink. Since many Chileans like to linger with family and friends, punctuality isn’t especially important. In fact, it’s common to be around 30 minutes late to a social event. You can expect to be greeted with an abrazo; this includes a handshake and a hug, followed by a kiss on the right cheek for women and family.

What's included in your experience

  • Airfare


Graduates Eligible? No, participants cannot have graduated high school prior to the start of the program
Minimum GPA 2.5
Age Range
15yrs, 6 months
17yrs, 0 months at start of program
Language Skills Preferred, but not required
COVID-19 Vaccine Not required

Based on differences in culture, strict government regulation of medications, and other local customs, it has been our experience that not all of our international AFS partners are able to support students with certain diagnoses, including but not limited to, severe allergies, strict dietary restrictions, ADD/ADHD, and those currently taking or who have taken psychotropic medications and/or received counseling for mental/psychological issues within the past year. If this applies to you, please get in touch with an AFS Study Abroad Specialist early so that we can determine the right experience for you.

Your Journey to Chile

Visa Information

AFS will provide visa guidance and support documents (if applicable). Visa processes can be lengthy and complex; you may be required to travel long distances to apply for the visa if there is not an embassy, consulate, etc. close to your home. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond a return date from your host country. We urge you to apply for or renew your passport as soon as possible if applying to an AFS program. We recommend not taking any trips (domestically or internationally) within 2 months prior to your AFS program as it may interfere with the visa application process and result in a late program start date.

Travel & Orientation

In the months before your departure, AFSers have the opportunity to participate in various preparatory activities, including an online Student Learning Journey, which is an interactive course that brings AFSers from around the world together to learn how to develop essential global skills, intercultural communication techniques, and practice social impact, maximizing the outcomes of the AFS learning experience.

Also during this time, AFS-USA will coordinate and share your international travel with you.You will need to coordinate your own travel to the point of international departure. From there, your journey in Chile will begin when you land, where you’ll be met by staff and volunteers…as well as your fellow AFSers from around the world! Shortly after arrival, you will attend an arrival orientation and get a crash course on Chilean culture, living with a host family, safety, and support structures.


Your Accommodations

AFSers have lived all throughout Chile, but most host families are located in or near urban areas. Your host family will likely be friendly and warm, even if they’re a bit reserved when you first meet them – that’s pretty typical in Chilean culture.

Chiliean Host Family

Meeting your Chilean Host Family

Chilean families are some of the smallest in Latin America, with most parents having one or two children. Even so, family time is very important, and Sunday is usually set aside as a day for families to gather together and share a meal. Many families have nanas or empleadas who work aslive-in nannies or maids, but you can still expect to help your host parents around the house.


Daily Life

Teenage Life in Chile

Teenagers in Chile generally have plenty of time for friends and extracurricular activities. They like to hang out in the town square, go to parties, and drink coffee or maté in the local café. Your Chilean friends will probably follow the national soccer team closely, since futból is the country’s favorite sport. When La Roja (“the red one”) wins, often the entire town goes out into the streets to celebrate.  Besides soccer, basketball, swimming, tennis, and cycling are also popular. Many teenagers like to watch TV as well, especially Mexican, Argentine, Brazilian, and Chilean soap operas. You and your friends may have the opportunity to attend one of Chile’s famous fondas (fairs), where you can taste traditional food and dance to live music late into the night.


Food you’ll encounter

You’ll find that most Chilean food involves fish, chicken, beef, corn, potatoes, beans, and eggs. Some popular dishes are empanadas de horno (turnovers with beef, hard-boiled eggs, onions, olives, and raisins), pastel de choclo (a baked meal of beef, chicken, onions, corn, eggs, and spices), cazuela de ave (chicken soup), ensalada chilena (cold tomato-and-onion salad), and porotos granados (butter-bean soup). Manjar, which is made by boiling a can of sweet condensed milk for hours, is a favorite spread that’s often used for baking. For a special treat on a rainy day, you can try sopaipillas, which are made with deep-fried pumpkin dough and sugar. Along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, another important Chilean meal is called onces, when you snack on tea and small sandwiches around 5 or 6 pm.

Chiliean High School

Your High School in Chile

You’ll most likely attend a private high school. The academic year starts in early March and lasts until mid-December, with a two-week winter vacation in June or July. Most schools have classes Monday through Friday, though you may have some on Saturday morning as well. Your typical school day will begin around 8 am and end between 4 and 6 pm. Extracurricular activities are available in schools, and you are encouraged to participate in sports, art, and volunteer projects with your classmates.

What's Included

  • 75+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 32,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations with a vetted host family
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • School enrollment fees
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • Free Language Proficiency Testing: after your immersive study abroad experience, take an AAPPL (ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages) language proficiency test to be able to add your language skills to your resume or possibly your high school transcript!
  • Orientations and intercultural education before and during your program
  • International secondary medical travel coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people

Scholarships and Aid

We believe that studying abroad should not be contingent on personal finances. When you apply, we work with you to understand your family’s needs and match you with available scholarships and aid. 100% of accepted applicants with demonstrated need receive funds.

Learn More

Visa Info

Do I need a visa/residence permit for Chile? YES. Visa
How do I apply for the visa? (By mail, In-person, In host country) In-person
Visa/Residence Permit Process Difficulty Level (Easy, Average, Complex) Complex
Estimated Visa/Residence Permit Expenses
($ – $$$)
Frequently Asked Visa Questions Visit our general visa FAQ page for more information.

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one. When you return home from your study abroad in Chile, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.

That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning. It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Chile.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.