Life in Chile

I found being socail easy because the people are very welcoming and are generally curious about you. I would advise any AFSer in Chile to try as hard as they can to speak the language and to not be embarrassed about any mistakes. Khia from WA, Semester Program
It was difficult to adjust to the relaxed sense of time that Chileans have. Nothing ever seemed to get done on time, but it never seemed to matter, because whatever it was would get done.Khia from WA, Semester Program
The Chileans in my host community appreciated when I was open and sincere with them about my feelings, sometimes to an extent that would be considered too personal here in the US. If you are having a bad day, don't think you will be a burden if you express how you feel, your new friends will probably love a chance to support you.Jessica from WI, Semester Program
Chileans always greet each other individually with a kiss on the cheek or a handshake. They'll understand if you forget to do it at first, but if you keep forgetting for your whole stay you might offend someone. Don't worry, the people want to help.Toby from CA, Semester Program
It was difficult for me to adjust to school, in the US I am a very competitive student, this attitude was not right for my new school. My school / classmates in Chile focused more on positive human relations and enjoying life than completing an assignment on time. In the end, I learned that life is bigger than succeeding academically or economically.Jessica from WI, Semester Program
Do as much as possible at your school, and get involved in everything, even the stuff that sounds boring. It will get you interacting with more of your classmates and help you acclimate. Never turn down an offer to go out. Staying in your room / house is not the point of your trip.Adrian from MA, Semester Program
Chile is a really beautiful country. It is really easy to get around on the buses and exchange students should try to take advantage of that.Miriam from MN, Semester Program
If you’re going anywhere in the mid to south region it’s going to be cold. There is no central heating in the houses, its all fireplaces and gas heaters! Also there is no heat in school. Glen from WA, Semester Program
Chilean people are very friendly. They love talking about the slang from their country. They will call you "gringo", which it is not an insult, but a term of endearment there. Nicole from CA, Summer Homestay Program
It was difficult to adjust to the rules of my host family being that they were very different from the ones in my natural family, but the friends and family I gained there are life-long. Go into it with an open mind, and with very few expectationsRachael from WI, Semester Program
Chile has a really strong respect system for adults and older individuals.Alexander from NY, Year Program

Digging Deeper

LGBTQ Resources (Diversity)Language Resources
Cultural Resources
News and Media
Movies and Documentaries
  • Machuca (2004)
  • Violeta Went to Heaven (2011)
  • The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
  • Soccer Stories (1997)
  • My Best Enemy (2005)
  • Salvador Allende (2004)
  • La Batalla de Chile (1975)
  • Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World (BBC 2014)
  • Voice of the Mapuche (2009)
Books
  • A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet
  • Chile - Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture
  • The Chilean Kitchen
  • The House of Spirits
  • City of the Beasts
  • The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems
  • Myths, Monsters & Love From The South of Chile
LGBTQ Resources (Diversity) Heritage and Ethnicity Resources (Diversity)
Note: The links and resources listed in "Digging Deeper" have been provided to AFS by people involved with our organization, including alumni members, volunteers, etc. AFS has not reviewed the resources in their entirety and presents them "as is" for your own information. As such, the sites, publications, films, etc. do not necessarily reflect the approval of nor the views, opinions, and/or values of AFS.