Summer Homestay Program — 2019
Jun 11-14, 2019 → Aug 8-11, 2019
With its cosmopolitan cities, majestic mountains, and untamed wilderness, Chile is an ideal place to breathe new life into your summer vacation. By participating in this seven-week program, you’ll be able to live with a host family and engage in a unique cultural exchange. You can spend your days exploring the community, learning about local customs, and joining in daily activities. You’ll also have the opportunity to attend a Chilean high school for two to five weeks. Chile is famous for its traditional asados,or barbecues, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to enjoy these festive get-togethers with your host family and friends.
You can expect your host family to greet you with an abrazo; this includes a handshake and a hug, sometimes followed by a kiss on the right cheek. Chileans like to linger with family and friends, so punctuality isn’t especially important. In fact, it’s common to be around 30 minutes late for social events. Chileans tend to be proud of their country’s achievements, and rightly so, since they have produced Nobel Prize-winning poets like Pablo Neruda as well as valued traditions like La Minga in the island of Chiloé, when friends and neighbors band together to move wooden houses and churches from one location to another.
Your journey will begin in New York or Miami, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the US. Together you’ll attend an overnight orientation and get a crash course on Chilean language and culture. Then you’ll travel as a group to Santiago where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers.
Before long you’ll be ready to head to your new community. On the way you might pass thick forests, colorful beaches, or the majestic Andes Mountains. As you travel through city streets, you’re bound to smell the delicious flavors of empanadas and grilled meats being prepared by street vendors. No matter where you are, you’ll get a sense of the diversity of Chilean culture, from the textiles and pottery of the indigenous Mapuche people, to music and art influenced by the country’s European heritage.
You could live anywhere throughout Chile, but most host families are located in or near urban areas. If your family is like most in Chile, they’ll be friendly and warm, even if they’re a bit reserved when you first meet them.
Chilean families tend to be small by Latin American standards, with most parents having one or two children. Family time is important, with Sunday usually set aside as a day to gather together and share a meal. Even though your host family might have a nana or empleada (a live-in nanny or maid), you can still expect to help out around the house.See where past AFSers have lived
Teenagers in Chile like to hang out in the town square, go to parties, and drink coffee or maté in the local café. You’ll find that people 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 biking are also popular. Many teenagers like to watch TV as well, especially Mexican, Argentine, Brazilian, and Chilean soap operas. You and your friends might 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.
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.
You'll most likely attend a private high school. This immersion experience will last for two to five weeks, depending on where you live. 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 generally offered free of charge, so you may be able to participate in sports, art, and volunteer projects with your Chilean classmates.
"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, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.