Approx. Time Difference
Mar–Oct: + 4 hours
+3 hours (Chile)
Oct–Mar: + 5 hours
This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, health and safety, finances, health and safety, and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Local UCEAP Support
Campus EAP Office
The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.
UCEAP Systemwide Office
The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Staff advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).
Student Finance Accountant
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583
Academic oversight of the Human Rights and Cultural Memory program is provided by UC faculty member Professor Cristián Ricci from the UC Merced School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. Professor Ricci is resident UCEAP Faculty Director in Santiago, Chile and will be available by phone or e-mail.
Cristián Ricci, UCEAP Faculty Director
Study Center Phone (calling from Argentina): 00-56-2-354-5160
Study Center Phone (calling from Chile): (56-2) 354-5160
Study Centers Abroad
UCEAP has partnered with InSitu to provide all logistical services and support to participants in the Human Rights and Cultural Memory program while in Buenos Aires. Classes will be held at Torcuato Di Tella University (UTDT), located in the Belgrano neighborhood of Buenos Aires.
4th Floor, 25 De Mayo 457
Fadwa Kingsbury, Program Coordinator and 24-hour Contact
Phone: +54 9 11 6975 7142 (from US)
15 6975 7142 (from Argentina)
UCEAP in Santiago is administered on site by UC faculty member Professor Cristián Ricci from the UC Merced School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. Professor Ricci and the Study Center staff will be available to advise you on academic matters, assist with housing, and provide information on cultural events during your time in Santiago.
Programa Universidad de California PUC-CHILE
Ave. Jaime Guzmán 3300
Providencia Santiago, Chile
Cristián Ricci, UCEAP Faculty Director
Study Center Phone (calling from Chile): (56-2) 354-5160
Phone Number Codes
U.S. international code: 011 (dial this to call from the U.S.)
Argentina country code: 54
Buenos Aires city code: 11
Chile country code: 56
Santiago city code: 2
Approximate Time Difference
March–October: add 4 hours (Argentina), add 3 hours (Chile)
October–March: add 5 hours
Review the program calendar often. Dates are posted as they become available.
UCEAP’s Human Rights and Cultural Memory program will offer you the opportunity to learn first hand how people in the Southern Cone think about human rights, how they remember past abuses of their rights, and how they have reconstructed their cultures and societies and rebuilt their democracies. In addition, you will be able to compare the social and cultural responses of two different countries.
The program is coordinated by the UCEAP Faculty Director from Santiago, and classes are offered by two different universities. In Buenos Aires, the Torcuato Di Tella University (UTDT) a small private university, hosts the program. In Santiago, the Universidad Alberto Hurtado (UAH), a small urban campus founded by the Jesuit Order, hosts the program.
The program begins in Buenos Aires with a week of intensive Spanish language instruction and practice. There will be ongoing review sessions during the remainder of the program's first session, but the first week will provide the majority of your classroom opportunities to improve your Spanish. This week-long instruction will also incorporate important orientation activities and vocabulary exercises specific to the topics that you will be studying. As a result, all students of all Spanish levels are required to attend this first week of the program. No exceptions.
The following six weeks of the program will be dedicated to two courses taught in English and addressing the program themes. Both of these courses will be supplemented by visits to important memorial sites, interviews with survivors and families of the Dirty War, viewing of several important films, and legal proceedings addressing abuses of human rights.
There will be a one-week break at the end of the first session during which you will have free time to travel to other cities, countries, or arrive early for additional exploration of Santiago. Please note that housing is not provided during break. You will need to manage your luggage during this time. No storage is provided. You will need to arrive in your second city by the required time for the second half of this program.
The second session of the program begins with a short orientation in Santiago, in order that you may adjust to your new surroundings. Again, there will be two courses instructed in English that will also visit memorial sites, interact with a variety of community organizations and human rights activists, as well as opportunities to meet with student counterparts at the UAH.
The instructional offerings have been carefully organized to complement each other and provide a broad range of considerations. You will be asked to analyze not only the ways that past constructions of human rights have influenced current thinking on the rights of such groups as women, indigenous populations and students, but also the ways that human rights connect to topics such as development, poverty and democracy.
The courses for this program have been developed following extensive collaboration with UC faculty and staff in UCEAP's systemwide office. As such, they will require a workload similar to that of regular UC courses and provide assessment similar to UC courses. Instruction should be fast-paced and very interactive.
Both of the host universities came into being in the 1990s, largely as a response to the enormous transformations that both nations were undergoing in the efforts to return to a more civil society and democratic process. In both cases, the dedication to the subject matter and the desire to engage students should provide very interesting class discussions and a willingness to respond to the ideas and questions that you may bring with you.
During the first session in Buenos Aires, there will be some opportunities to meet with other students, with many other options for cultural interaction during the field trips. During the second session in Santiago, you will attend class on the central campus of the UAH and will be able to interact with students there, many of whom will be very interested to hear your thoughts about the Program.
The program begins with intensive Spanish language instruction worth 3 UC quarter units (equivalent to 2 semester units) of UC credit.
All four of the remaining content courses are worth 4.5 UC quarter units (equivalent to 3 semester units) of UC credit. Classes are typically held Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and film screenings will also take place during these hours. Additional activities and day trips may be scheduled on some weekends.
The content courses in Buenos Aires are:
- Human Rights and Cultural Production in Argentina (cross-listed under Latin American Studies, Film and Media Studies, Sociology and Legal Studies)
- Human Rights and Memory in Argentina (cross-listed under Political Science and Sociology)
The content courses in Santiago are:
- Human Rights, Poverty, and Development in Chile (cross-listed under Latin American Studies, Legal Studies and Political Science)
- Memory and Human Rights: Chilean Literature, Film and Media (cross-listed under Latin American Studies, Comparative Literature, Film and Media Studies, and Sociology)
The majority of reading assignments for the courses will be made available in a photocopied reader.
All courses will be pre-populated into your MyEAP Study List before your arrival and you will be expected to confirm your subject area selections and Spanish language level once you are on-site. The UCEAP Academic Specialist or the Program Advisor in California will send instructions on the UC registration process to the email address listed in your MyEAP account. Be sure that you read and respond to all e-mails regarding the registration process.
It is important that you meet all deadlines provided for submitting your registration. The information that appears on your MyEAP Study List (subject areas, grade options and units) is what will appear on your official UC transcript.
Questions about UC registration of courses, UC units, and related advising concerns may be directed to either the UCEAP Academic Specialist or the Program Advisor. See the "Your UCEAP Network" section above for contact information.
All students complete a full-time course of study while abroad.
You will be enrolled in five courses to meet the program requirement of 21 quarter units (equivalent to 14 semester units) of UC credit.
- You may select one content course for pass/no pass. Additionally, you may opt to take the Spanish course for pass/no pass credit.
- You must take all courses for their maximum unit value -- the variable unit option is not available on this program.
Be advised that the number to letter grade conversion scale suggested by the host universities is not the same scale used by UCEAP.
Your grades will be forwarded directly to the UCEAP Systemwide Office where they will be reviewed by the faculty director and translated to UC letter grades before being forwarded to your home UC campus.
Grades for this program should be available by mid- to late-January.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Planning for Back-to-Back Programs
It is sometimes possible to participate in two different UCEAP options consecutively. For example, after the Human Rights and Cultural Memory program, you might choose to stay in South America for the Chilean Universities spring term or to learn Spanish in the Spanish Intensive Language program in Buenos Aires.
Participation in back-to-back programs requires an exceptional level of organization and maturity. You must be able to plan in advance and prepare for the second program while completing the first. Decide early if you would like to participate in a second program in order to complete necessary requirements while still at your UC campus.
To participate in a program immediately following the Human Rights and Cultural Memory program, you must notify your Campus EAP Advisor of your intentions and submit a separate application (by the campus deadline) and go through the regular UCEAP selection process for each program. You will also need to work hard during your semester in Argentina and Chile to maintain your eligibility for the second program.
Make plans in advance to prepare for the second program while completing the first. You may be required to complete and submit paperwork to various offices in the U.S. while you are abroad, and you may need to make special arrangements in order to obtain the visa for the second program. Despite the extra work involved, many students successfully participate in two different UCEAP options.
Get acquainted with your new host cities, countries, and cultures before you leave California. Travel guides and travel-related websites, such as Lonely Planet
and Rough Guide
, are excellent resources.
Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals. Take a look at one of Argentina’s main newspapers, Clarín
; or, for a different perspective, check out Página12
. A couple of Chile’s major newspapers can also be accessed online: El Mercurio
and La Tercera
You will need to understand the local culture and history. Get a head start by checking out the following sources before the program.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Once you arrive in Buenos Aires, all logistics for the first session of the program will be coordinated by InSitu staff. In addition to what is mentioned here, official arrival instructions are found in your UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist.
Plan on arriving in the morning at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (also known as Ezeiza International Airport). Students who arrive to Ezeiza on the arrival date and who signed up in advance for one of the assigned transfers will be met by InSitu staff and transferred to the hotel. If you would like to arrange your own transfer from the airport, do not hail a taxi in front of the airport. Safe options include hiring a taxi or car service (remis) from inside the airport--there are stands both before exiting customs and after. You can also use the company Manuel Tienda Leon, located in Terminal A as you exit customs, which has English-speaking staff and set prices. You can either take a private bus to Terminal Madero (downtown) and a short taxi ride to the hotel from there, or you can take a private car directly to the hotel.
Participation in all orientation activities is mandatory for all students. The most important part of the Orientation will be the academic overview provided by UCEAP Faculty Director Cristian Ricci. During his talk you will learn about the dynamics of the courses and related program features. He will answer any questions that you have about both sessions of the program.
Also during orientation, InSitu staff will review all practical components of the first program session in Buenos Aires, including program calendar, student services, housing, computer access, health, safety, emergencies, money and banking, communication, and public transportation.
Travel to Your Host Country
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
You are responsible for reserving and purchasing your own plane ticket to Buenos Aires (even if you are on full financial aid). Please wait to purchase your flight until the Arrival Instructions have been posted in your Pre-Departure Checklist.
You must participate in the required orientation, even if you arrive early. Failure to participate in the orientation may result in dismissal from the program.
There will be about one week between the end of your classes in Buenos Aires and the start of your classes in Santiago. During that time, you are responsible for your transportation from Buenos Aires to Santiago. Your UCEAP student budget for the program includes the cost of a flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago, but there are also buses that are available for transportation between the two cities.
- Arrive at the airport three hours before departure. Confirm your flight at least one week before the end of the program to learn of possible flight changes.
- When traveling, always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in checked luggage.
- Luggage restrictions vary by airline. Check with your airline(s) directly to learn about luggage rules and restrictions.
Financial Aid Students
Your financial aid package is calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
Due to the limited duration of the program time in both Argentina and Chile, U.S. citizens are not required to have an Argentine* or Chilean Visa for this program. *U.S. citizens no longer need to pay a reciprocity fee; however, this may change in the coming months so it would be important to pay close attention to announcements sent by UCEAP.
Upon arrival in Argentina, you are granted a 90-day tourist visa for the duration of the Buenos Aires portion of the program.
Non-U.S. citizens should contact the Consulate of Argentina and the Consulate of Chile before traveling abroad to see if there are additional entry requirements.
Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students
Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.
If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at https://law.ucdavis.edu/uc-undocumented/
Beware that some airlines may require proof of a return ticket prior to allowing you to board for departure.
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
When traveling, always carry your passport, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in checked luggage. Leave extra credit cards in a safe place at your homestay or hostel and only carry what is necessary.
Do not ask others to carry any items abroad for you (laptop, camera, extra bags, etc.) and do not volunteer to do so for others. Airlines may not allow you to take them or customs abroad may charge you a high duty tax. This is particularly a concern with electronic goods.
What to Bring
Remember to pack any important medication or documents, such as:
- Passport (valid for at least 6 months after your program end date)
- Passport copy
- Vaccination record
- Picture identification
- Insurance card
- ATM card(s), credit cards, and other financial documents
It is not necessary to bring towels or sheets. All sheets, towels, blankets, and other linens will be provided for you.
A laptop computer is not required for the program, but is recommended. All homestays include internet access, but they may not have WiFi. WiFi is available at many cafes and restraurants throughout both cities.
Other items that can be expensive in Argentina and Chile and you may want to consider bringing from the U.S. are:
- Portable battery operated smoke alarm for use in your lodging
- Contact solution
- Feminine products
- Chargers and accessories for any electronics you plan on bringing
- Hot sauce
- Comfortable shoes
- Water bottle
- Backpack for traveling
- Lightweight gift for hosts (suggestions: T-shirts with city, state or campus logos; UC pens or decals; baseball caps; California pistachios or almonds; or California postcards, posters, or scenic calendars)
The seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere. While packing, keep in mind that the weather will be the opposite of what you are used to in the Northern Hemisphere. There are a few weeks in the winter where you will need a winter coat and perhaps a scarf, hat, and gloves. The Argentine winter, which lasts from June to August, usually has a temperature range of 35-60º F. You will be arriving in Chile at the end of their winter so temperatures will begin to be warmer and may be as high as the 90's towards the end of November.
Voltage in Argentina and Chile is 220V, as opposed to the 110V used in the U.S. Check the voltage of anything electrical from the U.S. before plugging it into an outlet. You can buy converters for electrical appliances in Argentina, Chile or in the U.S. Most laptops now have their own converters, so you may only need a plug adapter. For smaller, inexpensive appliances (e.g., hair dryers or electric shavers), it is probably easiest to buy the appliance abroad rather than purchase a converter.
Customs officials may try to charge an import tax for any electrical items brought into Argentina; however, if you indicate that they are personal items, the charge may be waived. Customs officials may list the items in your passport, which will obligate you to take the same items out of the country when you leave.
Luggage restrictions vary by airline and most carriers have weight restrictions. Check with your airline about such restrictions.
Identify luggage on both the inside and outside with your name, home address, and destination. If luggage is lost or damaged, or if items are missing after being handled by the airline, immediately file a claim with the airline. Airlines differ regarding coverage, but they generally provide some sort of compensation. If luggage is stolen or tampered with (but it has nothing to do with the airline), file a police report immediately. To avoid theft, never leave your luggage unattended.
Insurance for Personal Possessions
Consider having additional protection for your property. In spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
UCEAP Travel Insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage. UCEAP strongly recommends that you examine the details of the UCEAP Travel Insurance benefits and purchase additional property insurance coverage, especially to protect high cost items such as laptop computers, Smartphones, tablets, and other valuables. Review the policy carefully before departure and determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling because most theft occurs in the airport or while moving into housing. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and going to questionable parts of the city, especially at night or when alone. Minimize your vulnerability by staying in control of your drinking and your behavior. Do not invite casual acquaintances or strangers home.
Beware that some airlines may require proof of a return ticket prior to allowing you to board for departure.
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
- Contact information for finance questions
- How to estimate the cost of your program
- Budget instructions and information
- Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
- UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
- Banking before and after arrival
- Fees and penalties
- Loan information
- How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
- Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget
. Program fees are subject to change.
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
- Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
- Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
- Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:
If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions
Get acquainted with how to handle your finances abroad before you go; the more you know now, the easier life will be when you get to Buenos Aires and Santiago.
- It is not possible to cash checks from U.S. banks in Argentina or Chile.
- You are strongly encouraged to do your banking online while abroad.
- Take a small amount of extra money with you to Argentina (equivalent to U.S. $50 to $100 in Argentine pesos). This provides an opportunity to become familiar with the currency, and the funds will be needed upon arrival for snacks, transportation, tips, and unexpected purchases. You can arrange with a U.S. bank to purchase Argentine pesos; the process may take a week or more.
- You can exchange money at the airport once abroad; however, exchange rates may be unfavorable and an exchange office may not be open at the time of arrival. In Buenos Aires, the best exchange rates will be obtained with US dollars.
The best way to obtain money abroad is by using an ATM card. ATM cards are widely accepted in both Argentina and Chile and will allow you to easily obtain cash, make deposits and transfers, and verify account balances. Check with your bank in the U.S. to make sure you can use an ATM to access funds while in Argentina and Chile, what fees may be charged, and what your limit is for the amount of cash you can withdraw per day.
Before you leave the U.S., make sure to obtain a personal identification number (PIN) for your ATM card. Your PIN should be a four-digit number that does not begin with a zero. Notify your bank that you will be spending time abroad so that they will not freeze your account if they detect transactions outside of your normal geographic region.
Credit cards, particularly those that allow users to withdraw cash are very useful in Argentina and Chile. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted in both countries.
As a general rule, always have at least two (or more) ways to access money while abroad. Never leave home without access to funds.
Computer Access & Use
You are encouraged to bring your own laptop if possible, although it is not essential.
In Argentina, most students use Internet cafés, or locutorios, for their computer needs. WiFi is available in many locations throughout Buenos Aires, but may not be available at your accomodation. Internet should cost between ARG $3-5 per hour at a locutorio. To ask for a computer, request una maquina (a machine).
In Chile, Internet cafés are readily available around the city and provide efficient access to the Internet. If you bring your own laptop, you can reduce online charges by downloading e-mail to a flash drive at an Internet cafe and reading it offline on the laptop.
Helpful hint: to get the "@" sign, hold down the "Alt Gr" key while pressing the "2" key or hold down the "Alt" key while pressing the number "64".
Approximate time difference between California and Argentina: March--October +4 hours
Approximate time difference between California and Chile: October--March +5 hours
Students are required to have a cell phone with a local number while in Buenos Aires and Santiago. When you arrive in each country, you can purchase a local SIM card for a small fee that will provide you with a local number. You are responsible for bringing an unlocked cell phone or purchaing a cell phone once in Argentina. If you decide to use a local cell phone, you can put credit on the phone from most kioscos (magazine/news stand) or from a cell phone service provider's office. Most kioscos will give you credit in the moment with a "recarga virtual”, while others sell "tarjetas de recarga" in various amounts that you can use to add credit to your phone line. The other option is to bring an unlocked cell phone with you to Argentina which will be able to use the Argentine and Chilean SIM card. Contact your cell phone provider prior to your departure to request the unlocking service.
provides international cell phones and SIM cards to students traveling and studying abroad. You can receive your phone and number before you leave the U.S. and have a means of inexpensive communication while abroad. Data plans are also available.
In Buenos Aires, it costs approximately ARG $1 to send a text message and approximately ARG $3.50 per minute for phone calls. To have data service on a smart phone it is around ARG $3.10 per day. If you are making a phone call while outside Buenos Aires (even to another Buenos Aires number), you will be charged a roaming rate, and you must dial the city code because you are out of your service area. Most locals communicate through cell phone text messages or use free texting apps like Whatsapp and rarely make long phone calls since it can be more expensive. Using your cell phone to make or receive international calls is also expensive, so it is recommended to use Skype
or to make a call at a locutorio
You can purchase an international calling card (tarjeta telefónica prepaga) at any kiosco in Buenos Aires or newspaper kiosk in Santiago. The best cards for international calls are Llamada Directa Internacional or Hablemás.
Almost all cell phones in Argentina operate with a CPP (calling party pays) system, meaning that, generally, whoever initiates the call pays for it. Keep in mind an important exception to this rule: When you receive a call that is made from a payphone, a locutorio, or a private number from the U.S., your cell phone will be billed for part of the airtime (you can identify most calls as cell phone numbers if they begin with “15”).
Using a cell phone, pre-paid calling card, or making calls from a locutorio are preferable to using the phone at your homestay. Always discuss phone usage with your host before using the home phone. Different hosts may have different rules about phone usage, since service is quite expensive in Argentina. Note that most landlines are blocked from making phone calls to cell phones, but a cell phone is able to call a landline phone.
How to dial to an Argentina cellular phone:
Add digit 9 (nine) between the country code (54) and the area code of the city you are calling; you will have 011 + 54 + 9 + ten digits. If the cell number begins with 15 you must drop these two digits and add the area code instead. Example #1: you want to dial a cell phone in Bahia Blanca; this is what you will dial from the US: 011 54 9 291 xxx xxxx. Example #2: someone from Buenos Aires gives you a cell number of the format 15 xxxx xxxx; you will replace 15 with the area code of Buenos Aires (11) and dial the following: 011 54 9 11 xxxx xxxx.
Making calls to Chile
The country code for Chile is 56 and the area code for Santiago is 2. If calling Chile from the U.S., first dial 011-56.
Locutorios (cafés offering phone and Internet services) are located all around the city. To use the service, request a cabina (phone booth) and pay at the front desk when you have finished your call. To minimize charges, use your tarjeta telefonica prepaga. That way, the locutorio will only charge you the cost of a local call.
Since students are only in each country for approximately six weeks, UCEAP discourages family members from sending items or care packages in the mail. If someone does mail you items, they should pack them in a mailer envelope instead of a box. Generally, boxes will be sent straight to customs making it difficult and frustrating to retrieve your mail. If family members send you new shoes/clothing, make sure they remove the tags before they mail the items. Again, think twice before having these kinds of items shipped to you while abroad; the fees involved may exceed the worth of the items.
Housing in Buenos Aires
In Argentina you will live in a Homestay with meals. In this option students live in a single room with a local Argentine host, with breakfast and dinner included daily. Hosts vary greatly in form (single woman, retired couple, host with or without children, etc.). The degree of family integration also varies, as in some households students have a more independent living arrangement while other students are more integrated into family life. The accommodation may be shared with other students. You can expect anywhere from a 25-30 minute commute via public transportation to class each way.
You will already have completed a housing questionnaire and indicated your housing preferences for your time in Buenos Aires. Your experience of living with an Argentine host will not only help you with your language skills, but will also help you familiarize yourself with the pace and culture of Buenos Aires. You will learn the details of your homestay shortly after arrival during orientation.
InSitu recognizes that housing placement is one of the most important elements in your experience abroad and maintains a well-established network of comfortable accommodations in the safest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. As much as possible, your placement will be based on information you provided in your housing questionnaire.
The primary purpose of being with a host is to interact socially and culturally, and to improve language proficiency in Spanish. It is expected that everyone, including other guests in the home, will speak Spanish at all times. If a host requests that you speak English, it may be beneficial to work out a reciprocal arrangement where you occasionally speak in English while remaining committed to improving your Spanish.
Break: Housing is not provided during the break between Buenos Aires and Santiago. Students must manage their luggage during this time. No storage is provided.
Housing in Santiago
You will already have completed a housing questionnaire and indicated your housing preferences for your time in Santiago. Students have the options of:
Homestay with breakfast and dinner: In this option students live in a single room with a local Chilean host, with breakfast and dinner included daily. Hosts vary greatly in form (single woman, retired couple, host with or without children, etc.). The degree of family integration also varies, as in some households students have a more independent living arrangement while other students are more integrated into family life. The accommodation may be shared with other students. You can expect anywhere from a 25-30 minute commute via public transportation to class each way.
Hostel with breakfast: In this option, students will be residing in a shared, 6-person room at Hostal Providencia. Located in the heart of Santiago, the hostel is just a 5 minute-walk from Plaza Italia, Baquedano metro station and the neighborhood of Bellavista, where there is lots to see and do. Breakfast is included daily. You will take the metro to get to and from campus each day. Placement in the hostel is based on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The cost of your housing in Buenos Aires and Santaigo has already been included in your UCEAP Student Budget. UCEAP handles rent payments to your host in Buenos Aires and the homestay/hostel in Santiago, so you don’t need to worry about paying for housing during the program.
In both cities, you will be living in an expansive urban setting where commuting is part of daily life. In Buenos Aires, It is likely that you will have to take some form of public transportation, in most cases a bus. Expect an average commute to take about twenty minutes each way. This is very different from walking or biking to campus as you may be accustomed to doing in the U.S. Recognize that public transportation is part of your experience. All students will need to use public transportation in order to visit other parts of the city, including the UC Study Center.
You will receive more information about transportation when you arrive.
Housing Tips for Living with an Argentine Host
- Discuss all house rules on the first day—this is a good icebreaker and a good way to eliminate any problems that might occur in the future.
- Overnight guests are not allowed.
- Displaying good manners is important. Occasionally bring your host a small gift and offer compliments when appropriate.
- Remember that many Argentines smoke in their homes.
- Alcohol or drug abuse will not be tolerated and may result in dismissal from the program.
- Discuss phone usage with your host. Hosts do not usually allow long-distance calls to the U.S., and some may even prohibit calls to local Argentine cell phones. You may need to purchase a calling card in order to use the phone at your homestay. Set up a time with your parents when you will be home so they can call you, or make other arrangements via Skype or at a locutorio.
- Remember that your hosts may work, study, and/or have a full calendar of activities. Don’t expect their lives to revolve around your schedule.
- If you have any problems with your housing situation, report these directly to InSitu staff (in Buenos Aires) and Study Center staff (in Santiago) immediately.
If you are vegetarian (or if you have any other special dietary restrictions), you must clearly note this on the housing questionnaire. Your host can accommodate your needs as long as he/she knows your preferences before arrival.
Supermarket food is comparable to that of the U.S., and there is plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables at reasonable prices in the markets.
Water is safe to drink in Argentina. At restaurants, servers will ask if you would like water sin gas (regular) or con gas (carbonated). Water is not included with the meal as it is in the U.S. You will be charged an additional cost.
In Argentina, your host will provide two meals per day.
Chileans typically eat three or four meals a day, with lunch constituting the main meal. In general, Chilean food is basic and simply seasoned. Vegetarians will be able to find suitable food, although not many Chileans are vegetarians. Fresh fruit and vegetables are available at local markets. There are several vegetarian restaurants and a growing interest in the vegetarian diet.
Santiago boasts a huge variety of interesting restaurants at a range of prices -- from Mexican and Peruvian to Japanese and Middle Eastern.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Buenos Aires’ subway system is by far the fastest way to get downtown and around the city. You can purchase rides (viajes) in increments of one, two, five, or ten at a cost of approximately $.50 per ride. You can also purchase a rechargeable card called a monedero. Subte tellers accept coins and bills of any amount. The subte runs from 6 a.m. to approximately 10:20 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 10:20 p.m. on Sunday. Helpful hint: the last 20 minutes the subte is open, all rides are free!
Colectivos or bondis (Buses)
Buses cost about $.50 per ride and they will only accept coins. Most bus lines run all night, although some service is restricted or runs less frequently at night. Most students travel by bus from their homestays to school and back. The average commute takes about twenty minutes.
Terminal de Omnibus de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (Retiro)
Av. Antártida Argentina y Ramos Mejía
Public transportation is available to all parts of Santiago. Subways run from east to west and north to south in the city; buses and taxis are also widely available. Avoid taking buses during rush hour. Use the subway when possible; it covers all the main parts of Santiago and is clean, fast, and reliable.
Trains run from Santiago to the south of the country, with a final destination at Chillán. The Main Railway Station is located in Av. L. Bernardo O’Higgins 3322. Buses also run to all parts of the country.
Two Chilean airlines, Lan Chile and Sky, run regular daily flights.
Bus Terminal Information
Av. Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins 3750
(Universidad de Santiago Metro Station, Line 1)
Destinations: North, South, and Coast
Recommended because this terminal has the best two bus lines: Tur-Bus and Pullman Bus
Terminal de Buses Santiago
Av. Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins 3850
(Universidad de Santiago Metro Station, Line 1
Destinations: Coast, South, and International destinations (here you can find a variety of buses and prices.)
Terrapuerto Los Héroes
Tucapel Jiménes 21, Santiago Centro
(Los Héroes Metro Station, Line 1)
Destinations: North and South
Terminal de Buses San Borja
San Borja 184–Estación Central(Estación Central Metro Station, Line 1)
Destinations: North, South, and International destinations
Travel Sign-out reminder: Any time you leave Buenos Aires or Santiago for more than 24 hours at a time, you are required to accurately complete and submit the Travel Sign-out form in MyEAP. It is essential for UCEAP to be able to locate you in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.
There are numerous activities to be explored in the vibrant cities of Buenos Aires and Santiago. People from all corners of the world are drawn to both capitals for the urban experience, rich cultural and musical scene, excellent culinary offerings, and active nightlife. Whether it is perusing the popular museums, exploring old bookstores, going to the theater or sampling tango clubs, you are sure to find something in each city that excites you. Just a few ideas include:
- Soccer games
- Day trips to nearby locations, museums, and other neighborhoods
- Cultural city tours
- Local concerts
- Tango shows and classes
- Wine tasting classes
- Artisan fairs
- Asados (Argentine barbecue)
- The Municipal Theater
- Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro with its art galleries and antique stores
- Participate in athletic events and religious activities
- The Royal Customs Building (Museum of pre-Colombian Art)
- Palace of Justice, Manso de Valasco's House
- The San Crisobal Hill Metropolitan Park, which includes a zoo, two swimming pools, picnic areas, retaurants, and the Enoteca Restaurant
- Shopping on Miraflores and Amuntegui Streets
Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. It is important to note that a specific law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities; however, while the federal government has protective laws, many provinces have not adopted the laws and have no mechanisms to ensure enforcement.
For more information:
Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?
You are required to complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account.
Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the U.S.), it is important for UCEAP officials to know how to reach you so we can help you.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
The recognition of LGBT rights in Argentina are among some of the most advanced in Latin America.
You are welcome to do your own traveling on weekends as well as before and after the program, as long as these activities do not interfere with class attendance. Argentina and Chile, like most of Latin America, have a range of bus companies that provide the most affordable and comfortable way to get around the country.
You will also have the opportunity to travel between the two sessions of the program. But you must arrive in Santiago at the appointed time and day in order to start the second session without penalty.
Know Before you Go
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy
. Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
The UCEAP travel insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
Read details in Benefits at a Glance
. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. Your travel insurance policy number is ADDN 04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis.
You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim proces
or about non-medical claims
Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance. Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). It is your responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter
For Questions about Coverage, Benefits and Claims Status
ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A high level of medical care comparable to that in industrialized countries is available in Buenos Aires and some other major cities. Medical care is substandard throughout the rest of the country.
Contact Information and Location of Hospitals where you can get care.
Clinica y Maternidad Suizo-Argentina
Avenida Pueyrredón 1443
Buenos Aires Argentina
Phone 1: +54 11 52 39 60 00
Sanatorio Mater Dei
San Martín Tours 2952
Buenos Aires Argentina
Phone 1: +54 11 48 09 55 55
Santiago has two main private hospitals that are accredited by The American Hospital Association and meet U.S. standards: Clinica Alemana and Clinica Las Condes. Both have international patient departments and experience with some international insurance companies. Medical care in Chile is comparable to that in industrialized countries, though it may not meet U.S. standards in remote areas. Major hospitals accept credit cards, but many doctors and hospitals in Chile expect immediate payment in cash.
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, contact InSitu staff immediately. InSitu staff members are your first point of contact in Buenos Aires, and can provide you with references to doctors, dentists, and clinics, as necessary.
If you feel sick, are injured, or have a medical emergency, contact the Study Center immediately.
Asthma, sinus, and bronchial problems can be aggravated by the polluted atmosphere in the major cities.
Know Before you Go
Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter
of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health
web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
- Understand your UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
- If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor. US prescriptions are not valid in other countries. Note: If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance; your campus or private insurance plan may cover it. You must travel with a letter from your prescribing explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name.
- If you need to find out if this appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at email@example.com. For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, or your pre-departure checklist, Insurance tab.
- Two classes of medicines – narcotics and psychotropics – are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that can have an effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the potential to be abused. The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine) which tend to be highly regulated. Psychotropics are all those medications likely to be used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.
- If you plan to purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must fill and pay for medication when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start of the program). Do not assume that your local pharmacy knows about the UCEAP travel insurance policy. It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage. You will need to pay for the medication and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance.
- Find out whether your medication is legal in your UCEAP country.
- If traveling with a prescription containing controlled substances, review international agreements governing the transportation of medications across borders check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) website. The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.
- Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program. Ask your doctor how to adjust your dosage depending on time zone changes.
- Get a letter from the prescribing physician, on letterhead, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name as brand names vary considerably around the world.
Traveling with prescription medications
- Keep the medication in its original packaging clearly labelled with your name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage, provided it is in pill or solid form. For more information, particularly if your medication is in liquid form, consult the US Transportation Security Administration., Traveling with Medications.
- Carry copies of all original US prescriptions.
- Carry the letter on letterhead from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic names. This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill abroad.
Why is a letter from your treating physician necessary?
If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country, talk to your doctor. If you need to switch prescriptions, your doctor may need to make changes to your medication at least 3-6 months before departure to monitor side effects and dosage. The letter from your doctor indicating condition, treatment and medication regimen, can help a local physician to assess you and to consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country. Note that the local doctor's appointment for medication refill may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.
Consult with ACI, firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health section.
If you are currently in treatment in the U.S., discuss your UCEAP program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for going abroad. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
Your mental health is important to us all. Create a plan with your treating doctor. Managing your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition – is something every person must think about when going abroad. Being away from usual stress at home can sometimes be a relief when abroad; experiencing new adventures can be a useful distraction. You will also have times when you feel confused, uncomfortable, annoyed, and many of the same emotions that you manage in your daily life at home.
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.
You may feel homesick or sad. Feeling down, anxious, homesick, depressed or stressed might be your body’s reaction to the new environment and different life away from your usual support network. Don't cope alone. Reach out for help to the local UCEAP program staff and your friends. If you have been feeling unhappy for longer than a few days, or it is staring to affect your enjoyment of
life and/or your studies, then you should see a doctor immediately.
The UCEAP travel insurance policy
covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process
. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at email@example.com.
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated with severe food allergies.
Precautions to take include:
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Health chapter
, Allergies section.
The most significant causes of air pollution in Buenos Aires stem from the high concentration of unregulated vehicle pollutants throughout the city during peak hour when it mixes with the emissions coming from the nearby power stations
Air pollution is a major health concern in Santiago, resulting in severe bronchial ailments affecting infants, small children, and the elderly. The most severe air pollution occurs during the winter (May through August). Unusually dry weather exacerbates pollution levels in the city, which normally struggles with air quality under good conditions.
- Stay indoors in well-ventilated areas whenever possible.
- Seek medical attention if respiratory symptoms occur.
- Eye irritation is also possible; flush irritated eyes with copious amounts of water.
- Consider using a facemask respirator if prolonged outdoor activity is necessary.
The University of California Education Abroad Program has established policies and procedures to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. However, your conduct is the central factor in promoting your safety and well-being.
Before traveling, ensure that you are fully prepared, that you are aware of any risks and have mitigated them. With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in preventing crime. While UCEAP provides resources aimed at helping you understand how to have a safe experience, it cannot ensure that your travels and stay in Argentina will be problem-free or account for all the potential health and safety risks that you might experience.
- Guarantee the safety of participants or ensure that risk will not at times be significantly greater than on a UC campus.
- Monitor the daily personal decisions, choices, and activities of individual participants any more than is the case on a UC campus.
Flexibility and an informed perspective will be critical to helping you adapt to your new environment. An understanding of the social reality and close attention to your surroundings may help you avoid potential problems.
Be Responsible for Your Personal Security: Avoid Becoming a Victim
Street crime in the larger cities, especially greater Buenos Aires and Mendoza, is a problem for residents and visitors alike. As in any big city, travelers to Buenos Aires and popular tourist destinations should be alert to muggers, pickpockets, scam artists, and purse-snatchers on the street, in hotel lobbies, at bus and train stations, and in cruise ship ports.
- As in any large city, petty theft and crime are prevalent, especially in crowded places like the metro, bus stations, and the airport. As usual, foreigners tend to be easier targets; blend in and take necessary personal safety precautions while out in public.
- Wear clothing with inside pockets, especially if carrying important documents. Secure purses and wallets, especially in crowded places such as discos and marketplaces.
- Carry backpacks/purses on the front of the body, not the back. Do not place money, documents, or other valuables in backpacks. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Always watch your wallet, especially in the metro.
- While in Argentina, be careful in San Telmo, an older traditional neighborhood specializing in antique stores, and La Boca neighborhood (home to the famous “Caminito” street and “Boca Juniors” soccer stadium) in Buenos Aires, where violent robberies have been occurring with increasing frequency. If you go to La Boca limit your visit to the designated tourist areas during daylight hours.
- Keep cameras and other expensive property concealed. Thieves specifically target expensive jewelry and watches, especially high-value items with name brands such as Rolex. They regularly steal unattended purses, backpacks, laptops, and luggage and will often distract visitors for a few seconds to steal valuables. Crimes reported to the U.S. Embassy by American citizens reveal they are most often victims of theft or non-violent robbery, principally in the tourist areas.
Street Harassment in Chile
Sexual street harassment (verbal comments or even physical advances) has surprised many UCEAP students. Past students remark that piropos, or catcalls, to American women are common. Although usually no harm is meant, you may find it offensive. The best advice is to ignore the perpetrator, as protesting usually results in an escalation of the offending behavior.
Women should never walk alone after dark, and should practice “safety in numbers.” Be aware and take precautions once in Chile. The UCEAP Faculty Director will cover this topic in depth after you arrive in Santiago.
Personal behavior is crucial to your safety. Both men and women need to inform themselves about the basic dynamics of male and female relationships in Chile. Dating rules vary. Exercise caution and good communication if you choose to start a relationship. Additional information about cultural differences is provided in the Cultural Awareness chapter of this guide.
You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Consider an action plan.
With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Take time to assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think how you would lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel; label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety.
Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks, which make it impossible to protect yourself from. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers or safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at very high speed.
Report anything suspicious to local authorities. Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff. Schedule direct flights, if possible. Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency. If you are ever caught in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible. Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.
Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety
Register online with the U.S. embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
(STEP), a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
Criminals usually work in groups. Criminals employ a variety of ruses to distract and victimize unsuspecting visitors. Be suspicious of anyone who approaches you on the street. A common scam is to spray mustard or a similar substance on the tourist from a distance. A pickpocket will then approach the tourist offering to help clean the stain, and while doing so, he or an accomplice robs the victim. Another scam is to entice tourists into a bar known as a “wiskeria” with a flyer for a shopping discount or free show. Once inside, the victim is not allowed to leave until he or she pays an exorbitant amount for a drink.
Criminals have also targeted individuals withdrawing cash from bank ATMs. Criminals may overtly challenge an individual directly and/or alter basic ATM functions, causing the scam victim to believe the machine failed to dispense the cash and may be out-of-order. Armed assaults are also common in the capital, particularly at night.
The security environment is generally safe, and there is comparatively less violent crime experienced in Chile than in other Latin American countries. Pay careful attention to the following information regarding safety in Santiago. Flexibility and an informed perspective will be critical to help you adapt to your new environment. An understanding of the social reality and close attention to your surroundings may help you avoid potential problems.
Purse snatching or slashing of straps and pick-pocketing are most prevalent in crowded tourist locations and pedestrian shopping areas in downtown Santiago, as well as in subway stations, on subway trains, in bus terminals, and on crowded buses. Criminals often work in pairs, one distracting the victim’s attention by a motion or sound and the other stealing the victim’s property.
In downtown Santiago, the risk of being a victim of pick-pocketing increases on weekends and after dark. During these times, the number of assaults and robberies escalate in popular tourist areas such as Paseo de los Huerfanos, Paseo Ahumada, Cerro Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal, and the Bellavista neighborhoods. Avoid Cerro San Cristobal, the Mercado Central area, and Cerro Santa Lucia after dark.
There has been a significant increase in the reported incidents involving credit card cloning and credit card fraud. Police entities have uncovered and arrested various networks engaged in cloning credit cards and producing fraudulent blank credit cards. Several employees in hospitality establishments have been caught scanning clients’ credit cards through small, personal credit card scanners. It is common for wait staff, gasoline station attendants, and most facilities to bring a credit card scanning device to you so you can scan and maintain possession of your credit card.
Another growing problem in Santiago is theft of electronic devices, particularly of laptops, car stereos, cameras, and automobile computers.
The carabineros of Chile are the uniformed national police force and have primary responsibility for crime prevention. They are considered to be the most professional police force in Latin America. Their effectiveness is hampered by a lack of resources, such as manpower and patrol vehicles. Therefore, what would be considered a rapid response time to an incident in the U.S. is not possible in Chile.
Demonstrations are common in metropolitan Buenos Aires and occur in other major cities as well. Protesters on occasion block streets, highways, and major intersections, causing traffic jams and delaying travel. While demonstrations are usually nonviolent, some individuals break from larger groups and sometimes seek confrontation with the police and vandalize private property. Groups occasionally protest in front of the U.S. Embassy and U.S.-affiliated businesses.
Do not participate in demonstrations. If caught in a potentially violent situation, immediately seek shelter in upscale hotels or large public buildings, such as libraries, theaters, hospitals, or museums.
Demonstrations occur frequently. Although most are peaceful and have pre-approved routes, they sometimes become violent or change course with little warning. For information on current, and ongoing, Chilean student demonstrations, refer to the UCEAP website.
Advice during demonstrations:
- Avoid all demonstrations, which could become violent without notice.
- Prepare for significant transportation and service disruptions during protests and strikes.
- Monitor local media for updates on possible road blocks and plan alternate routes.
- Allow additional time for ground travel due to possible road closures and police activity.
If you choose to actively participate in a riot or demonstration, against our strong advice, the UCEAP travel insurance may not cover you.
Check the U.S. Embassy's website regularly for security messages.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Argentina has the highest road fatality rate in Latin America. Drivers in Argentina tend to be aggressive, especially in Buenos Aires, and often ignore traffic regulations. During weekdays, some areas of the central part of the city (el microcentro) are closed to automobile traffic.
When Using Public Taxis:
Taxis usually provide a more secure means of transport than other types of public transportation. Use radio-dispatched taxis, especially at night. Illegitimate taxi drivers have robbed passengers; travelers leaving banks or ATMs are especially at risk. In one common scheme, the taxi driver picks up an accomplice after picking up a passenger. The driver and the accomplice then rob the passenger. A driver may also take the passenger to a secluded location where he is met by the accomplice. Passengers may also be taken to ATMs where they are forced to withdraw money. Do not use taxis displaying the word “Manditaria” as they are often rented by criminals posing as taxi drivers.
If you hail a taxi from the street, choose an empty taxi that has just dropped off a passenger. Lock the doors and roll up the windows. Make note of the taxi number and driver’s name. Pay for taxi service in small bills and confirm the price before giving the driver money.
- Risk-taking behavior, the lack of traffic safety policies, and the lack of road signs, lane markings, traffic lights, guardrails and other safety features, are common factors in road crashes.
- Drivers often drive recklessly or aggressively, pass illegally, tailgate, or ignore speed limits, road signs, and traffic signals.
- Drivers are more likely to ignore red lights at night and during siesta (afternoon rest period).
- Many drivers start through an intersection when the light is yellow, instead of waiting for the light to turn green.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a factor in 37% of road fatalities.
- Drivers show little concern for pedestrians or cyclists.
The most at-risk road users around the world are pedestrians and cyclists.
- Cross streets with care.
- Drivers do not respect pedestrians' right of way, even when pedestrians are in zebra crossings.
- Pedestrians often cross the street anywhere and fail to wait for traffic lights to change.
- Common factors in pedestrian fatalities include jaywalking, failing to wait for traffic lights to change, waiting on streets instead of sidewalks, and walking along streets or roads with inadequate shoulders.
- Be aware of local traffic patterns. Understand local road culture.
Road conditions throughout most of Chile are outstanding by South American standards and comparable to roads in the U.S. Road signage is abundant on city streets and highways. Traffic lights and pedestrian signals work well, but some motorists and pedestrians follow them loosely, and drivers tend to be very aggressive.
Chile has modern infrastructure. Taxis and public transportation are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. Agree to a taxi fare before embarking.
Be cautious when walking in and around Santiago and crossing the streets. Pedestrians do not have the right of way in Chile.
Credit card fraud has become a concern, as there has been a significant increase in the reported incidents involving credit card cloning/fraud. Police have uncovered and arrested various networks engaged in cloning credit cards and producing fraudulent blank credit cards. Several employees in hospitality establishments have been caught scanning clientele’s credit cards through small personal credit card scanners. It is common practice for wait staff, gasoline station attendants, and most facilities to bring a credit card scanning device to you so you can personally scan and maintain possession of your credit card. Never allow someone control of your credit or allow your credit card to be charged outside of your direct view. Also you should always ensure that the card you receive back is not a substitute.
Wolf whistles, honking, leering, groping and “compliments” from strangers — these are just a handful of forms of public harassment that more than three quarters of Chile’s women claim to endure on a weekly basis, according to a 2014 survey. The Organization Against Street Harassment (OCAC) found in its first study that almost 40 percent of Chilean women are harassed on a daily basis, while 90 percent of women reported having been harassed at least once in their lives.
Seventy-two percent said they had experienced “aggressive compliments” such as allusions to sex or the body, and 60 percent some form of intimidating approach, such as harassers touching them or talking in their ear. Fifty-seven percent of women said they had suffered harassment in form of the so called “piropos” — soft compliments that divide opinion over their status as Latin American cultural expression or verbal abuse.
Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S. are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
- Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
- Know how to call the local fire department.
Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
- Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
- Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
- Have an escape plan and practice it.
- Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
- Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
- If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
- Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.
Program Suspension Policy
If the U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security provider, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.
The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on U.S. government-arranged flights, that require U.S. citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its security providers, is covered by UCEAP itravel nsurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
What Is an Emergency?
An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
- Any life/death situation
- A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
- An arrest
- Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country
In an Emergency
Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:
If you are in the U.S.
- During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
If you are abroad
Buenos Aires Emergency Phone Numbers
The local equivalent to the U.S. 911 in Argentina is:
Ambulance (Medical Emergency Service, SAME) ...............107
Police (Argentine Federal Police) .........................................101
Tourist Police........................................................................(011) 4346-5748 / 0800-999-5000
Santiago Emergency Phone Numbers
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Chile is:
Ambulance (SAMU). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Fire department (bomberos) . . . . . . . . 132
Police (carabineros) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
U.S. Embassy emergency numbers
From within Argentina ..........................................................(011) 5777-4354 / (011) 5777-4873
U.S. Embassy Resources
UCEAP strongly encourages you to register online with the U.S. Department of State. This can be done through their Safe Traveler Enrollment Program before your departure from the U.S.
The University of California, in accordance with applicable
Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.