Approx. Time Difference
March–October: +3 hours
October–March: +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, finances and much more.
While UCEAP endeavors to keep all information in this guide updated and accurate, it should be considered in conjunction with program-specific correspondence, which may be more updated. There may be times when information relayed via such correspondence may supersede the online information. Students are 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.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
“My UCEAP experience abroad was simply amazing. I was able to experience another culture, take classes, make new friends, and in the process, I learned a little something about myself. The knowledge you acquire while studying abroad is practical, not stuffy classroom Spanish. And you learn out of necessity, and for that reason it stays in your mind—it’s like magic. Plus, Chile is indeed the most beautiful country in the world; it has a little something for everyone: mountains, sea, cold, hot, dry, wet, you name it! You’ve got to see it all, so travel when you can!”
~ Sadie Nickelson, UCLA
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
Bookmark your Participants
program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Predeparture Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Study Center Abroad
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.
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.)
Chile country code: 56
Santiago city code: 2
Approximate Time Difference
March–October: 3 hours
October–March: 5 hours
Courses at both Santiago universities tend to be more lecture-style with less student participation than at UC, although this can vary according to field. Classes are relatively small, with an average of 30 students. A group of 75 students would be considered a large class.
In Chile, the burden of learning is on the student rather than the instructor. As you prepare for a new academic environment, keep the following tips in mind:
- You will need to communicate with professors before or after class since they are not required to hold office hours.
- One of the greatest challenges you will face is the amount of reading and writing.
- Expect to spend more time doing course reading than you might at UC. Carefully determine which texts on a professor’s reading list are required reading and which are recommended. You may need to do extra background reading.
- Speak directly with your professors as well as with other Chilean students about the course requirements.
- If you attend the University of Chile, you may need to spend more time meeting with professors to make sure you understand the assignments and schedule of the course.
- Courses at La Católica are more likely to meet when scheduled, provide clear objectives for the course, and proceed in an organized fashion.
- Grading in most courses is based on a combination of exams and a final paper.
- There are also many courses that require group projects, and some classes may have quizzes or an additional paper assigned.
Intensive Language Program (ILP)
Whether you are headed for the University of Chile or the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC), you will take the ILP at PUC.
ILP classes are provided at multiple levels, and you will be assigned to the appropriate level based on written and oral placement exams. You will take the written exam before you leave the U.S. and the oral section when you arrive in Chile. The ILP comprises classroom instruction as well as cultural activities and field trips that complement classroom topics.
The mandatory three-week ILP serves multiple purposes:
- Improving your language skills and introducing key aspects of Chile.
- Providing an opportunity to live in prearranged housing so you can get to know the capital city in advance of searching for your own housing.
- Helping to prepare you for academic success in regular Chilean university classes.
The Study Center also organizes a team of Chilean students from the two host universities to help you get acquainted with local customs. These hermanos may accompany you on some field trips, but mostly they are available to help with such basic tasks as figuring out cell phones, finding housing, and introducing Santiago from the student perspective. Following the ILP, there is a break of at least one week before regular classes begin.
- You may select 3.0 to 4.5 UC quarter units (equivalent to 2.0 to 3.0 UC semester units) for the ILP.
- You may only take the ILP for a letter grade.
- Attendance is required at all class sessions and related activities.
The Chilean system of higher education is organized the way graduate programs are organized in the United States. Most Chilean college students enter directly into a professional program and devote themselves immediately and almost exclusively to their chosen field of study, whether it is agronomy, literature, medicine, law, or business. At both Chilean universities, economics and business courses are offered by professional schools. Expect your Chilean classmates to be highly focused.
General education requirements are not typically part of a Chilean student’s academic program; thus they are admitted to and take courses in only one facultad. This restriction does not apply to you as a UC student; you may take courses from any facultad (provided you meet the course prerequisites). At the University of Chile, each facultad may follow a slightly different calendar, which may be confusing if you choose courses from different facultades. It is best to review your plans with the UCEAP Study Center after arrival in Santiago.
Chilean students follow strict degree programs in their majors (carreras) with few elective courses. Any allowed electives are provided within the student’s facultad. Thus, Chilean university students tend to have more experience in their major field of study than their UC counterparts. Coursework at the third- and fourth-year levels is more advanced than it is in the U.S., and in many cases may also be more specialized. Seek out and follow the advice of the host university advisors and the Study Center staff when you make your final course choices.
In general, most Chilean students attend school full time and do not have outside jobs. Typically, students live with their families and study at the local university. Students who choose to study at a distant location often live in boarding houses, apartments, or rooms in Chilean households.
Host universities in Santiago generally provide course syllabi, but this practice is not always consistent. For most facultades at La Católica, a general syllabus is readily available online (see Course Information in this chapter) and more detailed information is provided in class. Since the supply and use of textbooks is limited, students depend on photocopy services or the library reserve system.
You will be placed at either the University of Chile or La Católica before you depart from the U.S. Placement is based on academic interests stated in your UCEAP application, and host university availability and academic strengths. Wherever you are placed, you will be fully immersed into the regular coursework of the university you attend. Chilean semesters offer 16 weeks of instruction and an additional one- to two-week schedule of final exams.
If at any time you have trouble with your studies, contact the Study Center staff. They will be able to refer you to various resources in Santiago for private tutoring.
Finding the right courses is critical for a successful semester. Both universities offer advising assistance and provide lists of courses suitable for international students.
Each facultad provides all the courses needed by its own students; for you as a visitor, finding the right courses can require persistence.
Do not limit your search to the particular facultad that specializes in your field. For example, history courses may be part of the curriculum for sociology majors, and thus found not only in the Facultad de Filosofia y Humanidades—where you would find the history major—but also in the Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, which sponsors the sociology major.
Visit the host university websites as you complete your academic planning.
Remember that not all listed courses will be available; consult the Study Center staff for their assessment of all courses before actual enrollment takes place.
You are responsible for submitting specific application forms and documents prior to enrollment (required by both PUC and the University of Chile for international students):
- Follow the instructions for required forms in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist and e-mails from your UCEAP Program Specialist and Program Advisor.
- Complete and return the required host institution documents.
- Failure to submit the necessary documents will jeopardize your admission to the host institution and participation in this program.
Both universities have an online registration system in which you will preregister, as part of the application process, for your courses prior to leaving the U.S. You will, however, have the opportunity to finalize your course selection and final registration after your arrival in Santiago.
You will register twice: once for UCEAP and once for your host university. In addition to enrolling in host university classes, you must fill out your MyEAP Study List each term. The Study Center staff will assist with both of these procedures.
It is important that you adhere to the established deadlines for adding and dropping courses at your host university and for submitting your MyEAP registration. Be sure to review your MyEAP Study List carefully; the course information listed—subject area, title, and units—is what will appear on your UC transcript.
- You must take a full-time course of study on UCEAP and enroll in a minimum of four courses each semester.
- You may take one course for pass/no pass.
The minimum unit requirement is 18 UC quarter units. If you are from a semester campus (i.e., Berkely or Merced), consider keeping your study list between 19.5 and 22.5 UC quarter units, which is equivalent to 13 to 15 semester units. Most classes at both universities range from 5 to 7 units. Unit values will be noted in MyEAP if the course is currently listed in the catalog. If the courses you enroll in have a lower unit value, the study center staff may have you add more than four courses to your schedule.
Grades for this program are typically available in early to late-January to early-February for the fall semester, and late-September to early-October for the spring semester.
Because grades will not be available for spring graduation deadlines, graduating seniors completing their participation in the spring term should plan for a summer or fall graduation. Do not declare candidacy for the spring term!
You will receive an automatic e-mail notification when your grades are transmitted to the UC Registrar, at which time you will be able to view your grades through your MyEAP account. You will need to wait a while longer for grades to be posted to your official UC transcript by the Office of the Registrar.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
The Study Center in Santiago is particularly active in arranging internships and independent study opportunities for qualified students; it has one of the most extensive and well-organized internship programs in Santiago, making internship placements possible in a wide variety of fields and activities. Internships and other special studies enable you to become better integrated in Chilean society while developing Spanish language skills in practical settings.
UCEAP students have been placed in a wide variety of institutions including government ministries, research foundations, banks and business, human rights and women’s rights groups, AIDS prevention and public health programs, and indigenous rights and ecology programs. Students have also participated in projects and conducted research in the fields of education, the arts, business and economics, environmental resource preservation, gender studies, and the documentation and preservation of local cultures.
If you have a special interest, approach the Study Center staff after arrival with a proposed project plan to see if placement is possible. In all cases, you must consult with the UCEAP Faculty Director to shape your projects and determine assessment requirements and number of units.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Plan Ahead to Extend
You may request to extend your time in Chile from the first (spring) semester to the full academic year or from the fall semester to the following spring semester. The UCEAP program in Santiago follows the Chilean academic year, which begins in March. If you extend from the fall to the spring semester, you will have a two- to three-month break between programs.
If you are admitted for the year program, you are expected to complete the academic year in Chile. A request to shorten the stay will be treated as a withdrawal from UCEAP and an administrative fee will be charged.
- Indicate your intent to extend your studies in Chile by completing a Departmental/College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA) form before you depart.
- Once abroad, if you decide to extend your stay, you must meet with the Study Center Director and fill out a Request for Final Approval (RFA) form.
- The deadline to submit an RFA is November 1 to extend from the fall to spring semester and May 1 to extend from the spring to year program.
- If you do not submit a DPA prior to traveling to Chile, you may submit a Petition to Extend to the Study Center by the appropriate deadline. Please note that the petition process can take several weeks.
- Requests are considered when there is space at the host institution and when the request is supported by the Study Center Director, the UCEAP Systemwide Office, and your UC campus department head and dean or provost.
- Once your extension is approved, UCEAP will notify your UC campus registrar and Financial Aid Office. For information about the steps you need to take in regards to finances, see the Extension of Participation chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
- You are required to leave the country for at least 72 hours between both programs due to visa requirements. The Study Center staff in Chile will provide more information. If you plan to return to the U.S. in between semesters, make sure to ask about this visa process before leaving Chile. If you go back to the U.S. without checking first, you may have to repeat the complex visa process from the U.S., which is much more difficult than taking care of it from within Chile.
- If you extend from fall to spring, you will have a substantial break between semesters and may lose insurance coverage. Make sure you consult the Insurance Information tab on the UCEAP Participants web page and purchase an insurance extension to avoid a gap in coverage.
Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before departure. Travel guides and travel-related websites such as Lonely Planet
, the Rough Guide
, the Insight Guide Chile, and the Open Road Publishing Chile Guide are excellent resources. Also look for How to Survive in the Chilean Jungle
by Brennan and Taboada.
Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals. A couple of Chile’s major newspapers can also be accessed online: El Mercurio
and La Tercera
. If you can only read one book prior to departure, it should be A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet
, by Pamela Constable and Arturo Valenzuela. These authors explain how the major events of recent Chilean history have affected different groups of Chileans and why they continue to shape social, cultural, and political life.
Chilean culture is very family-oriented with large extended family networks. Extended family life is an important component of Chilean society.
UCEAP students report having difficulty making Chilean friends, as many locals have known each other for years. Although meeting new people can be intimidating, most students agree that it is best for you to make the first effort as it is uncommon for Chilean students to do so.
Meeting students in classes, participating in extracurricular activities, and living either with a Chilean family or with Chilean students are all great ways to make friends and become more familiar with the culture.
In your conversations with Chileans, avoid issues that can potentially create conflict. Chileans can get very serious about particular issues. Two such issues include: Augusto Pinochet (learn some Chilean history before you go so you are aware of the many facets of the “Pinochet Years”); and soccer teams, particularly the Chilean national team (how good or bad the players are).
The Catholic Church is an important influence, and many Chileans are practicing Catholics.
Dating in Chile is different than dating in the United States. Chilean students often go out in groups of friends, although they also pair off (pololear
). The relationship between pololos
can be intense and may lead to marriage. Moreover, Chilean cultural cues and expectations are different, particularly with regard to sexual relationships. Although it is changing slowly, Chile remains a country ruled by machismo and sexual relations generally reflect a double standard.
Relationships abroad can progress at different rates than at home. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider what you want in a relationship before finding yourself in an uncomfortable situation or one with unfortunate consequences.
View of Drugs & Alcohol
Chilean students like to socialize as much as Americans do, but there are some cultural differences. Because the drinking age in Chile is 18, Americans will find themselves in a situation of unaccustomed freedom with respect to alcohol. It is important to know that Chileans are accustomed to drinking with meals and at parties, but it is not socially acceptable to get drunk. Students may also encounter marijuana and other drugs at parties, but drugs are illegal in Chile and international students caught with drugs are likely to be expelled from the country.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
You are required to attend a pre-departure orientation provided by your UC campus. The Campus UCEAP Office will provide dates and details about orientation when they are available.
See detailed arrival information in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist. Print and take the arrival instructions sheet with you to Santiago.
There is no group flight to Chile. You will be traveling independently and you are required to arrive in Chile on the Official UCEAP Start Date. Specific Arrival Instructions will be included in your Pre-Departure Checklist.
You will fly to Santiago International Airport (airport code SCL). From there, you will take a taxi or shuttle to PUC Campus Oriente.
Campus Oriente address:
PUC-CHILE, Campus Oriente
Ave. Jaime Guzmán 3300
A taxi ride from the airport to Campus Oriente will take about 45 minutes and will cost about U.S. $50. To take a taxi from the airport, go to the booth inside the airport titled “Taxi Oficial Aeropuerto,” located right outside of customs. You will be asked for your destination, charged according to the distance, and given a receipt. Tipping the driver later is not necessary.
If you arrive early and need a place to stay, the Study Center recommends the following local hostels:
You will still need to arrive at Campus Oriente by the time specified in your Arrival Instructions.
Participation in the on-site orientation activities in Chile is mandatory.
- A three-day retreat takes place during your first weekend in Chile.
- All costs of the orientation are included in UCEAP fees.
- You will return to Santiago early by bus, in time to begin ILP instruction Monday morning.
Travel to Your Host Country
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.
You are responsible for making all travel arrangements and for reserving and purchasing your tickets (even if you are on full financial aid). Your Financial Aid Office is not responsible for purchasing tickets.
The program begins at a predetermined place, time, and date. Late arrivals are not acceptable. For the Official UCEAP Start Date, see the Program Calendar on the Participants page.
- Update your contact information in MyEAP with any changes to your address, e-mail, and telephone number. Check your e-mail regularly for important updates, especially as your departure date draws near. Once abroad, make sure to update MyEAP with your local address in Santiago.
- Purchase a changeable round-trip or onward airline ticket. Your exams and program end date are always subject to change, so you should have the option to alter your return date if necessary.
- Standby tickets are not allowed. You must have a flight that will get you to Santiago on time for the official start of the program.
- Flights are routinely changed or canceled. Confirm your flight schedule about two weeks before your departure date. Check again a few days ahead of time, just to make sure your itinerary has not been changed.
- When traveling, always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in checked luggage.
- Identify luggage on the inside and outside with your name, address, and destination. You might also protect luggage with personal property or luggage insurance.
- Never leave luggage unattended.
- Luggage restrictions vary by airline. Check with your airline directly to learn about luggage rules and restrictions.
- Due to increased airport security, you must check directly with your airline or travel agent about any special measures you should take, such as the time you need to arrive at the airport and extra identification that may be required.
You need a passport and visa to participate in the Chile program. If you do not already have a passport, apply for one immediately. The Study Center submits a copy of your passport page to the host university to officially register you as an international student.
Applying for a Chilean visa is a complex process. Follow directions carefully, budget your time, and start the process early.
- The UCEAP Systemwide Office provides information about obtaining a student visa in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist. You will download the visa instructions and application forms from the UCEAP and consulate websites.
- You are required to obtain a student visa from the Chilean consulate closest to your University of Californa location (either in Los Angeles or San Francisco) before departure. If your permanent address is outside California, ask the consulate closest to your UC campus about how best to proceed. In some cases, you may be able to have your visa processed in California instead of another state. Begin researching this process early on. Contact the Program Specialist at (805) 893-4268 with any questions.
- If you are studying in another country prior to the UCEAP program in Chile, please contact the Program Specialist to see what, if any, visa arrangements can be made.
- Depending on the consulate, an appointment or mailing your documents several weeks before traveling may be necessary. Budget plenty of time for the visa process and read all instructions carefully.
- You must pick up your visa from the consulate. Another person may not pick up your visa for you. You will be asked to sign documents and your thumbprint will be taken.
- Once in Chile, you must register your visa within 30 days of arrival. Details about completing this process will be provided during orientation after arrival.
- If you fail to obtain a student visa, you may be withdrawn from the program.
For additional information, call the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4268.
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/
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
- Documents (passport, visa, etc.)
- Light clothing (for December–March)
- Sweater and other warm clothes that can be layered
- Rain gear (heavy parka, rain boots, etc., for May–August)
- Prescription medication (travel with your prescription medication in your carry-on luggage. See the Health chapter in this guide for more info.)
- Plug adaptor (see Electrical Items in this chapter)
- Spanish grammar books
- Spanish dictionary (can also be purchased abroad)
- English-language reference materials on subjects of study (e.g., Chilean history, U.S-Chile relations, economics, social science theory, etc.)
- Other research materials or books
- Yoga mat (they are very expensive and hard to find in Latin America)
- Lightweight gifts for hosts and new friends (suggestions: CDs; 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)
Weather and Climate
Throughout the program, the weather in Chile will vary significantly, even if you are only there for one semester. Santiago’s Mediterranean climate tends to be sunny throughout most of the year, although the smog creates a hazy atmosphere even on the sunniest days.
As you pack, keep the following in mind:
- Spring semester students who arrive in January will experience the Chilean summer (December through March) when temperatures may soar into the 90s; light clothing is advised during this period.
- Fall students and those students staying for the year should be aware that in the winter (June through September) daytime temperatures may drop into the 30s (around 0°C), which is much colder than California. Indoor heating is uneven and sometimes absent.
- The rainy season in the Santiago area is from May to August, and intermittent showers are common during both the fall and spring. Keep in mind that nearly everything available in California is available in Chile, although brands may vary.
The months of June through October can be cold in Santiago. Most Chilean homes and apartments do not have central heating, so the use of a gas space heater is common. Some people purchase a carbon monoxide detector that monitors the air and sounds an alarm if dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are present. Carbon monoxide detectors are not available in Chile. If you are interested in having a carbon monoxide alarm (battery operated), plan to purchase one before departure.
When packing electrical items, note the following:
- Voltage in Chile is 220. Check the voltage of anything electric from the U.S. before plugging it into an outlet. You can buy converters for electrical appliances in Chile.
- Most laptops have their own converters, so you may only need plug adaptors. Check before plugging in.
- For smaller, less expensive appliances (e.g., hair dryers or electric shavers), it is probably easiest to buy the appliance abroad rather than to purchase an adaptor.
- Customs officials may try to charge an import tax for any electrical items brought into Chile; however, if you indicate that they are personal items, the charge may be waived. Customs officials may list the items in your passport, which requires you to take the same items out of the country when you leave. Therefore, 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 and customs abroad may charge you a high duty.
- Do not have computers or other electrical devices shipped to you from the U.S. These items will be subject to large import duties.
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.
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.
For further information see the Money Matters chapter
of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and the Money Matters tab of your Participants Portal
. If you will be receiving financial aid, see also the Financial Aid
section of the Money Matters chapter in UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
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 Chile:
- It is not possible to cash checks from U.S. banks in Chile.
- You are strongly encouraged to engage in online banking when abroad.
- Different university departments are located in different parts of the city, which means that you will use public transportation on a daily basis. Budget at least $150 per month for transportation.
- Rent is expected to be about $350 to $550 per month.
- If you experience financial hardships while in Chile (a delay in financial aid or a lost check) you may be able to obtain a short-term, temporary loan from the Study Center under certain circumstances. Contact the Study Center as soon as you know you have a problem.
- The unit of currency is the Chilean peso (CLP). Notes come in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 pesos. Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 pesos.
- Take a small amount of cash with you to Chile (equivalent to U.S. $50 to $100 in Chilean pesos). Besides providing an opportunity to become familiar with the currency, the funds will be needed upon arrival for snacks, transportation, tips, and unexpected purchases. You can arrange for a U.S. bank to purchase Chilean 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.
Personal identification numbers (PINs) outside the U.S. need to be four digits and should not begin with zero.
The best way to obtain money abroad is by using an ATM card. ATM cards are widely accepted in Chile and allow you to easily obtain cash, make deposits and transfers, and verify account balances.
It is easy to tell where ATM cards are accepted by simply matching the logos on the ATM card with those displayed on the ATM.
To get an ATM card, you must first open an account in the U.S. (if you do not have one already). Accounts usually are connected to a checking or share draft account. Check with the bank to make sure you can use an ATM to access funds in Chile and what fees may be charged, if any. The bank will then issue an ATM card and a personal identification number (PIN).
Once abroad, you can use your ATM card to withdraw money from your U.S. account. There is no waiting period; money deposited in the U.S. is immediately available for withdrawal abroad (there may be limitations on the amount of cash accessible per transaction). Check with your bank to see what options are available and if your bank has a daily withdrawal limit.
When traveling, keep in mind that ATMs might not be as readily available in the countryside.
Credit Cards and Travelers Checks
Credit cards, particularly those that allow users to withdraw cash are very useful in Chile. Visa and MasterCard are most widely accepted in Santiago.
Students in the past have taken travelers checks as a backup method to access cash. UCEAP students report American Express checks are the easiest to use. If lost or stolen, travelers checks can be replaced with proof of a list of serial numbers (kept separate from the checks). Travelers checks in small denominations are often more widely accepted than those in $50 or $100 denominations. Keep in mind, though, that it is not possible to change travelers checks in small towns when the banks and money exchanges are closed. While travelers checks may be used as a source of backup funds, the exchange rate on them is quite poor, and this method should not be used as a routine way of obtaining cash.
Receiving financial aid on time can become a problem abroad due to delays in processing and mailing checks. To minimize delays, sign up for the eRefund option in MyEAP. Information about this option is detailed in the Money Matters
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
Be knowledgeable about program fees and understand how financial aid will be applied toward these fees. Disbursements can be issued only after a financial aid package has been approved and fees have been met.
Year students are responsible for applying for financial aid for the coming academic year. Contact your financial aid officer for acceptance.
Establish plans to receive backup funds if necessary, as well as temporary loans to cover emergencies that may occur while waiting for financial aid checks.
Your financial aid package is based partly on the student budget for the program. The estimated round-trip airfare amount in the budget is based on the cost of a changeable student fare to Chile. If your independent travel costs are greater than the program budget airfare estimate, notify your financial aid counselor. Neither UCEAP nor the campus Financial Aid Office can guarantee funding for the additional cost.
Computer Access & Use
Whether you choose to bring your own laptop or use the computers available at your host university or the Study Center, the following information will help you prepare your computer needs prior to departure:
- You are encouraged to bring your own laptop if possible, although it is not essential.
- Although computers are available at both university campuses and at the Study Center, do not arrive expecting to find the same computer access that is available at UC. Plan on scheduling computer work ahead of time.
- PUC: You have free access to both PCs and Macs at each PUC campus, as well as Internet access, although at times the computer facilities can be crowded.
- University of Chile: You have free computer access at the university’s downtown office. Because University of Chile computing facilities tend to be inadequate, there are also several PCs available for use at the Study Center.
Study Center Computers
The Study Center provides several computers and printers, though preference is given to UC students attending the University of Chile. These computers are available for word processing. They are also connected to the Internet for e-mail access and Internet research. Do not use Study Center computers for printing large papers or projects.
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 café and reading it offline on the laptop.
Homestay Computer Access
While it is becoming more popular, computer access is not as available in most Chilean residences as it is in homes in the U.S. Therefore, if you consider computer access an essential need, you should take a laptop. Do not automatically expect Internet access in your homestay. It is available in some homes, but not all. You may need to go to an Internet café or use host university computers.
If you have Internet access at your Chilean homestay, you may need to negotiate with the host family and determine limits to Internet usage, considering the impact on their electric and phone bills.
Approximate time difference: March–October: +3 hours, October–March: +5 hours
Students are required to have a cell phone with a local number while in Santiago. Some students purchase or rent cell phones in Chile. This is generally easier, more reliable, and less expensive than using your U.S. cell phone with an international plan.
Do not assume you will be allowed to use the phone at your homestay.
- Discuss phone usage with your host family before using the phone.
- Avoid incurring phone charges on your host’s phone bill by purchasing an international phone card. You can buy a long-distance phone card at newspaper kiosks throughout Santiago. Another way to avoid charges on a host’s bill is to make collect calls, although this option is more expensive. It is also common to use Skype and Google to stay in touch with family and friends at home.
- There are easily accessible phone centers where you can make (and pay for) long-distance phone calls.
- 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.
During the Intensive Language Program (ILP), which lasts for the first month of the program, you will live in a prearranged homestay. The cost of housing during the ILP is included in your UCEAP fees.
Prior to departure, you will fill out a housing questionnaire, which is used by the Study Center to help place you in an appropriate homestay. The Study Center works carefully to match you to a host, and most students are satisfied with the results. You will find out more about your Chilean host upon arrival in Santiago—this information will not be provided prior to the program start date.
Santiago is a large metropolitan area. It is common for university students and young professionals to rent a room in a Chilean household. These are intended as mutually convenient economic arrangements with no expected social component. It is into this environment that UCEAP enters when arranging ILP housing for students.
Not all homestays are a “home away from home.” Many host families have had international students in the past, so some hosts tend to view relationships with students strictly as a source of additional income. The Study Center attempts to locate hosts who will welcome students into their homes and relate to them on a social level, although this cannot always be the case.
The ILP homestay is arranged between the Study Center and the host, not between you and the host. Therefore, report homestay difficulties to the Study Center during the ILP.
After the ILP, room and board will not be included in your UCEAP fees. You will need to determine with your host or landlord how payments will be handled.
Following the ILP, you may choose to remain in the originally assigned ILP household or you may seek different accommodations.
There is a short break between the end of the ILP and the beginning of the semester, it is recommended that you stay in your homestay housing for another month following the ILP so that you have a "home base" if you choose to travel during your break and don't want to carry around all of your belongings. Since you will not have your final course registration set for the regular semester right after the ILP ends, it may also be advantageous for you to delay your move until you know where your classes will be located in the city. You can then find housing that is located in a more convenient area for your daily commute to your classes.
At the end of the spring ILP, housing prices tend to increase because regular Chilean students are returning to the university after summer break. All options will be discussed further upon arrival at orientation.
Your Options include:
- Renting a room in a Chilean home
- Sharing an apartment or house with other students (preferably Chilean)
- Renting a room in a pensión (boarding house)
If you really want to learn about Chilean culture, the Study Center staff in Chile strongly recommends living with a Chilean family or living in a pensión with other Chilean students. In a pensión, you can expect to have your own room while sharing the bathroom and other facilities with Chilean students. Breakfast and light dinners may be included, depending on what you negotiate.
UCEAP alumni highly recommend finding housing close to campus; however, this is not always possible and many students commute via public transportation. Santiago is a large city, but it is well connected via public transportation (a clean subway system and extensive bus routes). Expect the cost of commuting to be around US$150 per month.
Renting an apartment with other students can provide more personal freedom, but can be more expensive than living with a family. In addition, finding a suitable apartment can take some time and can require considerable deposits. Chilean students do not generally return to Santiago and seek roommates until March or April; thus, if you want to rent an apartment with Chilean students, you will need to stay in a pensión temporarily until you can locate Chilean roommates.
UCEAP discourages sharing living quarters with other UC or American students. Although living with other UCEAP students can be comforting, it tends to limit social contacts and language acquisition.
Tips for Living in a Chilean Home
There is probably no better way to be immersed in Chilean culture than to share everyday life with a family, although there are some adjustments to consider:
- You may not have lived with your own family in a few years.
- Conforming to someone else’s rules, especially if they appear strict, may be a strain. Homestay families may set curfews, restrict your house guests, or have different rules governing use of the phone, food, and utilities.
- You need to be flexible. The burden of adapting is on you, not on the host family.
- The homestay is intended to be a mutually convenient social arrangement, a cultural experience, and a financial agreement between you and the host family.
- Being in a family setting, it is imperative to take into account local customs as families come to know you personally. Ideally, you can become part of the family, but to do so requires time, patience, sensitivity, negotiation, and understanding. A perfect match is not always possible. Dialogue and consideration are usually the best vehicles for good results.
The primary purpose of living with a host family 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 family requests that you speak English, you may want to work out a reciprocal arrangement and occasionally speak in English to help your host family with the language. However, you must remain committed to developing your Spanish language skills.
There may be some unspoken conditions and responsibilities to a homestay involving everything from use of the kitchen to possible curfews. To avoid any confusion, you must communicate with your host family and consider the following:
- Do not expect to have free rein in the home; stricter customs may make you feel like a guest in your Chilean home.
- Manners are important; occasionally bring your host family a small gift and remember to offer compliments when appropriate.
- Remember that many Chileans smoke in the house.
- Neatness counts! Make your bed.
- Alcohol or drug abuse will not be tolerated. You may be asked to leave by your host family or be dismissed from the program.
- During the ILP, your room will be fully furnished. You may need towels and sheets if you move to an apartment on your own.
- Find out if you will be issued keys to the house and if your family expects you to be home at a certain time of night.
- Ask about your rights and responsibilities concerning the bathroom facilities. If possible, set up a schedule, especially for the morning.
- Find out how many meals per day you will receive. What should be done if you know you will miss a meal? What should you do if you miss a meal unintentionally? Discuss any special dietary needs and scheduled meal times. Inquire about access to the kitchen and the household’s food. Vegetarians must be flexible.
- Learn who is responsible for doing the laundry.
- Ask if you are allowed to have guests, including overnight guests. Discuss parties and social gatherings in the home.
- Remember to always inform the host family about any trips out of town and times when you may expect to arrive home late, in case of an emergency.
- Make sure you understand how payment for room and board is to be made. When is payment due? During the ILP, your housing payment is included in your UCEAP fees. If you stay with your host family after the ILP, you need to know how payments will be handled.
- The telephone is generally an expensive utility so you will have limited use of the family telephone for personal calls. Ask your host family about the use of the phone and how to reimburse the family for phone bills, then follow the set guidelines. When the program is over, leave some money to cover charges that have not yet been paid. Be prepared to take a phone card or buy one in Chile, or purchase a cell phone.
- Do not leave lights, computers, or other items running when not in use. Check with your host family regarding use of heat, etc.
- Moderate water usage is highly recommended. Talk with your host family early on about a bathroom schedule.
Report difficulties to Study Center staff if they occur. Air your concerns immediately to avoid having a small incident build up into a major annoyance. Something that causes you distress may be the result of a cultural misunderstanding that the Study Center may be able to help explain.
Chileans typically eat three or four meals a day, with lunch constituting the main meal (usually served between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.).
In general, Chilean food is basic and simply seasoned. It is heavily based on red meat, rice, and potatoes. Popular dishes include seafood, corn cakes, empanadas, beans, and corn pies. 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. Outside of Santiago, however, Chilean, Chinese, and Italian food are the most common.
Methods of Travel
The UCEAP Student Budget does not includes funds for recreational travel.
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
, run regular daily flights.
Travel Sign-out reminder: Any time you leave 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.
Bus Terminal Information
Av. Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins 3750
(Universidad de Santiago Metro Station, Line 1)
Destinations: North, South, and Coast
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
According to Chilean visa laws, you are not allowed to work while in Chile.
You are encouraged to participate in cultural activities while abroad, including visits to museums, monuments, performances, theater and musical events, and tours. The Study Center can provide information about cultural and social events. In order to integrate more fully into the local community, you are urged to:
- Become involved in extracurricular activities
- Join clubs, sports, musical, theater, or art groups
- Provide volunteer services to social organizations
- Participate in athletic events and religious activities
- Attend lectures, discussions, and receptions in academic and community circles
- Participate in an internship
Santiago itself is a large international city that offers many activities. Art galleries and museums, opera, movie theaters, and architecturally and culturally unique urban and suburban neighborhoods offer much to see and do. Popular sites include:
- The Municipal Theater
- Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro with its art galleries and antique stores
- The Royal Customs Building (Museum of pre-Columbian Art)
- Palace of Justice, Manso de Velasco’s House
- The San Cristobal Hill Metropolitan Park, which includes a zoo, two swimming pools, picnic areas, restaurants, and the Enoteca Restaurant
Fun shopping areas include the downtown area between Miraflores and Amunategui streets and Av. B. O’Higgins and Santo Domingo Street; and Providencia Avenue, including, among others, chic boutiques on Suecia, General Holley, Los Leones, and Ricardo Lyon streets. In the eastern area there are some shopping centers, including Panorámico, Apumanque, Parque Arauco, and Altolas Condes.
At the Pontifical Catholic University you can participate in sports at a competitive, educational, or recreational level. Available athletic activities include aerobics, basketball, gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), judo, mountain climbing, physical training, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball, and weight training. A variety of athletic facilities are available, including six soccer pitches, twelve tennis courts, ten lighted all-purpose fields, two tracks, one lighted hockey field, one heated pool, eight locker rooms, one physical therapy clinic, and a two-story gymnasium.
The University of Chile has more limited recreation facilities.
Both universities have intramural teams in a variety of sports. Private health clubs are available in Santiago, but membership fees are somewhat expensive. Skiing and hiking are but two of the general recreational activities available in the surrounding areas.
Students with Disabilities
While in Chile, students with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from the United States. While steps are being taken to improve conditions for persons with disabilities, many public places are not adapted to accommodate these needs. For information on handicap accessible locations in Santiago and other locations in Chile, you can visit MapCity.com
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.
Both male and female same-sex relationships are legal in Chile but it doesn't recognize same-sex couples unions. For more information, refer to Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual (MOVILH).
For more information,
In addition to the on-site orientation at the beginning of the program, additional excursions may be provided by the Study Center to enrich your study abroad experience throughout the semester. These may include:
- A field trip to El Teniente copper mine, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the world’s largest underground mine.
- A visit to Villa Grimaldi Park for Peace, a human rights monument.
- Other small group excursions throughout the term (check with the Study Center once you are in Chile to learn more about available offerings). Some possibilities may include the Ruta de Poetas, a visit to a Mapuche indigenous village, and a trip to Pomaire (small ceramics town).
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.
Meet with a travel health specialist before departure from the U.S. to get any vaccines and advice you need before your trip. Going at least 4–6 weeks before you travel is best, so that any travel vaccines you need have time to take effect and you have plenty of time to get vaccines that require more than one dose. If you need travel vaccines, your campus health insurance plan may cover them if you have campus insurance. Talk to your campus insurance office at Student Health before your coverage expires. The UCEAP travel insurance doesn't not cover travel vaccines or preventive care.
Medical services in Chile are relatively modern and similar to what one would find in the U.S. Hospitals with ambulance services and pharmacies exist throughout Chile, with the greatest numbers located in Santiago. 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.
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, contact the UCEAP Study Center immediately. On-site staff members are your first point of contact in Santiago, and can provide you with references to doctors, dentists, and clinics, as necessary.
Contact Information and Location of Hospitals where you can get care.
Avda. Manquehue Norte 1499, Vitacura, Santiago
Phones: (56-2) 210 1111, (56-2) 210 18 00
Emergency: (56-2) 910 7700
Fax: (56-2) 210 1214
Clínica Santa María
Avda. Santa Maria 0500
Urgencias: Bellavista 0415- Santiago
Front Desk - (56-2) 2913 0000
Emergency: (56-2) 2913 1109
While in Chile, you may experience health problems related to altitude, climate extremes, and change of diet. Approaching the Tropic of Capricorn, sun and heat can be difficult, particularly at high altitudes. Cholera is present in some areas of the Southern Cone. Observe the safe drinking water precautions.
Food and beverage precautions are essential to reduce the likelihood of illness.
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.
- Prescription medications should not be mailed from the U.S. They may be opened at Chilean customs and will not be delivered to you. Customs always opens packages.
- If your prescription is not available in Chile, plan on bringing enough medication for the length of your stay.
- Take a copy of your doctor’s prescription with you so that it can be considered by a local health practitioner in Chile.
- Travel with a letter from your doctor, preferably translated into Spanish, that lists the active ingredients of the medication, your diagnosis and treatment.
- Always transport your medications in their original containers and in your carry-on luggage.
- If carrying syringes or needles, be sure to carry a physician’s letter documenting their medical necessity.
- 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.
Air quality in Santiago is among the worst in the world and is exacerbated by periodic thermal inversions and smog during the winter months (May through August). Dust is problematic during the summer months. Individuals with pulmonary, cardiac, or asthmatic problems may be considerably impaired. Complications from air pollution may include cough, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or chest pain. You can minimize the risk by staying indoors, avoiding outdoor exercise, and drinking plenty of fluids.
If you have chronic health conditions, include this information on the homestay questionnaire and consult with your physician regarding precautions before departure. Make sure your condition is noted on your UCEAP Health Clearance. Keep this in mind when choosing a neighborhood for your residence in Santiago.
Smog will present a source of irritation for everyone. Santiago is in a valley, so the smog from factories and cars gets trapped in the valley and the air becomes polluted. Jogging outdoors is not recommended during the Chilean winter months (May–August) due to the poor air quality. Additional information on air quality levels is available at the National Air Quality Information Service
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.
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).
The ozone layer is especially thin over parts of Chile. Take precautions to protect yourself from ultraviolet radiation.
Be Responsible for Your Security: Avoid Becoming a Victim
- 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 when 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.
- Crime is a problem as in all large cities around the world. Beware of thieves and pickpockets. Constantly watch your belongings. Avoid talking on your cell phone or wearing headphones when walking down the street. Keep your camera concealed. Be cautious, especially when you are alone. Walk in groups whenever possible.
- 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.
- Keep copies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, etc.) in a separate, safe place.
- Remain alert in public or crowded places. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Have a buddy system: Travel in groups of three or more, and never walk alone at night.
- Have a cell phone, charged and turned on, with you at all times so that you can be reached quickly in the event of an emergency.
- Practice safe drinking. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation.Being under the influence of alcohol increases the likelihood of being a victim of crime.
- Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn't the best place to be.
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 Study Center 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.
Chile experiences occasional blackouts, where electricity and cell phone communication is interrupted for several hours. The frequency of blackouts likely will rise due to limited energy resources. Ensure that you have a flashlight in the event that you experience a blackout.
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.
Study abroad, like most other things in life, involves risks. You and your family have a role to play in minimizing potential dangers, and UCEAP expects you to participate actively in minimizing your risks while abroad.
- 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.
However, UCEAP makes reasonable efforts to establish a safe environment in its programs abroad, and to counsel students on potential risks and necessary precautions.
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.
Most people visit Chile without incident. The security environment is generally safe, and there is comparatively less violent crime experienced in Chile than other Latin American countries. Nevertheless, street crime, telephone scams, and residential break-ins are common, especially in Santiago,Valparaiso, Antofagasta, and Iquique.
Be alert for pick-pocketing, purse and camera snatching, and thefts from backpacks and rental cars. Petty crime is common in major tourist destinations, in hotel lobbies and restaurants, near ATM machines/banks, internet cafes, at bus and subway stations, and in cruise ship ports. Exercise caution when touring Cerro Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal,Mercado Central, Plaza de Armas, Bellavista, and Barrio Lastarria as pick-pocketing and muggings occur frequently in these areas. Criminals usually work in groups and employ a variety of ruses to distract and victimize unsuspecting visitors. One trick is for someone to spray mustard or another substance on the tourist from a distance. A pickpocket will then approach the tourist offering to help clean the stain, and while doing so, s/he or an accomplice robs the victim.
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.
There is an increasing risk to the public from explosive and incendiary devices randomly placed in public spaces throughout Santiago. These devices have been found recently at ATM’s, metro stations, and churches. Anarchist groups often claim responsibility for these acts, and the Chilean government investigates these incidents as acts of terrorism. Remain vigilant and avoid suspicious packages or unattended backpacks in public areas as well as on public transportation in Santiago. If a suspicious object is encountered, move away from the area and alert authorities immediately.
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 occur frequently. Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable. Labor strikes can be sources of risk as well; striking workers have been known to block roads and throw rocks in rare cases.
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
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.
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment
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, acoording 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.
member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University
prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other
prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/or
University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively
to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to
prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that
violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to
UCEAP staff and/or partners if you suspect one of these
behaviors has occurred.
Chile is located in a highly seismically-active zone known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. As a result, earthquakes in coastal Chile are common. Several of the strongest earthquakes in history have occurred in Chile. Prepare yourself for a natural disaster by consulting the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
and Chile's oficina.
Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently, and without warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake. Previous earthquakes in Chile have caused death, injury, and extensive damage to buildings as well as electrical power outages and breaks in phone service. The likelihood of experiencing an earthquake during your stay is no more likely than what would be expected in California.
Chilean Building Codes
As is the case in the U.S., Chilean architects and civil engineers (many trained and educated in the U.S.) design buildings in Chile to withstand earthquakes. After the Great Chilean Earthquake in 1960, the government of Chile enacted stringent building codes to ensure that new buildings in the country are earthquake resistant. Local authorities enforce these building codes.
There is a likelihood that you will experience an earthquake and/or aftershocks. Be prepared for an earthquake.
How to Prepare:
- Identify hazards in your home.
- Make a plan: Identify safe places in and out of the home. If you live in an apartment building, learn the emergency evacuation plan that is in place for the building.
- Survive: Drop, cover, and hold on. If you are inside a building, go immediately to one of your identified safe places, duck down and hold on. After the shaking stops, exit by stairways only, and watch for fallen debris. If you are outside, do not go back into the building.
- Travel with a flashlight (battery operated or hand crank).
- Have a portable AM/FM or short-wave radio (battery operated or hand crank).
- Have non-perishable food items and ample bottled water.
- Have a whistle with you at all times to signal for help.
- Familiarize yourself with all earthquake shelters.
- Know where money, credit cards, identity documents, and travel documents are located.
- Know where personal medication is located; wear a medical alert identification bracelet if needed.
- Communicate: After the earthquake, call your family in the U.S. and the UCEAP Study Center immediately to report on your welfare.
- Follow all regular earthquake precautions as you would in California.
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
Carry the local emergency contact information at all times.
U.S. Department of State Consular Affairs
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
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.