Navigate Up
Sign In
Travel Resources
Santiago, Chile
Approx. Time Difference
March–October: +3 hours
October–March: +5 hours
Socio-Ecological Sustainability in Southern Chile

   – Fall

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.

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.

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.
Your UCEAP Network

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).

Contact Information

Program Advisor
Faith Curtis
Phone: (805) 893-4138; E-mail:
Program Specialist
Ann Rotlisberger
Phone: (805) 893-4138; E-mail:

Academic Staff
Monica Rocha

Rachel Ogletree

Phone: (805) 893-2712

Student Finance Accountant
Karen Quintana
Phone: (805) 893-4812; E-mail:
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583

UCEAP Online

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.
Connect with us! Join our Facebook network via the UCEAP Chile page.

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 welcom you to Santiago, advise you on academic matters, and help you prepare for the transition to Villarrica..
Programa Universidad de California PUC-CHILE
Campus Oriente
Ave. Jaime Guzmán 3300
Providencia Santiago, Chile
Cristián Ricci, UCEAP Faculty Director
Study Center Phone (calling from Chile): (56-2) 354-5160

Once you arrive in Villarrica, the Program Coordinator from PUC--Villarrica Campus will be available to assist with housing, cultural activities, and related questions.

Socio-Ecological Program in Southern Chile for UC
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile -- Campus Villarrica
Bernardo O'Higgins 501
Villarrica, IX Región
(56 45) 241 1830

TBD, Program Coordinator
(56-45) xxxxx

Phone Number Codes

U.S. international code: 011 (dial this to call from the U.S.)
Chile country code: 56
Santiago city code: 2
Villarrica city code: 45

Approximate Time Difference

March–October: 3 hours
October–March: 5 hours
Academic Information
Program Overview

Course Format

The Socio-Ecological Sustainability Program offers five courses that have been carefully planned to work together and provide not only multidisciplinary material but a range of experience as well. Reading, writing, field research, and a planning exercise are all closely coordinated into the academic offering. Some of the courses will run during the length of the program, one or two will be intense and offered during a limited period. The group planning project occurs near the end of the program in order that you can take advantage of everything that you have learned to that point.

In addition to the setting in Villarrica itself, there will be several trips to National Parks in southern Chile to explore different natural settings and consider the different impacts of nearby human settlements.

All students must take all five courses; these will be offered on the PUC-Villarrica campus or in the surrounding field-site areas.

Survival Spanish 

Although the courses in Villarrica will be taught in English, the program begins in Santiago where you will have two weeks of Spanish language instruction to help you adjust to your new country and pick up some basic communication skills.
The UC Study Center also organizes a team of Chilean students to help you get acquainted with local customs. These hermanos may accompany you on some field trips, but mostly they will be available to help with such basic tasks as figuring out cell phones, how to manage transportation, and introducing Chile from the student perspective. 
Academic Culture
Once you get to Villarrica, you should be prepared for an intense and amazing academic experience. The professors who put this program together feel strongly about the program themes. They are living in this location because of their loyalty to it and their desire to sustain the natural setting and the quality of human life there. Most have advanced degrees from universities in the UK, the US, or Canada, so their English will be easy for you to understand. But they have returned to Villarrica because it is important to them. Their expectations will be high.

The program will expose you to a wide range of ecosystems as you travel from one area of southern Chile to another. You will make several trips to National Parks where environments will include mountains, rivers, volcanic settings, temperate forest and lakes. These trips will include strenuous outdoor activities such as hiking. Research projects will involve forests, fields, rivers, animals or insects, and interactions with different social groups as well. Group dynamics will also be important within your UC student troupe and important projects will involve teamwork.

Course Information
The program begins with intensive Spanish language instruction worth 2 UC quarter units (equivalent to 1.3 semester units) of UC credit. Field methods is worth 2.5 quarter units and the remaining content courses are worth 5.0 UC quarter units (equivalent to 3.3 semester units) of UC credit.
The content courses that take place in Villarica are:
  • Latin American Biodiversity Conservation (cross-listed under Biological Sciences, Environmental Studies)
  • Territory, Interculturality and Education for Sustainability (cross-listed under Sociology, Anthropology, Education)
  • Conservation of Forest Ecosystems and Wildlife (cross-listed under Biological Sciences, Environmental Studies)
  • Planning for Local Sustainability in a Global Age (cross-listed under Environmental Studies, Urban Studies)
  • Field Methods for Examining Social-Ecological Systems (cross-listed under Sociology, Geography, Environmental Studies)
Course information and sample syllabi are located on the Program page of the UCEAP website.


All courses will be pre-populated into your MyEAP Study List before your arrival and you will be expected to confirm your subject area selections and Spanish language level once you are on-site. Either the Chile Study Center staff or the UCEAP Academic Specialists in California will send instructions on the UC registration process to the email address listed in your MyEAP account. Be sure that you read and respond to all e-mails regarding the registration process.

It is important that you meet all deadlines provided for submitting your registration. The information that appears on your MyEAP Study List (subject areas, grade options and units) is what will appear on your official UC transcript.

Questions about UC registration of courses, UC units, and related advising concerns may be directed to either the Study Center Coordinators or the UCEAP Academic Specialists. See the "Your UCEAP Network" section above for contact information.


All students complete a full-time course of study while abroad.

You will be enrolled in six courses to meet the program requirement of 24.5 quarter units (equivalent to 16.3 semester units) of UC credit.
  • You may select one content course for pass/no pass. Additionally, you may opt to take the Spanish course for pass/no pass credit.
  • You must take all courses for their maximum unit value -- the variable unit option is not available on this program.
Grades for this program will be available in early to late-January to early-February for the fall semester. 
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.
Extending UCEAP Participation

Cultural Awareness
Educate Yourself
Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before departure. Travel guides and travel-related websites such as Lonely, 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.
Your professors in Villarrica will be expecting that you have a general background in wildlife conservation and biodiversity in Latin America. If this is not the case, you should read up on these topics.
Cultural Differences

Social Interactions

Chilean culture is very family-oriented with large extended family networks. Extended family life is an important component of Chilean society. Selecting the homestay option for your housing will be one way to enter into the social and cultural networks of Villarrica. Because you will not have any Chilean students in your classes, casual encounters with people your age may be somewhat less expected.
In your initial 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.

In addition to the mestizo Chileans that form the majority of the population, in Villarrica and the surrounding area you will also encounter and have opportunities to interact with the indigenous Mapuche community both in their settlement and with the students on the Villarrica campus. You may also note the number of families of German and other European immigrants in the area. In some cases, they will be your homestay hosts.

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

Pre-Departure 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.

Arrival Instructions

See detailed arrival information in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist. Print and take the arrival instructions sheet with you to Santiago.
Early Arrival
If you arrive early and need a place to stay, the Study Center recommends the following local hostels:
Hostel Happy House
Moneda 1829, Barrio Brasil (Metro los Heroes)
Telephone number: 56-2-6884849
Hostal Providencia at Ave. Vicuña MacKenna 92
You are still required to arrive at Campus Oriente by the time specified in your Arrival Instructions.

On-Site Orientation

Participation in the on-site orientation activities in Santiago, Chile is mandatory.
  • All costs of the orientation are included in UCEAP fees.
  • There will also be an orientation when you arrive in Villarrica.

Arrival Instructions to Villarrica

  • All students are advised that they must arrive on September 20 following the week-long break. Arrival before that date is not recommended due to the holidays and the potential lack of hostel or hotel space.
  • The Study Center in Santiago may arrange group travel to Villarrica, depending on how students are planning to spend the week break. There will be more information about this in the Pre-Departure Checklist.
  • There will be a reception and orientation in Villarrica on September 20.
Travel Planning
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.

Travel Tips

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 Villarrica.
  • 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.
Travel Documents
You can find information about passports, entry requirements or visas, and other required documents in your Pre-Departure Checklist and the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.​

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 Berkeley, contact the Undocumented Student Program

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
Packing Tips
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.


  • Documents (passport, visa, etc.)
  • Coat
  • Sweater and other warm clothes that can be layered for September and October
  • Rain gear (parka, rain boots, etc., for September-October)
  • Prescription medication (travel with your prescription medication in your carry-on luggage. See the Health chapter in this guide for more info.)
  • Shoes or boots with adequate anke support that protext from insect and animal bites (take what you might wear on a backpacking trip.)
  • Day-pack (essential for field trips)
  • Flash drives
  • Field notebook, writing materials
  • Headlamp or small flashlight


  • Laptop
  • 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., Biodiversity in Latin America, 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 Villarrica will vary significantly, even though you are only there for one semester. In general, the weather will be cool during the day and cold at night when you arrive, and will get warmer as the months go by. There will also be less rain as you move through the months.
Most Chilean homes and apartments do not have central heating, so the use of a gas space heater is common in Santiago. In Villarrica the most common heating system is wood-burning stoves, which can produce very smokey air. The air quality will improve as the weather warms up.

Electrical Items

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.
Financial Information
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.
Carefully review your UCEAP Program Budget.
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.
Handling Money Abroad
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.

ATM Card

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.
Financial Aid Students

Financial Aid

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.
Communications Abroad
Internet Access

Computer Access & Use

  • You are encouraged to bring your own laptop if possible, although it is not essential.
  • The PUC-Villarrica Campus has reliable internet access, as well most of the host families.

  • Internet Cafés
Internet cafés are 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 most, but not all. 
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: October–March: +4 hours

Cell Phones

Students are required to have a cell phone with a local number while in Chile. 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. It will be easiest to work out your phone situation while you are in Santiago.

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; the area code for Villarrica is 45. If calling Chile from the U.S., first dial 011-56.
Mail & Shipments


  • An ordinary letter sent anywhere in Chile costs about U.S. $0.10. An airmail letter costs U.S. $0.40 to the U.S. and $0.50 to other international destinations. Aerogrammes are U.S. $0.60.
  • Letters and postcards may take several weeks to deliver, although there are express services that offer two-day service.
  • Regardless of reliability of mail delivery, do not have important documents, checks, cash, or electronic items sent by mail.
  • Have mail sent to the UCEAP Study Center address if you believe it will arrive during the first two weeks of the program. Mail can be addressed to you at:
    Programa Universidad de California
    PUC-CHILE, Campus Oriente
    Ave. Jaime Guzmán 3300
    Providencia Ñuñoa
    Santiago, Chile
    Be sure to include “Universidad de California,” otherwise mail may first go to numerous other campus departments.Once you have finalized your housing arrangements in Villarrica, you may receive mail there.
  • Packages sent to you from the U.S. should be sent certified or registered, or through an express service so the items can be tracked. A number of special mail couriers (FedEx, DHL, Chilexpress) are available.
  • Contents should be clearly listed on the outside. If contents are not listed, customs will open the package, which will delay delivery.
  • Avoid having electronic goods or other expensive new items sent. These items attract customs scrutiny, and are subject to high fees.
  • Items intended for your personal use should not include price tags (new items that include price tags will be held with the assumption that they are intended for resale in Chile). This applies to clothing and shoes as well—advise your family or friends about this before the goods are shipped to you.
  • Small packages that properly indicate the contents are generally delivered without a problem (unless the contents include food). Large packages going through customs may have to be picked up at a special post office.
Housing & Meals
Where Will I Live?

ILP Housing

During the Survival Spanish Program in Santiago, which lasts for the first two weeks of the program, you will live in a prearranged homestay, the cost of which 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.
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 Santiago 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 first two weeks.

Villarrica Housing

There is a week-long break between the Santiago and Villarrica segments of the program. You will be free to travel but you should think about this in advance. The week is vacation for most Chileans in celebration of patriotic holidays, so many people will be traveling and accommodations may be more crowded than usual.
Your housing questionnaire will also be used to arrange your housing in Villarrica.

Your Options include:

  • Renting a room in a Chilean home
  • Sharing a cabin with three or more students


If you really want to learn about Chilean culture, UCEAP strongly recommends living with a Chilean family. Three meals a day will be provided by your hosts in Villarrica.


Sharing a cabin with other students can provide more personal freedom, but will be more expensive than living with a family. Breakfast will be provided, but you will need to buy and cook the other meals of the day.
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. In Villarrica, there are many host families who speak English which may make basic communication easier for all.
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 the Program Coordinator 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.

Bring your own hot sauce.

Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation

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 and Sky, run regular daily flights.
Travel Sign-out reminder: Any time you leave Santiago/Villarrica 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.

Santiago Bus Terminal Information

Terminal Alameda

Av. Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins 3750
(Universidad de Santiago Metro Station, Line 1)
Phone: 02-776-2424
Destinations: North, South, and Coast
Recommended because this terminal has the best two bus lines: Tur-Bus and Pullman Bus

Terminal de Buses Santiago

Av. Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins 3850
(Universidad de Santiago Metro Station, Line 1
Phone: 02-376-1750
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)
Phone: 02-420-0099
Destinations: North and South

Villarrica Travel Information

There are also several bus companies that operate out of Villarrica both to other locations in Southern Chile as well as to Argentina. Before planning any travel, wait to see your course syllabi since trips to several National Parks are already planned as part of the instruction.

Extracurricular Activities
 According to Chilean visa laws, you are not allowed to work while in Chile.

Get Involved

You are encouraged to participate in cultural activities while abroad, including visits to museums, monuments, performances, theater and musical events, and tours. During your two weeks in Santiago, there will be a full calendar of events planned for you.

Villarrica offers far more outdoor activites than Santiago, given the lakeside boardwalk and nearby woods. The neighboring city of Pucón is a tourist center that offers certain attractions, but all are also available in Villarrica in a more down-to-earth way.
Students with Disabilities
​While in Chile, students with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from the United States. 
For more information:
Travel Sign-out Form

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.
Working Abroad
LGBTIQ Students

​For more information,
UCEAP Insurance

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

Personal Property Insurance
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.
Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities
There are a variety of medical facilities in Villarrica and the neighboring cities. Given the number of tourists that frequent the area during high season, most will be accustomed to treatment of non-residents.




Hospital de Villarrica
Calle San Martin Nº 460
Tel. 45 25 55250
Consultorio Municipal de Villarrica
Caupolican Nº 2001
Tel: 45 24 19066 or 45 24 13222

CESFAM Los Volcanes
Segunda Faja al Volcan Nº 800
Tel: 45 24 13310 or 45 24 16286
Consultorio Municipal Lican Ray
Cacique Marichanquin Nº0215
Lican Ray
Tel: 45 24 31776

PUCON (34 minutes east of Villarrica)


Hospital San Francisco Pucón
Uruguay 325 - Casilla 5D Pucón
Tel: 45 22 90400
Centro de Salud Familiar Pucón
Pasaje Kachele Nº 200
Tel: 45 24 41027 or 45 22 93100
Monday through Thursday: 8:00 to 17:00
Friday 8:00 to 16:00
Centro Comunitario de Salud Familiar - Pucón Oriente
Rio Claro s/n
Tel: 9 881 88655
Monday through Thursday: 8:00 to 17:00
Friday: 8:00 to 16:00

TEMUCO (1 hour 15 minutes north of Villarrica)


Hospital Dr. Hernan Henriquez Aravena
Calle Manuel Montt 115
Tel: 45 25 59000
Hospital Clinico Universidad Mayor
Avenida Gabriela Mistral Nº 0195
Tel: 45 23 10200
Clinica Alemana Temuco
Avenida Senador Estebanez Nº 645
Tel: 45 22 01201
Physical Health

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


  • 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 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.

Before Departure

  • 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, Read more in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health section.

Mental Health
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
Health Risks
Food Allergies
Air Quality
Altitude Illness
If you plan to travel to locations above 2,440 meters (8,000 feet), inform yourself before traveling to, or hiking in altitude.  Refer to the CDC Travel to High Altitudes
Staying Safe
Minimize Risk

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

  • Familiarize yourself with all UCEAP resources and emergency support services while on UCEAP.

  • Assess your surroundings.  Learn to recognize danger.
  • Remain aware at all times. Do not walk around talking on the phone or listening to music on your headphones.

  • When entering larger venues, always decide on a meeting place with those you are with just in case you get separated. Always identify possible exits.

  • Be attentive to what is unusual or threatening. Assess reasonable and safe options. Trust your "gut feelings"; if you feel threatened, act if safe to do so and leave the area immediately. Find somewhere more secure.
  • Research potential risks you can encounter before you travel. 
  • Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking. Know your limits. In many countries beer, wine and liquor in some countries contains a higher alcohol content than similar products in the U.S. Know what you are drinking and how much alcohol it contains.
  • Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety.  This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other.  Choose your buddy wisely.  The ideal buddy should feel that the buddy system is very important. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
  • Have a communication plan. Who will you call on site if you are facing an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
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.
Read the UCEAP the Guide to Study Abroad, Safety Chapter  for more information on how to prepare to have a safe experience and access the U.S. Department of State Students Abroad website for updated travel information.
Crime & Prevention
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.
UCEAP cannot:
  • 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.
While the security environment is generally safe, street crime, carjackings, telephone scams, and residential break-ins are common, especially in Santiago, Valparaiso, Antofagasta, Calama, and Iquique. Exercise caution when touring Cerro Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal, Mercado Central, Plaza de Armas, Bellavista, and Barrio Lastarria in Santiago, or other popular tourist sites as pick-pocketing and muggings occur frequently.
Pick pocketing and muggings are common in many cities throughout Chile, particularly around well-known tourist sites, bus stations and areas visited by foreigners. Pay particular attention to your belongings in popular foreign cafes and restaurants where there has been an increase in bag theft.
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.

Police Response

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.
Civil Unrest


Demonstrations occur frequently in Santiago; occasionally elsewhere in the country. Student protests occur, causing road blocks, public transportation disruptions and confrontations with police. . 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
Do not drive. Chile has modern infrastructure. Taxis and public transportation are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. Agree to a taxi fare before embarking.
To use the public bus system in Santiago you need to obtain the prepaid “Bip” card. This card can also be used when traveling on the Santiago subway.

Pedestrian Safety

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

Street Harassment

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 onsite orientation will cover this topic in depth after you arrive in Santiago.
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.


University of California Policy

Every 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/o​r 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 the local partners and/or UCEAP staff 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.

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.
Fire Safety
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.

Security Evacuation

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.
In An Emergency

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

UCEAP strongly encourages you to follow the UCEAP Study Center safety measures and to register online with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, (STEP), before your departure from the U.S. You will need your U.S. Passport.

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 office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.