Bachelor of Secondary Education/Arts
Bachelor of Secondary Education/Arts

Academic experiences

I studied English and Spanish subjects, as those are my two majors. This included a Spanish Improvement class, Shakespeare and a Chilean Culture class. In general the courses were not particularly interactive or involving, however I found the standard of teaching varied greatly, do not expect UQ levels by any means (I am referring to such things as tutors taking days to respond to emails etc). The sign on is an interesting process, and my initial subject plans went out the window due to lack of vacancies/availability of courses for foreigners.

Personal experiences

 

The exchange was incredible, with the primary goal of learning to speak Spanish, I achieved that. That said, it was not without difficulty and challenge, merely being in a Spanish speaking world, even if you live with Spanish speakers, will not miraculously enable you to speak Spanish. I found even with this ideal arrangement, I needed to speak as much as possible, whenever I could to whomever I could in order to improve. You may find that you will have the same conversations using the same words and phrases with the same people, thus the necessity to speak with as many different people as possible about different subjects. Furthermore, if you wish to fully embrace the language learning aspect, I would recommend that you compliment informal conversation with more specific reading and research, such as reading books in Spanish and searching for new phrases and words.

Having chosen only 3 subjects, I was eternally able to travel, and you will find that there will often be other foreigners willing to join you. I made some of the best friends I have ever had during my brief 6 months, the environment of exchange encourages great friendships. I also improved my social skills dramatically, as I had a lot of practice socialising on the exchange, I feel more confident overall as a result.

 

Accommodation

 

I lived with a Chilean student, and a Colombian that was working in Santiago, this enabled me to immerse myself in the language. We lived in a humble apartment between the Uni campus and the central social district, thus a perfect location for me. I would recommend to those going that they try to find a location as close to Baquedano or Parque Bustamante as possible.

 

Budget

 

Before the trip I made a rough approximation of expenses that turned out to be very accurate. In my 6 months I spent $20,500, including everything (that means, even the two Spanish courses I undertook (intensive, and semestral)). I travelled extensively, passing through most of Chile, visiting Argentina several times and travelling through all of Colombia. My rent was roughly $95 a week, which you will find is quite a common price.

 

Academic development and employability

Other than my ability to speak Spanish, I found the experience has made me more aware of the thousands of different paths and opportunities that exist.

Highlight

Potential Highlights:
Weekly salsa classes followed by karaoke.
Patagonia, Los Torres del Paine - 5 day camping and trekking.
Colombia.

Top tips

I would recommend to future students participating in student exchange the following:
- Don't overload with uni work, you don't want the stress of uni to hinder your ability to enjoy yourself through travel, parties, activities etc.
- Make a conscious effort to learn/embrace the language, rather than simply drift by thinking you will come out of the experience fluent.
- The sad fact that you will eventually have to say goodbye means you should absolutely foster deep, meaningful relationships with the new foreign friends you will make.

On this site