5 Surprises About Studying Abroad in Valparaiso, Chile

Haley Massad is a student at the University of Louisville and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Valparaiso, Chile.

As of the writing of this blog, I have completed one full week in the breathtaking country of Chile. Though I have traveled a lot, I’ve experienced some things in Chile that took me by surprise.


1. Chileans don’t eat dinner! Seriously?! Blasphemy, some of you are thinking. Coming from the United States where every meal is large, not eating dinner has been a huge adjustment for me – however, I am beginning to actually enjoy it! They have something they call once (on-say), like the number 11 in Spanish. Instead of eating heavy meals at night, they simply snack on breads, coffee, teas, avocado, salami, cheeses, and lots of toppings/spreads. Different, but for sure healthier than what I am accustomed to!

2. Chile is one of the amazing countries in the world where there are mountains and oceans in the exact same place. My view from my bedroom window consists of the ocean, the Andes mountains, AND a stunning view of the city as well.

3. Chilean Spanish will definitely take a week or two in which to adjust–Chileans cut off their final /s/ and occasionally their final /d/ sound as well! It’s quite different, but if you can master Chilean slang, you can do anything! And sound like a native Chilean, too!


4. Another food surprise: Chilean food is actually extremely mild. They use virtually no spices. Many think Chile got it’s name because of the chili pepper. This is far from true!

5. Chileans treat Americans just as any other Chilean citizen. When I travel in other countries, locals stare or draw attention to the fact that I am not a native. Chileans act as if I am normal part of everyday society, even when I am with the whole ISA group and it is obvious we are NOT, in fact, Chilean! It is wonderful to be embraced so fully and to feel as if I fit in here.

In one week, I have fallen madly in love with Chile. I absolutely cannot wait to see what the next three months bring! Chi-Chi-Chi, Le-le-le! Viva Chile! Nos vemos!


Want to see some amazing photos of Chile from one of our Photo Bloggers? Click here.