Thoughts Before Studying Abroad: Santiago, Chile


A building somewhere in Chile

This summer, I will be studying and working abroad in Santiago, Chile through IES Abroad. At IU, you have the option to go directly through a university program. You also can find an additional organization to travel with.

When I was looking for a program, I knew I wanted a summer program in South America. Since I wanted a summer program instead of a semester or yearlong program, I soon realized that I might be limited with the choices I had. After researching programs online through the Office of Overseas Study website, and a quick visit to their office on Jordan Avenue, I was confident that this experience was a good choice for me.

I didn’t expect to have an internship abroad because I’ve never heard of this type of program before. I was excited that this type of program was available, especially in Chile. I think it’s one thing to take classes and explore the city or area as a student, but as someone working, I assume it’s obviously going to be a different experience. I feel like this experience will prepare me for future internships and jobs because I will learn how to work with people from different backgrounds and cultural understandings.

The application process is relatively simple. Since IES Abroad and IU are partners, they work together and make applying and paying for the program simple as they can. For the application, I had to submit two letters of recommendation, my résumé and cover letter for my internship, and I had to fill out a small questionnaire as well. Again, they make the process easy and there are always people, either on campus or through IES Abroad, available to help.

Once I was officially accepted into the program, I had to do two Skype video chats about where I would like to be placed for my internship. I was also asked about my Spanish speaking skills for my language class. Through this program, there is an optional language class you can take, however, IU requires you to take the class in addition to the required internship seminar. I was disappointed at first that I had to take the language class as well because I wanted to spend as much time as possible at my internship but I am excited to see what else I can learn.

Right now, I am in a sort of anxious/excited mode. I’m trying to do everything for the end of the semester, but it’s hard to also be thinking about packing and leaving for Chile as well.

My trip to Santiago begins on May 17 from Chicago and after a layover in Atlanta, I will be on my way to Santiago and arrive early on May 18.

This gives me more than a week to organize my life and see my dog after moving out of my dorm. It feels about the same as starting IU because you are in a constant state of “Oh my gosh! What am I doing with my life?” and “Oh my gosh! I’m nervous because I don’t know what to expect.”

I’m nervous that I won’t be able to understand anyone at all for the first couple weeks, which will definitely happen and I’m nervous about making sure I can get up early for my internship. Those 15 minute walks across campus every morning spoiled me. I am also excited because I want to learn more about Santiago and Chilean culture and have this wonderful experience abroad.

Please follow along through my journey in Santiago, Chile through IES Abroad! I will be blogging again when I settle in Santiago, a month into my program, when I return to the U.S. and finally when I get back to Bloomington in August.

¡Hasta luego, Bloomington!

Journalism and Spanish major, class of 2019, Director of Mental Health for Culture of Care

Hello! My name is Molly Cunningham and I am a current sophomore studying journalism (Public Relations) and Spanish. I am involved with Culture of Care and Arbutus (yearbook) and have been involved with both organizations since last year. I came to IU in order to have a Big 10 experience and in order to take advantage of all the opportunities this school and this community has to offer. There are so many things to highlight about IU and I want to be able to inspire the next generations of Hoosiers. We Are IU helped me when I was deciding on IU and I want help more current and potential Hoosiers. At IU, we strive to create a culture of care and I want to be able to encourage more people to come here and have the best experience they can have.

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