Every semester thousands of students from all over the world come to Chile and study abroad. There are plenty of options for all types of budgets in the city. It can seem overwhelming as you get started to choose the place you’re going to live for your semester abroad. Here is what you should know:
Choosing the Right Neighborhood:
Santiago is a huge city. Half of the country population lives in this metropolitan city. It can take you over an hour to get from place to place during non-rush hour times. Don’t even get us started about to explain what rush hour looks like on public transportation. Hint: it’s horrible, the viejitas, (old ladies) will elbow and wiggle their way in. No, its not cute.
Find the balance between Practical and Fun
Take a look at where your university is located. Most universities are located near the Centro area, or downtown area. This area can also stretch between 8 metro stations so this generalization might not be helpful. Universities don’t offer housing/dorms like universities would offer back in the U.S.A or in the U.K. You can always reach out to your student center in your university and ask which areas are best or if they have any contact or option of housing that previous students have stayed in semester’s before.
Another thing to look out for is to think about your personal social life. Is having a local bar walking distance important to you? Do you plan on partying on the weekends or maybe the occasional night out during the week? Providencia is a great location, specifically in the Italia, Manuel Montt, and Pedro de Valdivia areas. This is one of the most popular areas for students to live in as it’s really close to the Metro red line and main roads of the city to easily connect to other neighborhoods. There are plenty of bars and nightlife, and lots of green space to talk.
If you plan on doing a lot of weekend getaways, being close to a bus terminal would be important. Santiago Centro or Santa Lucia would be a good option. Barrio Brasil is one of the historic neighborhoods and also has the largest amount of student housings in the city. You’re right in the middle of everything; two metro lines, museums, street art, bus terminals, and closer to the airport.
Types of housing:
This is a good option if your one of those people who need to see the city and get a feel of different neighborhoods before making a semester-long decision. Our friends at Hostel Providencia told us that at the beginning of every semester they receive lots of students and they usually stay for about two weeks. Sometimes it even works out that they help each other out with finding more permanent housing or even end up rooming up together in a furnished apartment. Average prices of night stay is 10.000 CLP per person in any hostel in Chile and most come with breakfast included.
This is a great option for those who want a little more privacy and have a place that feels like home. Since the apartment already has everything that you might need, you just need to arrive with your suitcases. There are all types of furnished apartments; solo, two bedrooms each with a private bathroom and even up to four bedrooms and shared bathroom. The options are pretty much endless and you can find a furnished room just about anywhere in the city. You can gather up the friends you need or some apartments can be looking for someone to fill just one room. Price ranges can fluctuate anywhere from 180.000-500.000 per month per person. Average price will be around 280.000 CLP per month, per person.
Location is a huge factor on price for these apartments and they will be a little more expensive than an unfurnished apartment. We wouldn’t recommend getting into this headache especially since you will be here for just a semester and landlord usually ask for people who have contacts, jobs, and generally a different target group other than students.
These houses are perfect for, you guessed it, students. Why? Because your just renting a room in a huge house. Yes, there is less privacy but there are still lots of benefits. Our friends at Housing Horizonte have been around for years in the Barrio Brasil Area. They tell us that you create a family with the other students living in the house. You party together, eat together, and go to the class almost always at the same time, even if you’re studying in different universities. These houses are usually home french style colonial homes that have been refurbished and designed with student’s needs in mind. Renting a room is cheaper than renting an entire apartment or a furnished apartment and average prices are around 200.000 CLP per person/per month with everything such as wifi, shared common rooms and plenty of kitchen space included.
Other Tips for Living in Santiago
Moving to another country to start a brand new adventure can be overwhelming but with these few tips, hopefully, your time adjustment to Santiago will be an easy one so you can get right to enjoying the city!
-Don’t walk alone at night. This is a general rule of thumb anywhere you were, especially after 11pm.
-Please be careful with taxis. Whenever you can, use your favorite ride-share app.
-If you feel something is off with a person on the street, avoid them. Just like any downtown area in a major metropolitan city like Santiago, homeless people or people looking for drugs is a common occurrence and it’s pretty common to be asked for a money, food, anything really.
-Don’t be “that foreign exchange student”. We see it every semester and It’s pretty easy to spot out a foreigner especially when they are screaming at the top of their lungs in another language that’s not Spanish. Try to get to know Chileans. They are pretty welcoming people but need a bit of warming up. Once you’re in, they’ll love you forever.
Hopefully, these options will give you an understanding of where to live. Enjoy the city and let us know if you need help with anything else during your time in Chile!