Why should I choose Chile for my year abroad?
Such a relatively small country offers so many activities for the cultural fanatic or the adventurous explorer; it’s easy to see why it attracts so many tourists each year! Although Chile is not as cheap as most of its South American neighbours, what comes with it is definitely worth the price tag – zero corruption within its police force, the possibility to slum it or travel in style, job opportunities in international companies and a university system not too different from back home. The people are friendly, all the while a little reserved, offering guidance and advice should you need it.
The transport system runs on time, buses are relatively clean and you’re in safe hands, as Chile is one of the safest places to visit in South America. Its 15 million strong population, a mix of Spanish and indigenous ancestry, is home to only a few remaining indigenous groups – most famously the 'warrior' Mapuches in the South. Although the country’s official language is Spanish (with many funny Chilean quirks and lingo), a few communities still speak in Quechua, Rapa Nui and Mapudungun – make sure you take a few courses whilst you’re out there! In spite of Chile being one of the most affluent and developed countries of South America, it’s best known for its picture perfect scenery, boasting such well-known tourist destinations as Torres del Paine, San Pedro de Atacama and Isla de Pascua – all top notch places you won’t want to miss. Important exports include the country’s rich wines and Pisco – a distilled aromatic liquor made from grapes, and a staple Chilean drink! So make sure you pack a good camera, a thick notebook and some hiking shoes for the trip of a lifetime!