Expectations vs reality of a CIEE student in Santiago

Programs for this blog post

January in Santiago

Authored By:

CIEE Santiago

Author: Parker Reyes.

During May, we had the pleasure of welcoming Capstone scholar students from the University of South Carolina, who came to Chile as part of their Information Literacy class. This is one of their journal reflections on his first few days in Santiago.<!--break-->

Finishing our first day of tours and adventures, I have mixed expectations of the trip. When I read the itinerary and attended the CIEE orientation, I felt as though I had a good idea of the Chilean people and what we would be doing while here. Being the end of day 2, I can confidently say that the CIEE staff and our guides are genuine people who we can trust and have fun with. They are very knowledgeable and what they aren’t knowledgeable about, they find out in order to assist us in our research and general questions. The city is much bigger than I expected, in terms of population and city size. I think it’s so cool how they have mountains and beaches in driving distance. It’s different than any other cities I’ve been to. I didn’t expect the smog to be as bad but it makes sense because of the mountains and number of people who live here. I expected it to be more sketchy but I feel comfortable walking here and I feel like I can fit in. I’m excited to spend more time here and enjoy what Chile has to offer.

Parker Reyes
University of South Carolina 2026.