Living with a Chilean Family

Host Families in Santiago

CUP Santiago student Anthony Navarrete with his host mom and brother

All students who study in Santiago are carefully placed with a host family to live with for the duration of the program. Living with a host family will give you invaluable insight into Chilean culture and will allow you to reside in Chile as a student instead of a tourist. Additionally, it will help you improve your Spanish language skills.

CUP Santiago student Ben Thompson with his host sister

Every host family has a distinct background and composition: some have adult children, some have small children, and some are just couples. Despite this, all of them love receiving foreign students and will treat you as if you were their own son or daughter. The families live in safe areas all over the city. Our goal is that students will be able to get to know the varied neighborhoods and people that make up Santiago. All houses are accessible by public transportation.

Former IFSA students often say that their host family experience was one of the most rewarding experiences during their time in Santiago. Here is what some of them had to say.

Chileans are the warmest, most hospitable people I’ve ever encountered. From the first day I met my host parents, I was made to feel like I was part of the family. I was shown the same love and care that I receive from my biological family. They were eager to help me improve my Spanish and learn about their culture. Since finishing my semester in Chile, I have returned to visit them twice. I miss them a lot and I also miss my host mom’s cooking. I have a lot of dietary restrictions but my host mom had no trouble accommodating them while still making some amazing food. There are many delicious Chilean dishes that I simply have not been able to find or replicate myself in the US. I especially miss the empanadas!

— Aaron Shoresman CUP Santiago, Spring 2005

My host family took me in as one of their children and I learned so much from them about life. I went on family trips and took part in family events. I learned to take a new perspective that has made the rest of my time in college so much more enjoyable and full of happiness. They spoiled me more than I have ever been before with food and care. I felt their love every day and I was so sad to leave them.

— Ana Maria Ramirez CUP Santiago, Spring 2009

My experience with my Chilean family was amazing! They included me in family life in every way if I wanted to be included. I’m convinced my Spanish got so much better because of the many hours I spent talking with my family every day. My host mom was so amazing- the one bad day that I had in Chile I came into the house crying and she wrote me a list of all the things that were great about me and hung it up on the wall in my room. If that doesn’t speak volumes about how great my experience with my family was, I don’t know what does.

— Paige Heisner  CUP Santiago, Fall 2009