Quest Exchange in Chile

Chile is one of South America’s most stable and prosperous nations. Its European heritage is pervasive, meaning that Western travelers here are less conspicuous than in neighboring Peru and Bolivia. For centuries, the Paris education of many Chilean intellectuals influenced the country’s art, music and architecture. Chile is a stunningly beautiful country of diverse landscapes and metropolitan cities. It boasts the San Pedro de Atacama Desert in the north, the glacial terrain in the Patagonian south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andean mountain range to the east. Chilean cuisine is characterized by excellent seafood, beef, fresh fruit and vegetables. Empanadas are popular turnover snacks with a variety of fillings. Another typical dish is lomo a lo pobre —an enormous slab of beef topped with two fried eggs and buried in fried potatoes.

Visit Patagonia, hike the Atacama, explore bustling Santiago, live in Marga Marga County near beautiful beaches and trek into the wild country in Valparaiso! All of this is possible when you choose to study in Chile!

3 Fun Facts
  • Chile has the largest annual fireworks show in all of South America, which is held in the city of Valparaiso during its famed New Year’s Pyrotechnic Festival.
  • Divorce in Chile was legalized only in 2005, and the country has one of the lowest divorce rates globally.
  • At 7,500 feet, Chile’s Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth with a landscape of surreal beauty. Some parts of the region have never received a drop of rain and the desert is probably the oldest desert on earth.
Program Dates


Early Mar – Mid Dec


Early Mar – Early July
Late July – Mid Dec


3 Months
2 Months
1 Month


The normal school day starts at 8:30 am and ends at 4.45 pm from Monday to Thursday, and at 2 pm on Friday. Because the school day is long, each 2nd-period, students have a break with lunch at 1 pm for 45 minutes to an hour. The relationship between teachers and students in Chile is formal but warm and full of respect between both parties. Students will get to school using public transportation or will be taken by the host parents, family or friends. The public transportation is pretty easy to use and relatively inexpensive.

School is split into two semesters. The first semester runs from early March to early July, and the second runs from late July to the middle of December. There is a 3-week winter break in the middle of July. Students will participate in all school activities and mandatory examinations just like their Chilean counterparts. All classes are held in Spanish, so a basic understanding of the language is necessary for students to be able to follow their coursework. Uniforms are worn at both public and private schools. After school students can enjoy sports, clubs, extracurricular activities, or Spanish lessons, depending on their language needs.

Family Life

Host families are either in cities, small towns or villages. It is very common for families to live close to extended family. Students will experience the “extended family” culture in Chile. Chilean people are very warm and open; they tend to bond very quickly. Students can expect to become a member of the family and will be asked to help around the house like any other family member.

Like many South American cultures, meals are an important time usually spent with family. A typical breakfast consists of a combination of breads, cheese, jelly, cold cuts, juice, tea, and the famous Nestle instant coffee that Chileans seem to love. Lunch is always the largest meal of the day and traditionally two main dishes are served. Around 5 pm. Chileans take “once,” an afternoon tea that combines either tea, instant coffee, pastries, small sandwiches, avocado, scrambled eggs, jam, etc. Around 8 pm, most families serve dinner, which is usually a single but substantial dish.

Students are given some independence, but will always have to ask permission when spending time away with friends. Some host families will speak English, but not all. Students should use this opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the Spanish language.


A walking tour of Santiago is offered once a semester. Add-on trips may be offered 1-2 times per semester to Easter Island or the north of Chile.


It is not necessary to have formal Spanish language experience, but students should have at least a basic level by the time that they arrive and be willing to study Spanish as much as they can. Students who do not have an intermediate level of Spanish are advised to participate in our Intensive Spanish Program in Chile before the program begins.


For stays over 90 days, students will need a visa. Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Chilean consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. It usually takes approximately six to eight weeks to obtain a Chilean visa. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

Will students have access to Internet/WiFi at their home and school?

Yes, the vast majority of households and schools in Chile have WiFi.

Can students bring their own cell phones?

Yes, if students have an unlocked cell phone, they could use a personal phone with a Chilean carrier/SIM card.

Can students travel without an adult chaperone if given permission?

Yes, students can travel outside of the host area as long as the required release form is signed by the natural parents, host family, local school, local partner office and Quest.

How much money should students have for spending money?

Students should budget around $200/month for personal expenses, which include entertainment, personal hygiene items, long-distance calls, etc. Additional money should be budgeted for start-up school expenses, such as books and supplies. These fees are in addition to Quest program fees.

What are some cultural norms that describe a typical host family in Chile?

Chilean families are very close and Chilean people greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. Chilean families appreciate family time a lot and they tend to be very close. Quality time together is very important in Chilean culture and the school week will often be punctuated by extended family get-togethers. Many Americans might have to culturally adjust to spending less time alone.

How are host families chosen?

Quest’s in-country partner is responsible for locating, screening and matching host families with our students. Host families go through a careful screening process, which typically involves in-person interviews, home inspections and references.

How do students apply for the visa and how long does it take?

For stays over 90 days, students will need a visa. Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Chilean consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. It usually takes approximately six to eight weeks to obtain a Chilean visa. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

How will the student get to and from school?

Most students will take public transportation, which is easy and affordable in Chile. Though, some students may get dropped off by their host family. Transportation fees are the student’s responsibility and are not included in Quest program fees.

Is there a possibility for students to get tutors during their program?

Yes, it is possible to get a tutor during the program. Tutors may cost around $25/hour. This cost is in addition to the Quest program fee.

Can students receive an official document from their host school with grades and completed classes after finishing their program?

Yes, students will get official grade reports and documentation from their school. But, in order to receive this, students must complete all school assignments and take all exams. Students must be proactive about this, as obtaining this documentation is their responsibility before they leave Chile. Schools offer an Academic Strengthening Plan that includes the following activities:

  • Leveling Program in Math, Spanish, and English
  • Group programs
  • Learning monitoring programs

Do schools offer different sports/ or volunteer activities?

Different schools offer different sports and activities. There are also private sport and activity clubs that students can attend after school. Students can participate in different volunteer activities such as animal rescue, disability assistance, working with elderly people, etc.


The rewards of life abroad are amazing and wonderful, but are you up for the unique challenges that come with this experience? You will be away from your friends, family and the lifestyle you are accustomed to. You will have to adapt to a new language, culture, school and family. You will have to make decisions on your own and make new friends. Think about it and do some research on the country you want to study in. There is a wealth of information on the Internet that can better prepare you for your adventure!


Your parent(s) or guardian(s) need to help you make your dream happen. The application process takes time and effort, so it is important, at this stage, to make sure your parents support your decision to study abroad and have given you approval to move forward. If they feel that you are prepared and understand what’s required from them, you are ready to move to the next step.


You may receive credit from your program, but it is your responsibility to make this happen. Only your U.S. school can decide which credits you can receive. You must approach your guidance counselor to determine if you can get the credits you are hoping to receive. Bring Quest’s Academic Guide with you, and be certain of what you will be responsible for.


Fill out our online information request form in order to receive important program information from Quest via email. This email will contain Quest’s Program Agreement and Program Guidelines for your review and signature. Carefully review all of this information with your parents and contact Quest if you have any questions. We are here to help guide you through the process so you can make decisions that fit your needs.


The Quest Program Coordinator will confirm with you the program details submitted on your original request form. If you’re unsure of your destination, we’ll help you narrow down your choices to the country and program season that works for you. We will speak with your parents and make sure that everybody feels informed and ready to proceed with the decisions made.


You and your parents will receive the online Payment Agreement, which states the total program price for your selected destination country and Quest’s payment process. Your parents will receive an invoice for the application deposit, which is due before you submit your student application.


Quest will send you a full student application for the program you have chosen. This application can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. Make sure you give yourself ample time prior to the application deadline to complete the application and supplemental documents.


This is when you get to meet your Quest Program Coordinator and talk face to (virtual) face. During the interview, the Program Coordinator will assess your suitability for the Quest Study Abroad program. This call lasts 30-60 minutes. Parents will speak with us at the end of the call, but the first part of the interview questions must be answered by the student alone. There is no preparation needed other than to talk about yourself, your desire to participate in the program and why you feel you are ready.


Your Quest Program Coordinator will review your application and interview documentation to determine acceptance. Our team members put a lot of thought into the decisions they make, and not all students are accepted into the program. In order to make our decision, Quest must review complete and accurate application materials. We choose students who are emotionally, socially and academically prepared for the study abroad program. We look at each student’s level of maturity, independence and ability to adapt to life in a foreign country.


You will receive a letter of acceptance from Quest via email. Your parents will receive an invoice outlining the total cost with only the first 50% of the total due within 10 days. The final 50% of the remaining program fees are due within 30 days of the invoice date.


This is a very important step in the process and can be very time-intensive. We suggest that you get started researching the requirements as soon as possible with the nearest embassy or consulate for your destination country, as requirements vary by location. Because the process does vary considerably, Quest and our foreign partner office are not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application. Start filling out all of the paperwork well in advance, as visa approval can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to obtain.


This is the hardest part: waiting for your school and host family placement information! Making quality placements takes time, and we will need your patience during this important step. Quest will notify you and your parents of a confirmed placement in a school and then again when you are placed with your host family. Write to your host family as soon as possible to introduce yourself, and let them know how excited you are to meet them.


Working together with you and your parents, Quest will confirm your arrival date and book your roundtrip international flight to your placement area. We will also book your student travel and medical insurance for your trip, so you can rest easier while abroad!


Your Quest Program Coordinator will help you get prepped for your trip with a pre-departure orientation prior to your departure. You’ll receive an agenda before the call. We encourage you to write all of your remaining questions down so that we can make you and your parents feel prepared for your trip abroad. We will go over the program rules, what to pack, what to do if you need support once you arrive, and more!


Congratulate yourself and your family for making this happen. You are on your way to the study abroad adventure that you’ve earned!

Balance your time abroad — keep in touch with those back home, but remember that the point of studying abroad is to be present and active in your host country. Keep a blog or an online photo album so you can show all of the revelations you have had and the sights you have seen. On a rainy day, you’ll be happy to reflect on your growing experience abroad. Stay in touch with Local Coordinators and with Quest. We’d love to hear how you are doing!

Programs Available
  • Year
  • Semester
  • 3 Months
  • 2 Months
  • 1 Month
Application Deadline
  • Year/Fall Semester: April 1st
  • Spring Semester: October 1st
  • Short-Term: Variable
Apply Now

Quest International, a nonprofit organization, promoting international cultural awareness and compassion by providing educational programs for American and International students to live and learn together.