International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987


Culture Corner

Monuments & Must-Sees

Tour La Sebastiana, La Chascona and Isla Negra, homes to Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Each house has been converted into a museum displaying the esoteric collections of Pablo Neruda.

Immerse yourself in Chilean culture at the Ex-Cárcel, a historical prison transformed into an artist's haven including a museum, theater, concert stage, dance classrooms, photo expositions, and a playground for children. For many Chileans it is a symbol of freedom.

Experience the ocean breezes at the pier and boardwalk in Viña del Mar where kids can play on the beach while locals and tourists alike shop at the line of artisan shops with locally made handicrafts and performers, go fishing, and gather at dusk to watch the sun set.

Visit the Naval and Maritime Museum, displaying important relics that tell about the history of the Chilean Navy from 1818 to 1880.

Ride ascensores (cable cars) to the tops of Cerros Artillería, Concepción and Alegre for a picturesque view of the city from some of the highest points around. Each hill also has an artisan shop or cafe at the top or bottom of the ascensor entrance.

Go back in time to explore the famous Quinta Vergara Park exhibiting the monuments of Nobel Poets Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda.

Wander through the winding streets of the Museo Cielo Abierto, or Open Sky Museum, which started as an Art class of PUCV in 1969. The Art students, along with famous Chilean and international artists painted murals on the sides of buildings in the normal Valparaíso neighborhood of Cerro Bellavista, turning it into an outdoor art museum!

Vist the Archaeological Museum Francisco Fonck in Viña del Mar, where you can check out fossils from local species in Chile's past and interesting artifacts from Easter Island.

Cultural Activity Suggestions

Valparaíso and Viña del Mar have endless activities for international visitors to enjoy. Listed below are some different cultural activities to do while in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. You can do many of these activities on your own, with friends, or they may be sponsored by ISA. Upon arrival to Chile, different sponsored cultural activities will be announced throughout your program abroad.

Boat Tour
Breathe in the ocean air and feel the mist on your face as you take a boat ride through the breathtaking bay and marvel at the beauty of the colorful Valparaíso hills from afar.

Attend a traditional performance and learn to dance the cueca, Chile's National Dance.

Sun-bathe, relax, or play soccer with locals while enjoying the breathtaking view from the beach at Viña del Mar. Or, visit any of the excellent beaches in the area with perfect waves for surfing or hilly dunes for sand boarding.

Whether you play in a field with locals or take a day trip to Santiago to catch an unforgettable match at the National Stadium, you won't want miss out on the chance to take part in Chile's favorite sport - soccer!

Museums and Historical Buildings
If you're an art or history enthusiast, visit the many enthralling museums around both Valpo and Viña. Valparaiso especially embodies some of the country's deepest cultural roots, and is home to many of the country's political buildings.

Fishing Village
Visit a nearby fishing village, Horcón, where you can experience a traditional way of life, browse the handicrafts made by resident hippies and artists, and sample some of the region's best seafood.

Cultural Immersion

Students may have the opportunity to meet local and international students wishing to share their knowledge of Spanish and learn English in exchange. This activity, based on student interest, is a great way to get to know other students in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, and share your culture and language with others while learning more about your surroundings and Chilean student counterparts.

ISA Service-Learning
ISA Service-Learning takes students beyond the classroom by providing them with a unique opportunity to work at local non-profit organizations, municipal offices, schools, or clinics abroad. Students may choose to add service-learning to their Semester, Summer or Intensive Month ISA academic program. Please see the ISA Service-Learning website for specific placement options offered in Valparaiso/Vina del Mar.

ISA Student Blog
Stay connected while you're abroad and share your experience with your peers back home on the ISA Student Blog, one of WordPress' top 23 recommended travel blogs! Each summer and semester the ISA Student Blog features current ISA students as bloggers, photo bloggers, and video bloggers who document their time abroad to share with their friends, family, prospective students, advisers, and more. If sharing your study abroad experience through writing, photos, videos and other media while receiving professional guidance and feedback appeals to you, consider applying to be an ISA Featured Blogger, Photo Blogger, or Video Blogger. The Site Specialist for your program will email all accepted students to notify you when ISA is accepting applications for all ISA Featured Blogger programs. Please contact the ISA Blog Team at if you have any questions.

Share your experiences with your friends and prospective ISA students through the ISA blog! Your blogs will be featured on the ISA website for all to see. To learn more about the ISA Blogs, please visit the ISA Blog page.

Language Resources

Helpful Phrases
al tiro - immediately; right away
una luca- 1000 pesos
ya - "okay"
agarrar papa - to take advantage of a situation; to get a project off the ground
a la pinta - to dress very well and appropriately; also used as an exclamation meaning "perfect"
porsiaca (por si acaso)/ por si las moscas - just in case, by the way

Example Dialogues:
En la estación de autobuses:
Tú: ¿ A qué hora sale el autobús para Santiago?
Vendedor: Uno sale a las diez de la mañana y el otro sale a las dos de la tarde.
Tú: ¿Cuántas horas tardará en llegar?
Vendedor: Es un viaje de dos horas.
Tú: ¿Cuánto cuesta un pasaje?
Vendedor: Cuesta tres lucas y lo compra el mismo día del viaje.
Tú: Gracias por la información.

En un taxi:
Tú: Oye, taxi!
El taxista: Sí, a dónde va?
Tú: Quisiera ir a la Plaza Victoria. ¿Cuánto me cobra/ Cuánto es?
El taxista: Son 750 pesos.
Tú: Es demasiado! Puedo caminar. Gracias.
El taxista: Pero...lo puedo llevar por 500 pesos.
Tú: Por 500 pesos?
El taxista: Sí.

Online Dictionary

Verb Conjugation: We suggest you look up some helpful websites dedicated to verb conjugations in Spanish. The book 501 Spanish Verbs is also a great resource to bring with you to Chile.

Listening and Speaking: Check out some different Spanish podcasts available to practice your verbal and listening skills.

Beware of translation websites... much can be lost in translation.