Chile is a friendly country and home to a stunning variety of natural wonders, from the towering Andes Mountains to the penguin colonies of Patagonia to the historic city of Santiago. A passion for the arts, especially literature, is shared by many across Chile’s diverse ethnic groups. Chile’s most famous writer, Nobel Prize Winner Pablo Neruda, called it “the country made for poets.”

Teenagers in Chile like to get together at friends’ houses, go to movies, gather in the town square, go to parties and dance, or just hang out in the local café. You can also join activities organized by your school, like sports, language, drama or science clubs.

Host Family & Community

Most host families in Chile live in or near urban areas. Chileans tend to be very family-focused, and children are taught to have a strong respect for their parents. Check in with your parents before you make plans or decisions.

School

The school year runs from March through December (8 am until 5 pm), Monday through Friday. You will probably attend a private high-school or a private subsidized school, where you’ll need to wear a uniform. Over the year, you will study 10–13 subjects with the same group of classmates.

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Language

The official language of Chile is Spanish, and some people also speak English, German, or Mapudungun (the language of the Mapuche). Having a basic knowledge of Spanish will be helpful. You can participate in language lessons provided by AFS, and local volunteers may arrange independent language study for you during the first months.

Food

While breakfast is usually very light, lunch is the main meal of the day in Chile. It can include meat (beef, lamb, pork or chicken) or fish with rice or pasta and vegetables, soups and salads. In the afternoon, enjoy an onces: tea or coffee with bread and butter or marmalade and pastry. Some families have a late dinner, which includes similar foods as lunch. A variety of fruits is available throughout the year.