I studied in Santiago de Chile with USAC in spring 2019. My experience was incredible for a number of reasons.
First, the staff members were amazing; they had a connection with all of the students and went above and beyond to help us out with things like weekend travel, navigating the culture of Chile, and even job interviews and recommendations.
Second, the classes were great. I took a full-time course load all in Spanish as a Spanish language learner and I felt that I was challenged while still having the ability to enjoy my time abroad without stressing too much about my grades; I would definitely say that the courses were focused more on the learning process and content than on tests and assessments.
Finally, Chile is just an amazing place and USAC is an amazing program. I lived with a Chilean woman with whom I still keep in contact, and I am so grateful for that relationship that I wouldn't have gotten in other programs that don't have homestay options. I felt safe and comfortable while in Santiago, while still pushing the boundaries of my understanding of the world. It was an experience I will never forget and yeah, I love telling people I went to Chile because that's way cooler than the normal study abroad countries.
Here's what I think you should know if you're considering going to Santiago:
-the food can be bland and even when it's spiced, it's still never spicy... so bring your favorite hot sauce
-accept that public transportation is your best friend
-it literally has something for everybody: a recent military dictatorship for the politics and history buffs, incredible landscapes for those who love spending time in nature, lots of religious culture for those who like that, street food because nobody dislikes street food, etc.
-if you carry a purse, make sure it zips! pick-pockets are so talented
-a homestay is 100% a must, every student in the program who didn't do a homestay expressed regret at some point
-keep an open mind! Santiago was really similar to my home in some ways and worlds apart in others, but the most important thing for me was to keep an open mind and to love it as it was
-take a billion pictures, call your mom, and have tons of fun!!!