Study in Santiago de Chile, Chile



Study in Santiago de Chile, Chile

Santiago is the capital city of Chile and is located in the country’s fertile central valley.  Also known as Santiago de Chile, the city is the largest in the country and the most significant city in Chile’s largest metropolitan area.  Santiago has a population of 5.5 million—35% of Chile’s total population—and a density of over 3,500 people per square mile, making it one of the largest and densest cities in South America.   Santiago is a very diverse and multiethnic community, with people deriving from a variety of European and native Amerindian tribal backgrounds.  Spanish is the national, de facto language of Santiago, although there are pockets of the cities where other languages, particularly English and Italian, are used informally.  The overwhelming majority of Santiago’s population is Roman Catholic, but the city also has a large minority of Evangelical Protestants and smaller groups who practice the Mormon, Jewish and Muslim faiths. 
 
The vast diversity in Santiago can be attributed to a number of factors, most notably the huge upsurge of European immigration that began more than 110 years ago.  Towards the end of the 19th century, millions of Europeans immigrated to South America in pursuit of economic opportunity.  They settled in a number of different countries, including Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.  In Santiago, the predominant group that inhabited the region came from Spain, particularly the Castilians and Basques, with minority groups coming from Germany, Italy, France, England, Switzerland and Croatia.  According to the latest census data, 55% of Santiago’s population is “white,” meaning they claim only their European heritage, while nearly 43% are Mestizo, people of both Spanish and American Indian heritage, predominantly the Picunche and Mapuche tribes that have inhabited the Chilean region for centuries.
 
Santiago has a modernized infrastructure by South American standards, with an excellent inner highway system, a free-flow toll road and an excellent system of public transport.  The Santiago Metro system features both underground and above ground lines, with 101 stations currently in operation and dozens more scheduled to open soon.  The Metrotren, a commuter rail system, provides service to and from Santiago for those living in the suburban sections of the city, offering 10 daily northbound and southbound trains. Buses are also available and are operated by Transantiago, a service providing links to both the Santiago Metro lines and the commuter rails.  If you’re in a big hurry and simply can’t wait for the next bus or subway, taxicabs are a frequent sight in and around the city, although these rides are considerably more expensive than the public systems.
 
Santiago has a Mediterranean climate, which essentially translates to big swings in temperature depending on the season.  Summers tend to be hot and dry, with temperature averaging 85- 95° F, while in the winter months, high temperatures can range anywhere from 55° F for a high to nighttime lows in the single digits.  The rainfall average is approximately 14 inches per year, which is low compared to other South American cities, and while it can snow in Santiago, instances are very rare and only occur in the northeastern section of the city where the elevation reaches 2400 feet above sea level at its highest.
 
The steady economic growth in Chile over the last two decades has transformed Santiago—the country’s primary economic and cultural center—into one of the most modern metropolitan areas in all of Latin America.  The suburban areas of the city offer a variety of housing options—detached homes, condos and apartments—all of which are generally affordable for those looking to buy or rent.  The large downtown area has undergone a major face lift in recent years, and now features high rise architecture, dozens of shopping centers and many places of interest that appeal to a variety of tastes.  Goods and services are abundant throughout the city, including dozens of banks, three libraries, retail and grocery stores, restaurants, and a great number of nighttime hotspots such as bars, nightclubs, theaters, and concert halls.
 
Visitors interested in sightseeing while in Santiago have a wealth of opportunities for cultural enrichment, including popular attractions such as the Palacio de La Moneda, the Classicist Presidential Palace; the Contemporary Art Museum of Santiago, the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, the country’s national and largest library; and the Municipal Theater of Santiago, featuring dramatic and musical performances nightly, including shows performed by the Orquesta Filarmónica de Santiago, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Santiago.
 
Finally, after a long day of work or school in Santiago, you may want to take advantage of the many recreational diversions the city offers. This includes fitness clubs, dance classes, water sports, ball fields and gymnasiums, along with Santiago’s extensive network of bicycle trails, especially those in the Providencia community, with trails that wind through shady trees along the Mapocho River.
 
If you’d rather watch than participate, Santiago is home to some of Chile’s best football clubs, including Colo-Colo, a team that boasts 29 national titles and plays its games at Chile’s Estadio Monumental.