Santiago - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

I took Spanish as an EFM at FSI and I am glad I did. English levels are generally pretty low. I use Spanish daily. - Dec 2020

You'll need to (1) know Spanish and (2) be able to translate Chilean Spanish into more mainstream Spanish. Betting on others to know English is not advisable. - Jun 2019

You need to know a functional amount of Spanish especially if you're going to be out and about and checking things out around the city. - Feb 2016

A LOT. Learn Spanish. In-country options are low quality, sometimes scams, and ineffective. - Nov 2014

A lot. English and other languages are not widely spoken. - Oct 2014

Spanish certainly helps, but you could certainly survive without it, especially if you have a friend who speaks Spanish who could help you deal with cable companies, etc. - Sep 2011

You will need to have a working knowledge of Spanish to get around Santiago. - Jul 2010

It would be difficult to live here without Spanish. Also, the Chileans have their own dialect which is much more difficult to understand than the version spoken in other areas of Latin America. They have a lot of slang and they speak very, very quickly. - Jul 2009

I speak fluent Spanish, and yet I struggled upon arrival to learn Chileno. In addition to using made-up words (poniente for oeste; mantencion instead of mantenimiento; or entretencion instead of entretenimiento), the Chileans have an odd way of speaking. Some sound like they are speaking in falsetto, others speak as if they're talking to a child, and many men speak as if someone is grabbing on too tightly to their family jewels. However, Spanish is necessary - most Chileans study english in school, but cannot speak or understand it. - Apr 2009

Well, we know of a samll handful of people here who somehow get around w/o using much Spanish, but to really enjoy getting to know the people and their culture, learning Spanish is a necessity. You will be able to get around, interact and better communicate your needs when you can communicate in Spanish. Most of the Dominicans here show a lot of grace when you at least attempt to communicate w/ them in Spanish. Have a teachable spirit and a good sense of humor about your language mistakes and many people here will be more than willing to help teach you. - Sep 2008

You need to know at least a fair amount of Spanish as not many people speak English. - Jul 2008

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