Finding a place to live in another country can be a bit daunting. When I taught in Barcelona, I used a program that set me up with a host family and I didn’t really have to think about anything except getting myself there. This time around, I was completely on my own. It was a learning experience, but ultimately I ended up in a place that I love!
Resources for finding an apartment:
http://www.portalinmobiliario.com/ (vacant apartments)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/roommateandflatfinderchile/ (typically people who are looking for a roommate)
http://www.compartomidepto.cl/ (also people who are looking for a roomie, apartments are usually furnished)
http://santiago.en.craigslist.org/ (all over the map but it’s possible to find a hidden gem here)
I only used the above sites, but a woman at my school also suggested the following websites:
Before I found my apartment, I considered staying in a hostel to save money. At the last minute, I suddenly thought about using AirBnB. I am really glad I did. I found a room in a wonderful, cozy apartment with another equally kind and welcoming roommate. She and I cooked together, did pilates, went out for drinks…. the apartment itself felt like home. And the price was almost the same as it would have been if I had stayed in a hostel.
Apartment Living in Chile:
*Buildings are quite secure. Apartment buildings have a guard or concierge, and the door remains locked until they push a button to let you in. The door is locked from the inside, too. You can’t get in or out unless that button has been pushed. The alternative is a tall fence/wall, which is common around houses. In that case you just need a key. Theft is an issue here, so having extra security is pretty serious.
*Everything runs on gas. Every house needs to have plenty of fósforos (matches) lying around in order to light the burner on the stove.
*A/Cs are sparse. Most people cool their home down by opening windows, and apparently in the winter you need a lot of blankets.
*So far it seems like recycling is important to a lot of people. Recycling bins and composting sites are abundant in apartment buildings.
*Most people have a housekeeper. It’s just a part of life here.
*You CAN drink the tap water. It doesn’t taste good (I guess it’s got a lot of extra stuff in it), but it is drinkable.