Concepción Terremoto in Concepción by _ P _

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 24th June 2010 and has been read 3445 times.

City of StudentsDespite the earthquake earlier this year, Chile's second biggest city still offers much for the eye to see. Not as pretty as La Serena, nor as cosmopolitan as Santiago, Concepción still packs out a good punch for students and workers alike. There's a real sense of activity here, due to its agricultural and administrative importance, as well as the thriving Universidad Austral de Chile which attracts national and foreign students alike. Concepción - the eathquake aftermath
Why should I choose Concepción for my year abroad?
The centre is very much a re-run of 1960s architecture, slightly bland and very grey; the suburbs even more so, with a very industrial feel. But that's not going to be the reason why you'll have decided to come here - with so many students, this city offers great student deals, from the nearby white-water rafting (through the Bío Bío river) to student nights to cheap eateries.

If you're working, there are loads of industries based here, so finding a decent internship shouldn't be too much hassle either. Although aesthetically not the feat it should be (although Chilean architecture is hardly world-renowned for its beauty...), you can stroll about the centre and find a decent museums or two to take your fancy. Why not try the Casa del Arte for some Mexican murals and a couple more rooms of art and culture? The stunning work by Camarena, La Presencia de América Latina is a real eye-opener in terms of Hispanic history, and it's quite bonito too. You could also try your luck at the Galería de la Historia for some history lessons on the Mapuche front, with some heavy-handed information on colonial rule and its consequences for the various peoples populating Chile at the time.

The university, in itself, whether you're studying in Concepción or not, is worth a cheeky visit; the gardens are superb and make for a great meeting spot, or a casual lunch. There's quite good shopping to be had here, too, in the form of various US- styled malls, so you can update your gladrags.

Lorca would turn in his grave (with hunger!) at the prospect of dining or lunching or even snacking in the popular Verde que te quiero verde restaurant, complete with healthy, hearty and heavenly dishes, art at the back and a neat little seating area. A coupleo f cafés, here and there, are worth a look in - don't be put off by the national 'café con piernas' (not table legs, but rather short-skirted women) as they do often serve up the best coffee (the cafés, and sometimes, the women too, when they deign to smile). The Mercado Central offers many antojitos at very reasonable prices – don't go away without having tried one of the stalls some classic Chilean picadas.

In terms of nightlife, to get in with the student crowd, you better head off to Barrio Estación where a collection of small, cosy drinking dens battle it out to win most students over, with cheap beer deals and a few tapas style dishes. Overall, you won't regret having come here if your plan was to study at a well-known university, add a few tricks to your CV or fancy living in a relatively big city, without the stress of Santiago. A good all-rounder, if you look past the dodgy buildings and shaky start to 2010...

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