Chile, students, TU Delft, Delta
The fish market in Valdivia, Chile. (Photo: Tim van Domburg)

A project abroad has its pros and cons, or so our Delta Lab students discover in Chile. Read about it in their blog.

Our Valdivia Estuary project began with an excursion to Valdivia to investigate the project area. The purpose of this first week was to become acquainted with the area and to think carefully about the project definition. On location in Chile, the problem turned out to be different from what we understood after our previous talks in the Netherlands. An important part of the weekend was therefore the meeting with our client. The excursion was an especially nice experience and we looked out onto beautiful surroundings.

After a six-hour drive from our apartment in Concepción to Valdivia, we did a boat trip on the river. From the boat, we could study the surroundings of Valdivia to get a picture of the maps we had seen before then.

After the trip, we went for dinner with our guide, his wife and his friends: Chilean steak with red wine. It was a very enjoyable evening, ending in Valdivia's most popular karaoke bar.

‘The language barrier proved to be an obstacle’

On the second day, we drove by car along the Valdivia River to study it and to see the beautiful landscape. We also visited the port of Corral, located in the estuary. Here we could immediately see the remains of Spanish forts.

On day three, we had a meeting with our client, the Ministry of Maritime and Harbour Works. We hoped to get more insight into the problem and the expectations they had of us. As none of the three officials spoke English, our supervisor had to interpret. However, the language barrier proved to be an obstacle: unfortunately, a lot of information was lost during translation.

Eventually, they presented us with three possible problems that we could focus on:

  • the reconstruction of a beach that was flooded after an earthquake in 1960;
  • the creation of a better connection between Valdivia and the neighbouring island of Isla Teja;
  • the addressing of a sedimentation problem in the Valdivia River that prevents access by the city.

It is up to us to find a good combination between these projects. After the conversation, we went to the centre of Valdivia, a very nice town. The highlight was the lively fish market, where sea lions, pelicans and vultures were begging for remains. A nice experience!


Next week we will tell you about our first experiences at the university.

Missed our previous blog? Read it in Dutch and in English.

Do you want to know about our project in action? Then visit our website.

TU Delft, Delta Lab, students Chile
(Photo: Tim van Domburg)


TU Master's students Charlotte van den Berg, Jeffrey Groot, Rutger Bax, Tim van Domburg, Ellis van Gorp and Umbriël Post will blog over the next few weeks about their experiences in Chile. Charlotte and Ellis are doing masters on transport, infrastructure and logistics. Jeffrey, Tim and Rutger are studying Hydraulic Engineering, and Umbriël is doing a master in water management. Follow them here.

To the original Dutch article.