-Work on your Spanish ahead of time. It helps a lot, but you don't NEED it (I knew nothing before coming down).
-Stay in a hostel/hotel for a few days when you get down here in order to find a better place.
-Bring down at least $10K. It took me two months to get my first reimbursement and I was running pretty low by then.
-Accept that at least one full day a month will be wasted on bureaucracy (reimbursements & mandatory presentations to locals)
-Don't expect to get high quality talent here that speaks English fluently. Those that have found talent are far outnumbered by those that haven't (technical & business).
-Don't expect to have strong mentorship like 500, YC or TechStars. It's all peer mentorship.
-Realize that the strength of the program is the international component. There's a lot of market opps in Latinamerica that a lot of people have no idea about. It's also rare to have such an global composition of entrepreneurs.
It's not perfect for everyone, but if you're:
-pre product/market fit
-interested in international markets
-cool with trading some time wasted with bureaucracy for equity free funding
then it's a great choice.
We are enjoying very much participating in the program so far. It truly is the deal of a lifetime. The atmosphere is great and the impact it is having on Chile is becoming visible. Santiago is a great city with a higher quality of life than many cities in North America or Europe today. We are honored to participate in Startup Chile and I can already suggest it without reservation to any serious entrepreneur.
I'm not an isolated case either. Quite a few other people were depending on that first reimbursement to pay the next month's rent.