Santiago, the capital of Chile, is the political, economic and cultural center of the country. With a population of six million, it is home to nearly one-third of Chile's total population and serves as one of South America’s key financial hubs. The avant-garde architectural lines of the modern constructions that make up the business district blend in harmony with turn-of-the-century buildings, such as La Moneda (Government House) and the Civic Center. This blend of modernity and tradition has given Santiago, Chile’s gateway city, its distinctive seal as a cosmopolitan city that is open to its visitors.
The imposing Andes Mountains rise majestically around Santiago. Their snow-capped summits and hills slope down to the very heart of the city. The Santa Lucía and San Cristóbal Hills, the city’s green lungs, have become favorite excursion sites for Santiago residents. Due to its geographic location, Santiago is one of the few capital cities in the world which has easy access both to ski slopes, just 25 miles away, and beaches, located 60 miles away. The city has a relatively warm climate and reverse seasons from the United States with winter beginning in June and summer in December.
The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) is the largest university in South American and one of three Catholic universities in the country. This private university has four urban campuses located throughout Santiago, and its 1,800 faculty members serve 11,000 students.
This program is a great fit for students with advanced Spanish language skills, looking for an immersion experience at a Latin American university. Students engage in course work with Chilean students at PUC and also have the opportunity to participate in an optional service learning course at the nearby Jesuit institution, Universidad Alberto Hurtado (UAH).
Students participate in an on-site orientation offered to all study abroad students by PUC. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in the optional, non-credit bearing, pre-program in rural Linares that provides an intensive introduction to Spanish language and Chilean culture.
All students are required to take a placement test and register for the appropriate Spanish for Foreigners course at PUC. This course is typically the only class students take with other international students. The other courses are regular university classes with Chilean students.
In addition to the required Spanish course, students choose one of the following options:
Three to four elective courses from PUC (course listings can be found on the PUC website) or
One to two elective course(s) from PUC and a five-credit service learning course, Poverty and Development, taught at Universidad Alberto Hurtado which includes placement in a rural community site in surrounding Santiago.
Students in this program will live with Chilean host families. This arrangement allows students to better integrate into Chilean culture and practice their language skills. Accommodations will be arranged by the Office of International Education.