Come discover the port city of Valparaiso and improve your Spanish language skills while immersing yourself Chilean culture.
Through intensive language training and area studies coursework offered in English, you’ll develop great insight into Chile and Latin America through history, literature, economics and international relations. And with homestays, volunteering opportunities, and a variety of cultural activities and excursions, study abroad in Valparaiso offers you an exciting and uniquely immersive cultural experience.
Study abroad in Chile and you will:
The CIEE Difference
Acquire an understanding of Chile and its role in Latin America through host institution courses that focus on contemporary Chilean culture and society
Build your beginner Spanish skills, study modern Chile, and gain intercultural experience through classes and living with a local host family
Choose to study between two top-ranked local Chilean universities, a historic and traditional or a private contemporary university.
Participate in community service projects, educational field trips in numerous cultural sites around Valparaíso region ,as well as a long weekend fieldtrip to Curarehue and Pucón.
Whether you’re just beginning your study of Spanish or you’re an advanced-level speaker, you’ll find a language course that suits your needs and abilities in Valparaiso. You’ll also have access to an extensive selection of courses and electives – offered in both Spanish and English – on subjects relating to the Chilean and Latin American history, culture and contemporary society.
CIEE has a well-established network of community partnerships with NGOs, schools, and other educational institutions with whom you can volunteer. Host families also play an important role in your immersion – you will interact daily with various family members, relatives, and neighbors, discovering Chilean routines and unique new flavors of traditional cuisine. You’ll also attend sporting events and other cultural activities, using public transportation, and enjoy various types of local entertainment.
Enjoy a number of daylong and extended excursions to sites of historical and cultural importance in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. Past excursions have included visits to museums in the region, to La Sebastiana (the home of poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda), the Chilean National Congress, and Pucón, an eco-tourism center on Lake Villarica in the south of Chile.
Total recommended credit for the semester is 14–18 semester/21–27 quarter hours and for the year is 28–36 semester/42–54 quarter hours.
PUCV elective courses have 4 semester/6 quarter hours and 50 contact hours.
The required language courses have 10 semester/15 quarter hours and 150 contact hours.
All study abroad students are required to enroll in 10 credits of intensive Spanish that cover Grammar and Vocabulary, Oral Comprehension, Oral Production, and Reading Comprehension and Writing Production. These courses are designed to provide students with the equivalent of two semesters of either first or second year college-level Spanish. All students are also required to enroll in one or two PUCV courses with a Chilean content focus. .
Valparaíso and its twin city of Viña del Mar are located on the Pacific coast, just two hours by bus from Santiago. Valparaíso is a port city, housing the Chilean Congress, and Viña del Mar is a modern resort city, with shops, beaches, and recreational facilities, as well as a residential area. With affordable mass transportation between the two cities, students find them friendly locations in which to live and study.
Where You’ll Study
The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso is ranked among the top regional universities in Chile. In 2003, it received its designation as a “Pontificia,” a distinction given to Catholic universities by the Vatican. The University has campuses in both Valparaíso and Viña del Mar and offers more than 50 undergraduate and 30 postgraduate degrees. Of the 13,000 students at PUCV, only three percent are international students, giving CIEE participants a great opportunity to immerse themselves in the Chilean higher education system.
Universidad Viña del Mar (UVM) is a medium sized, private, urban university with more than 6,200 students, founded in 1988. The University’s buildings are split between an urban campus in the heart of Viña del Mar, and its new campus just outside the twin cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. Bus transport is provided by the university between the two campuses. UVM offers study abroad students the opportunity to study a wide array of disciplines within a Chilean and regional context, and to experience a smaller, private institution.
Students are required to choose between the two universities (PUCV or UVM) based on their academic interests and available course offerings before they apply for the program due to the visa and application processes.
Housing & Meals
Study abroad students live with Chilean host families and are matched based on student’s individual profiles and common interests. Most host families are located in Viña del Mar and a few in Valparaíso. The sister cities are essentially two halves of a single urban area, and PUCV has campuses in both cities. UVM campuses are located in Viña del Mar. Host families are considered an integral part of the immersion into Chilean life. Housing and three meals a day are included in the program fee. Students are responsible for housing and meals between semesters.
The CIEE Study Center in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, Chile began welcoming participants in 1997. It is an attractive option for several reasons, including the academic offerings available at PUCV or UVM, as well as the student-friendly nature of both Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. The study abroad program is intended for students with beginner and intermediate college-level Spanish skills, who are looking for a program that permits them to rapidly develop Spanish language skills, as well as immerse themselves in Chilean and Latin American studies on a university campus. The program provides personalized instruction and support through both academic and non-academic activities. The program is suitable for undergraduate students from a variety of majors with limited or no Spanish language skills. All non-language courses are taught in English A Spanish diagnostic placement test is provided at the beginning of the program. Those LIC students whose results reflect a low intermediate level of Spanish skills may enroll in regular content courses taught in Spanish offered for international students with the approval of the Resident Director and their home school. The list of these courses and syllabus are upon request.
Average class size is 10 to 15 students. All courses are taught by local Chilean faculty. Study abroad students will notice significant differences between their home institutions and educational system and the Chilean model. Chilean academic culture generally requires students to take greater initiative and responsibility in a less structured environment.
Courses tend to be more lecture-based and less interactive. Students are expected to take it upon themselves to know the requirements of the course, their assignments, and exams. Students in the program have support in this regard from both the CIEE Study Center staff as well as staff from the International Programs office at PUCV or UVM. It is important to understand that the program takes place at a Chilean University with native Spanish instructors, and therefore students may notice differences in teaching styles.
The academic year program includes two semesters of study and can begin either during the North American fall or spring semester. Academic year students who begin their studies during the North American fall semester have a nearly three-month break between semesters during which they are encouraged to travel or study elsewhere in the region. There is a break of approximately two weeks between the (North American) spring and fall semesters.