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Programs : Brochure

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  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: CIEE 
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2019 09/26/2018 10/12/2018 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Areas of Study: Biology, Environmental Science, General Business, Geography, History, Journalism, Latin American Studies, Music, Philosophy, Pre-Law, Psychology, Religious Studies, Spanish Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.75
Academic Level: Junior Language of Instruction: Spanish
Housing Options: Host Family
Program Description:


Interested in developing a critical appreciation of Chilean society, history, and identity, while immersing yourself in local culture? Valparaiso awaits!

Through direct enrolment at a two local universities, homestays with local families, and a variety of cultural activities and excursions, study abroad in Valparaiso allows you to pursue your academic interests, enhance your Spanish language skills, and gain unparalleled insight into contemporary Chile.

Study abroad in Chile and you will:

  • Gain an understanding of Chile through CIEE courses that focus on Chilean heritage, identity, literature, art, and history; work with a language partner
  • Choose between studying at two top-ranked local Chilean schools, a historic and traditional university and one a more contemporary private university.
  • Take advantage of community service and volunteer opportunities, including volunteering  in local schools, shelters, and non-governmental organizations
  • Participate in cultural and educational activities, including visits to a rural community, a day trip to
  • Santiago, the capital of Chile, and a weekend long educational fieldtrip to Curarehue and Pucón

The CIEE Difference


In addition to advanced Spanish language instruction and a host of specialized CIEE area studies electives, enroll directly in a variety of courses at two of Chile’s most prestigious universities with local and international students. Whether you’re interested in the Arts, Humanities, Social or Natural Sciences you’ll find the courses you’re looking for in Valparaiso.


Non-credit volunteer work allows you to obtain a comprehensive understanding of Chilean culture and society through personal experiences. CIEE facilitates these opportunities in various schools, shelters, and organizations throughout Valparaíso and Viña del Mar.


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 16–20 semester/24–30 quarter hours and for the year is 32–40 semester/48–60 quarter hours.

PUCV courses range from 2–5 credits per course/3–7.5 quarter hours each. This designation is based on the number of hours students theoretically need to dedicate to the course, both in and out of the classroom. Some general introductory courses, worth 2 credits, meet at least once a week and are open to students from all disciplines. University courses are usually from 38 to 76 hours and can range from 3 to 4 credits depending on how much outside academic work is required.

UVM courses range from 2–6 credits per course/ 3–9 quarter hours each. This designation is based on the contact hours students are in the classroom. Courses that worth 2 credits, meet at least once a week and 3 credits courses meet at least twice a week. University courses are usually from 32 to 64 contact hours and can range from 2 to 4 credits.

Upper-level university courses in the Chilean university system are usually courses that are not general introductory courses. In other words, those course are restricted for Chileans who are in their third year due to prerequisites. Credits for these courses will vary university by university and by area of study.

Program Requirements

All study abroad students are required to enroll in one and a maximum of two of the CIEE required courses. Students then choose one of CIEE’s two local Chilean institutions (PUCV or UVM) for the remainder of their coursework (three or four additional courses), including a Spanish language class. CIEE students who enroll in courses at PUCV can take no more than two 2-credit general University courses. Academic year or continuing students are not required to take a CIEE course during their second semester.

About Valparaíso

Valparaíso and its twin city of Viña del Mar are located between the Andes Mountain and 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 15,000 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 CIEE students the opportunity to study a wide array of disciplines within a Chilean and regional context, and to experience a smaller, private institution.

Students need to choose between the two universities (PUCV or UVM) based on their academic interests and available course offerings soon after they apply for the program, and before they arrive on site, 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.

Academic Program

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 and UVM, as well as the student friendly nature of both Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. (please see above)

Students need to choose between the two universities (students study either at PUCV or UVM) based on their academic interests and available course offerings soon after they apply for the study abroad program, and before they arrive on site, due to the visa  application process.

Pontificia Universidad Católica is known for its prestige, tradition, and academic quality; its campuses are spread out in the city. PUCV has a strong International Program that offers Spanish courses and  diverse content courses for international students.

Universidad del Mar is a smaller private institution located mainly on one large campus resembling those in the USA. This university is part of the Global Network Laureate International Universities whose International Program offers Spanish courses and inexpensive cultural excursions.

The study abroad program is intended for students who have at least five semesters of college level Spanish or the equivalent, and are looking for a program that permits direct enrollment with Chilean university students. It provides personalized instruction and support through both academic and non-academic activities. Given the array of disciplines and courses available to participants, the program is suitable for undergraduate students with strong Spanish language skills from a variety of majors. All courses are taught in Spanish.

Academic Culture

The average class size is 20 to 30 students, and CIEE participants might find themselves challenged until they are accustomed to the different Chilean intonations and academic rhythm. The teaching style is commonly a lecture format, with emphasis placed on memorization and note-taking. It can take a while to learn how to study effectively in the Chilean system, especially in terms of acquiring reading material and knowing what the professor expects. Chilean classmates are often an excellent source of help.

University life is quite different in Chile compared to the United States, since the Chilean university is primarily a professional school. While CIEE students have the opportunity to study in almost every department, this is not the case for Chilean students, who study in one discipline area exclusively.

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 about two weeks between the (North American) spring and fall semesters.