Chile Study Abroad Country Profile

Chile Overview

Chile is a country on the rise, and has seen strong recent growth as both a study abroad and vacation destination. Though Chile was once the home of the infamous dictator Augusto Pinochet, 21st century Chile has a democratically elected government, a growing economy, and thriving culture, from symphonies and museums to world-class universities. Chile’s elongated north-south shape means that it is home to a wide variety of biomes, from the arid, rainless deserts to the peaks of the Andes. Whether you are interested in Chile’s indigenous Aymara Indians or studying Spanish literature, Chile will surprise you with all that it has to offer.

Cultural Highlights

Chile boasts a lively cultural scene and is host to many festivals each year, many of which are held in the capital city, Santiago. The Festival Costumbrista Chilote will take you to one of Chile’s Pacific islands for a week long celebration of the island's unique culture and heritage. In the small village of Valdiviana is a maritime festival called Semana Valdiviana. See brightly lit boats on the river beneath a fireworks display, and enjoy maritime activities and exhibitions. There is also Semana Santa, or Easter Week. Like many other predominantly Catholic nations, Chile comes alive with festivities during the week. Regardless of where you are in the country, there will almost certainly be parades, music, and other activities.

Santiago itself is rich with the fine arts, from symphonies to top-notch museums. There is also a vibrant music scene, a plethora of restaurants, and a variety of ways to take it all in, from cable cars to rental bicycles.

Popular Fields of Study

As with most Latin American countries, Chile is a great place to go if you want to learn Spanish or improve on the skills you already have. Immersion is the best tool for improving your foreign language skills, and you will interact with countless friendly Chileans that will give you opportunities to practice.

Because of the country's rich, controversial, and tumultuous political history, Chile study abroad student's have a great backdrop to study both the politics of Chile and of Latin America. Study Chile’s social, economic, and political transformation at one of Chile’s universities and by conducting field work. Chile is also a great place to go if you’re interested in cultural identity and matters of social justice and community development & empowerment. Chile serves as a microcosm for many of the issues that have proved challenging throughout Latin America.

Why Study Abroad in Chile?

Chile has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Chile.

1. Learn Spanish

Take advantage of being immersed in the Spanish language. Whether you’re just learning or have previous Spanish experience, immersion will be invaluable to your mastery of the language.

2. Festivals, Festivals, Festivals

Chile is home to a wide variety of festivals. Regardless of the time of the year, you will be sure to find a lively, colorful festival celebrating any number of events and aspects of Chilean culture.

3. Extreme Geographical Contrasts

Chile is a land of geographic extremes, and it is absolutely paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. From Patagonia to sun-scorched deserts and the heights of the Andes, there are exciting activities to accompany every landscape.

4. Great Universities

Chile has an extensive network of universities and associated facilities that will help you make the most of your educational experience.

5. Easter Island

Take the opportunity to visit one of those places that most people will only ever read about in books. See the huge stone Moai on an excursion you will never forget.

6. Political History

If you are interested in Latin American politics, Chile is a great destination with a varied (and sometimes infamous) political history.

7. Cost of Living

Developing countries are often great destinations for students, and Chile is no exception. Basic goods and services are very affordable for students – public transportation usually costs less than $1 USD per trip.

8. Patagonia and Penguins

Visit the Chilean part of Patagonia. At Isla Magdalena, there are more than 120,000 penguins waddling around.

9. Wildlife

Chile is home to many species of animals, including eight of the world’s largest species of sea birds. There are plenty of colorful feathered friends to see throughout the country.

10. Visit Other Countries

After you’ve completed your Chile study abroad experience, increase your exposure to Latin America by visiting another country. Chile is bordered by Argentina to the east, Peru to the north, and Bolivia to the northeast.

Chile Study Abroad Statistics

Chile Country Ranking: 16

(based on total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: 1.3%
  • Total US Students 2005/06: 2,578
  • Total US Students 2006/07: 2,824
  • Yearly 2006/07 Trend: +9.6%
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