Study Abroad at Chilean Universities Program, Santiago
- Location: Santiago
- Required GPA:2.75 (4.0 scale)
- Spanish requirement: 5 semesters of university-level Spanish or equivalent
- Application deadlines: October 15 for semester 1 (Feb-July)
October 15 for calendar year (Feb-Dec)
April 15 for semester 2 (July-Dec)
April 15 for academic year (July-July)
- Program advisor: Jennifer McKibben
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Located in the vibrant, economic and cultural heart of Chile, the Chilean Universities Program, Santiago combines excellent academics with big city attractions.
What the Chilean Universities Program, Santiago has to offer
- IFSA-Butler arranges housing with a carefully selected host family
- Only one IFSA-Butler student is housed per host family for maximum cultural and language integration
- The program fee includes three meals per day and laundry service
- All students take Advanced Spanish: Grammar, Composition, and Conversation, a required course designed exclusively for IFSA-Butler students
- Students may choose to do a directed research project or to take a second program course, History and Society in Contemporary Chile
- Remaining classes are taken at the Chilean universities
- Credits for university courses vary, but all students will earn 15-16 U.S. semester credit hours per semester
- Most courses are taught in Spanish by Chilean instructors, but a select number of business and economics courses taught in English are available
What is the academic structure of the Chilean Universities Program?
IFSA-Butler offers a semester and full year study abroad program on the Chilean Universities Program in Santiago, Chile. The program allows you to enroll directly in classes with local students at up to four different universities: the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad de Chile, Universidad Diego Portales and Universidad Autónoma de Chile. In addition, it offers two program classes designed specifically for IFSA-Butler participants as well as a directed research project option. These classes, taught in Spanish by local professors, are intended to provide you with an understanding of the events and issues that make Chile what it is today.
What program courses does IFSA-Butler offer?
The following courses are specially designed for IFSA-Butler students on the Chilean Universities Program in Santiago, Chile. Students are required to enroll in a mandatory Spanish language class; your placement level will be determined by an oral and written exam after your arrival in Chile. Additionally, you can choose to enroll in one additional program course or the directed research project option.
Click here to download all program course syllabi, or click on a course title below to download an individual syllabus.
Advanced Spanish: Grammar, Composition and Conversation (4 U.S. semester credit hours)This mandatory Spanish class is designed for especially for IFSA-Butler students on the Chilean Universities Program in Santiago. The main objective of this course is improving communicative competence and precision in speaking, listening, reading and writing (both formally and informally), while also taking integrating elements of Latin American and Chilean culture. Chilean instructors teach the course, which lasts the duration of the semester.
History and Society in Contemporary Chile (4 U.S. semester credit hours)This course is designed to provide students with a critical understanding of Chilean history and society. Through a multidisciplinary view, the course will cover the social, political and economic history of the country during the 20th century in order to allow students to discover why Chile has developed into the country that it is today.
Directed Research Project (6 U.S. semester credit hours)Students who have a special interest in a particular subject area may opt to complete a directed research project. By working closely with IFSA-Butler staff and Chilean university faculty members, students will be able to develop a substantial research project by the end of the semester. Students will attend methodology seminars and meet with their research sponsor during the semester. See the "Directed Research" tab for more detailed information.
Universidad de Chile
Universidad de Chile (UC), the oldest and largest public university in Chile, is home to around 25,000 undergraduate students. With five campuses, 14 schools and 4 interdisciplinary institutes, the university offers numerous course options in all academic areas. It has 26 research centers, a teaching hospital and laboratories throughout the country. The UC is strongly linked with the political culture of the country; 20 former presidents are alumni. Its business school is accredited by AACSB.
Through the School of Economics at the UC, IFSA-Butler Santiago students can participate in a language partner program with local Chilean students. Students meet at their convenience (usually once a week) with their partner and speak half the time in Spanish and half the time in English. Besides improving Spanish conversation skills, the program allows students to meet Chilean students in a more informal setting. During previous semesters, students participated in various language partner activities, such as visiting the Santiago Stock Exchange, an astronomical observatory, a vineyard and attending a barbeque for the Chilean Bicentennial.
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
The PUC is one of the best universities in Chile and Latin America. Home to almost 20,000 undergraduate students, it has four campuses in Santiago containing 18 different schools, with specialized libraries and computer labs at all campuses. Sixty-four of the 100 best students in Chile choose to attend the PUC.
Engineering, political sciences, agricultural science, theology, arts, literature, history and aesthetics are the most popular subject areas studied by former IFSA-Butler students here. Engineering programs are accredited by ABET, the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology
Undergraduate students at the PUC formed a welcoming committee to organize social and cultural activities for international students, in addition to introducing them to campus life. At present, IFSA-Butler students have participated in barbeques (choripanadas), theater outings, a visit to a vineyard and a rafting trip thanks to the organization. Members also sponsor an international festival every semester, where international students represent their home country by preparing typical food.
Universidad Diego Portales
The Universidad Diego Portales (UDP) is one of the top private universities in Chile. Founded in 1982 as a result of educational reforms, it is a pluralistic university that values diverse opinions among its professors and students. Located in the university neighborhood (barrio universitario) in downtown Santiago, it is home to around 12,000 undergraduate students. Sociology, psychology, literature, design, education, political science and law are some of the outstanding areas of study at UDP. The UDP has many interesting centers and organizations, including an UNESCO Chair on Comparative Policies in Higher Education and a Center for Human Rights.
Universidad Autónoma de Chile
The Universidad Autónoma de Chile (UA) was founded in the southern city of Temuco, 419 miles south of Santiago. UA was created in order to provide new opportunities for students in that area of the country. At this time, students in this zone lacked options for higher education. The UA opened a campus in Talca, a city 160 miles south of Santiago and also has two campuses in Santiago, one in Providencia, where the IFSA-Butler program is located, and the other in San Miguel. Today, UA has more than 17,000 students on four campuses throughout Chile. UA has reached a level of quality that has allowed it to be among the 10 most relevant private universities in Chile oriented toward first-generation university students.
What university courses am I eligible to take?
As an IFSA-Butler student, you may enroll in undergraduate courses for which you are qualified and space is available. Additionally, you may enroll in open courses as long as you meet any prerequisites and have the adequate level of Spanish. There are no restricted departments for IFSA-Butler students at any of the four universities with which we work. You can choose to take all courses at one university or a course at multiple universities associated with the program.
Keep the following in mind:
- Yearlong courses are open only to students who plan on taking both semesters of the course.
- Some courses are only offered during certain semesters. If a course includes an odd number to denote the semester it will be offered (i.e. I, III, V, etc.) that means it will be offered during semester 1 (corresponds to the U.S. spring semester). Even numbers correspond to semester 2 (corresponds to the U.S. fall semester).
- Course syllabi may not be available until the beginning of your semester.
- Fine art, studio art and music courses may require an audition or a portfolio.
Where can I find a list of courses that the host universities offer?
Each of the four universities provides an online course catalog that lists courses that may be available during your study abroad semester or year. Keep in mind that these listings are provisional. Follow the steps below to access the online course catalog:
Universidad de Chile
- Click here to access UC's online course catalog.
- Select a major (carrera) of your interest.
- Scroll down to the middle of the page for the "Programa de Estudio" and corresponding courses.
Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile
- Click here to access PUC's online course catalog.
- Click on a major (carrera) of your interest.
- A list of course numbers will appear according to the semester in which they are offered.
Universidad Diego Portales
- Click here to access UDP's online course catalog.
- Click on the Facultad in which you are interested.
- On the top, left-hand side of the page, click on the link for the "Escuela" to see course listings.
- Under Carrera, click on the subject (i.e. Historia)
- Click on Malla Curricular to see the core classes for each major. UDP also offers elective classes which you will be able to see during the program orientation in Santaigo.
Universidad Autónoma de Chile
- Click here to access Universidad Autónoma’s course information.
- Click on the major in which you are interested.
- Click on the malla curricular link to view a pdf of course lists for that major. Courses listed under odd-numbered semesters are more likely to be offered during semester 1 (U.S. spring) while courses listed under even-numbered semesters are more likely to be offered during semester 2 (U.S. fall).
If a particular course you are looking for is not listed, contact your program advisor for more information. Course availability changes every semester.
*Students can choose to take all of their classes at one university or can divide them up between any of the four universities.
How are courses at Chilean universities different from the courses at my U.S. university?
The system of higher education in Chile is more specialized than the U.S. liberal arts curriculum, which means that Chilean students enter the university with some background in the subjects they wish to study. Therefore, local students take most of, if not all, their courses in one faculty and receive a degree in one field. In the U.S. system, students take a little of everything and don't specialize until a couple of years into their studies.
Additionally, you might notice that your Chilean classmates know each other very well. This is because students enroll in carreras rather than majors. Carreras are similar to majors in the United States but with a more structured program of study and fewer elective courses. Students from the same carrera enroll in the same courses together during their entire undergraduate career.
I need to provide course descriptions and/or syllabi to my home university advisor. Where can I find those?
If course descriptions or syllabi are not available online, contact your program advisor for assistance. Please provide the following information in your request:
- University Name
- University department or facultad
- Course title
- Course number (if available)
Please limit your request to 10 courses at a time. Keep in mind that it may take a few days to a month to obtain this information.
Courses Taught in English
A limited number of business and economics courses taught in English are available for this program. These courses are taught at Universidad de Chile and are integrated with Chilean degree students. During orientation in Chile, our resident director in Santiago will discuss these courses and the process for registering for them. IFSA-Butler students may take only one course taught in English.
If you think you may want to take one of these courses, be sure you have permission from your home college academic advisor to take a course in English while in Chile.
How will I register for courses?
Course registration will not take place until you are in Chile. You, along with the help of the IFSA-Butler staff, will plan your course schedule during orientation. While we are sure that your time abroad will be rewarding, you must be aware of some of the challenges inherent in dealing with the Chilean educational system. The resident director will not only discuss these issues at orientation but will also be available to help you with any problems that may arise during the semester.
Keep in mind that the educational system in Chile is different from the system in the U.S. For example, universities do not usually publish course schedules until just before the start of the semester. In many cases, current course listings are not available until you arrive on site.
What if I need to take a required course?
Because of the universities schedules, it is difficult to confirm course availability before you depart. If you are flexible in your course choices, you will probably be able to find a course that fits your needs. Keep in mind that if you need a specific course to fulfill your home institution's requirements, we may not be able to confirm the availability of that course or enroll you in it even if it is available. Both academic flexibility and patience are requirements for studying in Latin America.
Science and engineering courses require a high level of expertise, and students should be prepared for the increased challenge of studying these disciplines in Spanish. As these are fields in which there are generally few international students, visiting students may feel that a support system is not readily available. However, previous visiting students on the Chilean Universities Program in Santiago have found science and engineering course professors to be helpful.
What are the registration conditions?
You must take a full university course load as determined by IFSA-Butler, which is 15-16 U.S. semester credit hours per semester. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. full course load. The number of courses you will take depends on the individual value of the courses you select. Please be aware that you may be charged additional fees by your home university or host university to take or process additional credits. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.
All courses are graded on an A-F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses unless pass/fail is the only method of assessment for the course. Students are not allowed to register for on-line, distance education or hybrid courses. See the "Academics" and "Program Fees and Financial Aid" sections in Preparing to Study Abroad for more information.
What do I need to know about exams?
Due to the difference in academic systems, your exam schedule will not be available until after you register for courses during orientation. Be sure to confirm exam dates with your professor at the beginning of the semester. You are not permitted to reschedule exams, request alternate assessment or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If this occurs, IFSA-Butler will not be able to assist you in conducting an academic record appeal on the class in which you made this arrangement. Additionally, all academic obligations, including final exams, must be complete before leaving Chile.
How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
After you return to the U.S., IFSA-Butler will send a Butler University transcript to your home university. The transcript reflects the courses taken, credits attempted and grades earned on the Chilean Universities Program during your study abroad semester or year. We will also send an official transcript to your permanent home address.
Academic TutorsWhat if I need academic help during the semester?
In addition to the formal Spanish class, IFSA-Butler can organize tutoring sessions for students throughout the semester or year. These may be scheduled at various times during the week, when students meet with the tutor on an individual basis. Please speak with the IFSA-Butler resident staff if you would like the assistance of a tutor.
Areas of Study
On the Chilean Universities Program, Santiago, you are able to take university courses in a wide range of subject areas. Most departments at all four partner universities are open to IFSA-Butler students. See the "University Courses" tab for more information on departmental and course restrictions. IFSA-Butler hopes that students will be able to take courses for their U.S. institution degree requirements in order to stay on track for graduation.
Following is a sample list of courses that previous IFSA-Butler students have taken in Santiago during past semesters. Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list. There are hundreds of courses in Santiago from which you can choose. To see full course listings that may be available during your study abroad semester, click on the "University Courses" tab to access the online course catalogs for each university.
Popular Subjects and Courses*
- Art and Indigenous American Cultures
- Contemporary Art in Chile
- Anthropology and Gender
- Anthropology of Aging
- Chilean Anthropology
- Regional Architectures of Chile
- Conservation and Management of Natural Resources
- Ecodesign: Sustainable Technology Innovation
- Environmental Policy in the Context of Development: The Case of Chile
- Forest Ecology
- Chilean Economics
- Economic Development
- Economics and Poverty
- International Economic Relations
- Academic Technique III (Universidad de Chile)
- Techniques and Practice: Teaching English as a Second Language
- Environmental Engineering
- Fluid Mechanics
- Mechanical Metallurgy
- Advanced Human Figure Drawing
- Aesthetics of Film
- Basic Photography
- Cinema from Literature's Perspective
- Film, History and Power: Mixed Looks from/about Latin America
- Painting I
- Photojournalism Workshop
- Stone Sculpture
- Mapuche and Intercultural Literature
- Mapuche Culture and Language
- Mapuche Rakiduam: Mapuche Culture
- Geography of Latin America
- Political Geography (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile)
- Biopolitics and Violence in Chile and Latin America in the 19th and 20th Centuries
- History of Chile in the 19th Centure and the Independence Revolution
- History of Economic Thought
- History of Latin America Through Music
- The Andean World
- Intercultural Health
- Men's Soccer I
- Rock Climbing
- Salsa (Universidad de Chile)
- Modern and Post-Modern Aesthetics in Latin America
- General Astrophysics
- Modern Physics
- Armed Conflict and the Politics of Humanitarian Work
- Foreign Policy of Chile
- International Relations in Latin America
- Political Corruption in Latin America
- Political Organization of Chile
- United States Policies Towards Latin America 1865-1990
- General Psychopathology
- Psychology and Christian Belief
- Psychology of Personality
- Psychosocial Problems
- Religions and Christianity
- The Search for Christian Meaning and Proposal
- Chilean Cultural Roots and Identity
- Culture and Society in Latin America
- Formation and Development of Latin American Society
- Gender Relationships, Family and Spousal Violence in Chile 1700-1900
- Habitat and Poverty: Is Fairness Possible in the City?
- Population Displacement in the 21st Century: The Situation of Migrants and Refugees
- Social Change in Latin America
- Urban Sociology
- Chilean and Hispanic American Essay
- Chilean Narrative: Voices of the 20th Century
- Colonial Hispanic American Literature
- Folklore I
- Image of Chile in Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda
- Poetry Workshop
- The Best Latin American Stories
- The Prose of Borges
* All courses listed on this page were available to IFSA-Butler students during previous semesters on the Chilean Universities Program, Santiago. IFSA-Butler cannot guarantee that a course listed here or on the universities' online course catalog will be available or open to IFSA-Butler students during future study abroad semesters. Please contact your IFSA-Butler program advisor if you have questions about course availability.
The opportunity to study in great detail current events and issues of importance to individual countries, Latin America as a whole and even the global society is one of the strengths of the faculty and associated researchers affiliated with the CUP directed research project.
Click here to download more specific information regarding the optional Directed Research opportunity.
Each semester, a small number of highly qualified participants in our programs opt to conduct in-depth research on a contemporary issue of their choosing. Students work closely with IFSA-Butler staff to hone their proposals and identify suitable faculty sponsors to guide their work. Before students begin to conduct interviews and collect data, they attend two mandatory sessions on research methodology taught by a local faculty member. During the course of their research, students are also required to meet with their faculty sponsor every 15 days to assess progress and garner further advice.
The research component is designed individually for each participant on the basis of past academic work, research skills and area of personal research interest. The directed research project carries 6 U.S. semester credit hours.
The directed research opportunity is optional for all program students. If you would like to participate, complete the Directed Research Proposal form under the Forms tab and return it to IFSA-Butler by email, fax or regular mail.
Study abroad is much more than academics. Learning takes place not only during class, but 24 hours a day. One of the best out-of-class experiences is the homestay, which is a vital, required component of the IFSA-Butler program. One IFSA-Butler student is placed with a carefully selected, program approved host family for the duration of the study abroad semester or year.
In addition to the program application, be sure to click on the "Forms" tab to download and complete your Family Placement Form. Once finished, submit your Family Placement Form to IFSA-Butler via email, fax or regular mail.
The Chilean Universities Program, Santiago includes three meals per day.
Is my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. Your program fee includes accommodation with your host family while classes are in session and during short university breaks. If you are studying abroad for an entire year, you will need to find alternate housing during the semester breaks. You will be responsible for the any commuting costs you may incur.
When will I receive my housing assignment?
You will most likely receive your housing assignment one to two weeks before your departure. However, in some cases you may not receive your housing assignment until you arrive in Chile for orientation. Your program advisor will notify you of your housing assignment via email when it is ready.
Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.
Do I have to pay a housing deposit?
The Chilean Universities Program, Santiago does not require a housing deposit.
Can I arrange my own housing?
All students who participate on the program must live with a program approved host family for the duration of the program.
Living and Studying in Santiago
Population: 6.5 million
Location: Central Chile
- Delightfully mild temperatures and dry weather
- The economic and cultural heart of Chile
- Comprised of 31 comunas, each of which is like a small city with its own personality, mayor and city council
- Beautifully landscaped parks that add green spaces to the city
- Great museums and galleries, including the turn-of-the-century Palacio de Bellas Artes
- Great festivals
- Plenty of opportunities to enjoy theatre and music
- Trendy pubs and nightclubs
- Take advantage of Santiago's status as a travel hub and visit other sites in Chile and Latin America
- Take a day trip to the beach or to Cajon del Maipo, a great area for all kinds of outdoor adventuring
- Visit beautiful, pastoral Valparaíso, located along Chile's coast and just two hours away
Lonely Planet Chile
This is Chile
Dates & Fees
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* University orientations are administered primarily or in part by IFSA-Butler staff in Chile.
Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.
Program housing is available only until the date listed as “Program ends” on the calendar.
Exams must be taken where and when scheduled. Under no circumstances may students request that an exam time be changed. In Chile, exams are taken under formal examination conditions, and changes cannot be made for individuals. Students will not receive extra time to complete exams.
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What's included in our Chile program fees
Calendar Year and Semester 1 Payments Due: December 15
Academic Year and Semester 2 Payments Due: May 15
Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for the entire program fee, which includes tuition, services, housing and some meals.
Each student lives with a carefully selected host family. The program fee includes three meals per day.
Personal Cost Estimates
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These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs.
The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.
Meals: The program fee includes three meals per day.
Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.
Commuting: Estimates are for transportation between housing and university. Transportation for personal or recreational purposes is not included in the above estimates.
All costs are in U.S. dollars.
To apply to the Chilean Universities Program, Santiago, use our easy online application.
Applicants to the Chilean Universities Program, Santiago must complete one additional form as a part of the application process:
Family Placement Form
Please submit this form with the remainder of your program application. It can be sent to IFSA-Butler via email, fax or regular mail.
If you would like to participate on the optional Directed Research portion of the program, please complete the following research proposal and submit it to IFSA-Butler:
Directed Research Proposal (optional)
If you have already started an application to the Chilean Universities program, Santiago, you can check the status of your application using the Student Portal.
Your IFSA-Butler Team
IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in Chile:
Program Advisor Jennifer McKibben assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Jennifer studied abroad in Costa Rica for a year through an IFSA-Butler program. After completing her undergraduate degree in Spanish at Butler University, she moved to Costa Rica for three years to immerse herself in the culture and pursue a Master’s degree in Spanish-English Translation at Universidad Nacional. She is very passionate about helping students have impactful, enriching experiences abroad. Jennifer currently advises students planning to study abroad in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru. She can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4264.
Student Accounts Coordinator Marty Weinbrecht assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Marty can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4218.
Student & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler for 11 years, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (one who has studied abroad too), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4252.
Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our on-site office, including our resident director. Click here to read more about Resident Director Isabel Yévenes.
Upon return from your study abroad program, Assistant Director for Academic Records Rhonda Hinkle processes your Butler University transcript and assists with any academic record appeals. Rhonda completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Evansville and received her master's degree from Bowling Green State University. Currently she is working on her Doctorate in Adult, Community and Higher Education at Ball State University. For Rhonda, study abroad not only increased her awareness of the world around her but also ignited her passion for travel and education. Rhonda can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4259.
Volunteering while studying abroad in Santiago is an enriching experience, both personally and academically. Students report that even volunteering a few hours per week enhanced their study abroad experience by providing them with access to the local culture and a deeper understanding of problems that face the country. Opportunities to volunteer are available for IFSA-Butler students in many different fields as you can see below.
IFSA-Butler has prepared a list of places where you, as a visiting student, could volunteer to do social service. While this is purely optional, a commitment on your part is needed in order to arrange a placement. Volunteering does not earn academic credit and will not appear on your Butler University transcript.
Examples of places where students can be placed:
- Nuestra Casa - Cook and serve meals to the homeless.
- Inglés Abre Puertas - Teach English in a Chilean high school through a program sponsored by Ministry of Education.
- Hogar Domingo Savio - Help with a children's after-school program.
- Universidad Autónoma - Serve as an English teacher assistance for undergraduate students.
- Centro Integrado de Atención al Migrante - Help in a home for recently arrived immigrants, including activities from administrative duties to teaching classes.
This is just a sample of the volunteer opportunities available to our students, and these may change from semester to semester. If you have specific interests, please discuss them with your program advisor, who can research other opportunities that may be available in your area of interest. Your program advisor can help you determine opportunities that fit your interests (if they are not listed above), but you will not sign up for a volunteer placement until orientation.