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Study Abroad at Chilean Universities Program, Valparaíso

  • Location: Valparaíso and Viña del Mar
  • Required GPA: 3.0 (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 1 for semester 2 (July-Dec)
    April 1 for academic year (July-July)
    The semester 1 and calendar year application deadline has been extended to November 1.
  • Program advisor: Michelle Mannweiler
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Program Snapshot

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Situated between the mountains and the sea, the Chilean Universities Program, Valparaíso provides a unique setting for study abroad. Cobbled streets, Victorian houses and a bustling port, the city is famous for its charm and picture-perfect views.

What the Chilean Universities Program, Valparaíso has to offer

Housing

  • IFSA-Butler students live with a carefully selected host family
  • Host family homes are located in centrally located neighborhoods in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar
  • Program fee includes three meals per day and laundry service
  • IFSA-Butler houses only one student per family for maximum cultural and language integration

Academics

  • All university classes taught in Spanish and integrated with degree-seeking students
  • All students take Advanced Written and Oral Spanish, a course designed exclusively for IFSA-Butler students
  • Three optional program courses are available only to IFSA-Butler students: Contemporary Chilean Literature, Sociopolitical History of Latin America (20th Century), and Chilean Society and Community Action
  • Most popular university departments include history, geography, biology, psychology, education and Latin American/Hispanic studies
  • Students earn 15-16 U.S. semester credit hours per semester 
  • Internship opportunity available: Activities include working with children and youth in community organizations, working with the disabled, environmental education or community literacy
  • Six interns chosen per semester

Academics

Academic Structure

What is the academic structure of the Chilean Universities Program in Valparaíso?
IFSA-Butler offers a semester and full year study abroad program at the Chilean Universities Program in Valparaíso. The program allows you to enroll directly in classes at two different universities (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso and Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María) with local students. In addition, it offers three program classes and an internship designed specifically for IFSA-Butler participants. 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.

Program Courses

What program courses does IFSA-Butler offer?
The following courses are specially designed for IFSA-Butler students on the Chilean Universities Program in Valparaíso. You are required to enroll in the 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 of the two additional program courses offered. There is also an internship option designed specifically for IFSA-Butler students. Students can enroll in one optional program course as well as participate on the internship.

Click here to download all program course syllabi, or click on a course title below to download an individual course syllabus.

Advanced Written and Oral Spanish (4 U.S. semester credit hours)
This course is designed by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) specifically for non-native Spanish speakers. Placement is determined during your orientation abroad. This course is mandatory for all IFSA-Butler students.

Sociopolitical History of Latin America (20th Century) (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This course aims to give students an understanding of how the political system that is seen indiscriminately in Latin American countries corresponds to a socio-economic and psychological structure that makes political stability difficult.

Contemporary Chilean Literature (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This course serves as an overview of Chilean literature, including its relationship to the country's history, society and culture.

Chilean Society and Community Action (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Six students each semester are chosen to participate in an internship which is certified by the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (USM). Students must complete 30 hours of community service, as well as complete 15 contact hours with course professor throughout the semester. See the "Internship" tab for more information.

University Info

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) has approximately 14,000 students. It is set in the twin cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. You'll find a tightly-knit community of students pursuing their academics and many extracurricular cultural and sporting activities. PUCV offers a wide variety of courses available to IFSA-Butler students. Course listings will not be available until orientation in Chile. As such, you will select and register for courses when you arrive in Chile. One credit at the PUCV is equal to 1 U.S. semester credit hour. Courses are typically worth 2 to 4 U.S. semester credit hours.

Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María
Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (commonly referred to as the USM) has 13,000 students in an environment dedicated to teaching and research at the highest level. All of the university's academic programs are well known for their excellence.

USM believes that providing a comprehensive academic program means including sports, physical activity, arts and languages as a substantial part of the student's formation. For that reason, the Institute of Humanities Studies (Departamento de Estudios Humanísticos) plays a key role in providing students with tools to become citizens who are sensitive to what is happening around them. USM's Department of Humanities offers disciplines that are geared toward both national and international students. In addition, the department has many non-traditional courses that focus on culture, civilization, sociology, politics, music, ethics and literature.

The Department of Humanities also provides students with a wide range of undergraduate academic support activities such as theatre workshops, painting exhibitions and subject-related seminars. Its aim is to enhance the central USM mission of teaching and research in science and technology in a number of ways.

IFSA-Butler students are able to take a maximum of two classes in USM's humanities department. One credit at the USM is equal to 1 U.S. semester credit hours.

University Courses

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. Course syllabi may not be available until the beginning of your semester.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Year-long courses are open only to students who plan on taking both semesters of the course.
  • Odd numbered semesters correspond to semester 1 (U.S. spring semester), and even numbered semesters correspond to semester 2 (U.S. fall semester).

Where can I find a list of courses that the host universities offer?
Both of the universities provide online course catalogs that list 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:

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso:

  1. Click here to access PUCV's online course catalog.
  2. Select a major of your interest under the various facultades listed.
  3. Scroll down to see a list of all the courses that may be available for that specific area of study.

Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María:

  1. Click here to access USM's online course catalog.
  2. Click on "Engineering and Architecture Programs."
  3. Select "Main Campus" and then "Estudios Humanísticos" from the drop down menues.
  4. There you will find a list of courses that may be offered. You can find the course descriptions by clicking on the symbol that looks like a document and says "course description."

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 take as many courses at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) as they would like. Students can take up to two courses at the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María.

Are there any restrictions or additional requirements for courses I can take?
Students cannot take classes in the following departments at the following schools:

  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso: Architecture, music (only some courses available), law (only some courses available) and engineering (other than commercial engineering, not recommended due to difficulty).
  • Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María: Students can only take classes in the humanities department.

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
  • Department or facultad
  • Course title and 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.

How are Chilean university courses 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.

Registration

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. Before leaving for Chile, it is a good idea to start thinking about the courses you want to take while studying abroad. Be sure to discuss your courses with your U.S. university academic and/or study abroad advisor.

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. Our 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, Chilean 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 Valparaíso 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.

Exams

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 after you arrive in Chile. 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 query on the class in which you made this arrangement. Additionally, all academic obligations, including final exams, must be complete before leaving Chile.

Transcripts

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 Tutoring

What 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, Valparaíso, you are able to take university courses in a wide range of subject areas. Most departments at PUCV are open to IFSA-Butler students, as well as humanities courses at USM (see "University Courses" tab for more information on 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 Valparaíso during past semesters. Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list. There are hundreds of courses at PUCV and USM 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 these universities.

Popular Subjects and Courses*

Anthropology:

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • General Anthropology

Art History:

  • History of Universal Art

Biology:

  • Introduction to Oceanography
  • Microbiology
  • Natural Resources and Climatic Change
  • Submarine Geology of the Chilean Margin

Economics:

  • Chile and its Insertion into the Global Economy
  • Globalization, Innovation and Economic Development

Education:

  • Puppet Workshop
  • Construction of the Professional Identity

Film Studies:

  • Basic Concepts of Cinematographic Language
  • Historic Evolution of Film

Geography:

  • Biodiversity and Sustainable Development
  • Geoecology
  • Geography of Chile
  • Geography of Latin America
  • Introduction to Mountaineering
  • Urban and Rural Geography

History:

  • 20th Century Latin American History
  • Modern History of Chile
  • Urban History and Regional History of Valparaíso
  • History and Film: War and Peace Art and Society in Pre-Hispanic Chile
  • Economic and Social History
  • Sociopolitical History of Latin America, 20th Century
  • Regional and Local History

Physical Education:

  • Camping Techniques and Outdoor Education
  • Mapuches (Araucanos) Games of Chile
  • Mountain Sports

Political Science:

  • International Politics

Psychology:

  • Developmental Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Industrial Psychology
  • Multicultural Education
  • Psychology of Love and Sexuality

Religious Studies:

  • Introduction to the History of Religions
  • Religious Psychology

Sociology:

  • Cultural Antropology
  • Mondernity and Social Issues
  • Social Violence

Spanish Language and Literature:

  • Chilean and Hispanic American Literature
  • Chilean Dialectology
  • Contemporary Latin American Poetry
  • Poetry Reading
  • Spanish Literature
  • Theory of Translation and Interpretation

* All courses listed on this page were available to IFSA-Butler students during previous semesters on the Chilean Universities Program, Valparaíso. 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.

Internship

Students can choose to participate in an internship program which places students with a non-profit organization such as the following: educational and recreational program for youth with disabilities (APARID); environmental education and recycling projects (Acción Cousteau); and community literacy initiative (Libro Alegre). This hands-on experience is an integral component of the 3-credit Chilean Society and Community Action course.

Selected interns work for 48 hours during the semester (4 hours per week) in the community and spend 24 classroom hours with a university professor. These classes are intended to enhance students' community experience by tying learning to broader issues key to understanding Chilean society. The coursework also requires written journals and reports, as well as oral presentations, all in Spanish, related to the internship. IFSA-Butler staff in Chile assist with internship placements.

Click here to download an internship course syllabus.

Exploring Community & Culture

IFSA-Butler's Exploring Community & Culture program (C&C) in Valparaíso is designed to take your study abroad experience to another level. It encourages you to get the most out of your time abroad by blending intercultural learning with an exploration of the local community and community groups and key topics in Chilean culture. The reflective exercises and group discussions in C&C will help you process your cultural experiences in Chile.

Dialogues with local experts will help you prepare for and reflect on your participation in special IFSA-Butler excursions. Through this program you will be encouraged to engage with the community in which you are living and question your own perspective of the world, while learning to appreciate similarities and differences between cultures and communities. Participating students can choose to enroll in the seminar with or without credit. The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) grants 2 credits if a student chooses this option (PIIE 310). If a student chooses the non-credit option, he or she will receive a certificate for successful seminar participation.

Click here to view the C&C course syllabus.

Housing

Housing Options

What are my housing options?
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. Host family homes are located in centrally located neighborhoods in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar.

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.

Meals

The Chilean Universities Program, Valparaíso includes three meals per day.

Housing FAQs

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 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, Valparaíso does not require a housing deposit.

Can I arrange my own housing?
All students who participate on the Chilean Universities Program, Valparaíso must live with a program approved host family for the duration of the program.

Location

Living and Studying in Valparaíso & Viña del Mar
Population: 600,000 (300,000 per city)
Location: Central Chile

Valparaíso features

  • Chile's second-largest city located between mountains and the sea
  • Known for its romantic, time-worn elegance of cobbled streets and Victorian houses
  • Museums, galleries and performance venues are all abundant and easy on the student budget
  • Home of the Chilean Congress
  • Local restaurants are known for their fabulous seafood
  • Home to great entertainment and nightlife

Viña del Mar features

  • Chile's premier coastal resort with beautiful beaches and stunning coastline
  • Known as the ciudad jardín (garden city) in part for its lavish gardens and subtropical atmosphere
  • A great place for cinemas and dance clubs

Do more!

  • Enjoy a weekend at Reserva Nacional Lago Peñuelas, just outside of Valparaíso
  • Experience the natural beauty of nearby Parque Nacional la Campana
  • Take advantage of the stunning beaches near both cities
  • Visit exciting and sophisticated Santiago, just two hours away


Links
Chile Tourism
Contact Chile

Area Guide to Valparaíso and Viña del Mar
Area photos

Dates & Fees

Program Dates

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* University orientations are administered primarily or in part by IFSA-Butler staff in Chile.

Students must arrive in Santiago on the program start date by the specified time in order to be transported to the orientation venue. Please see your predeparture newsletters or contact your IFSA-Butler program advisor for the arrival time.

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.

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.

Program housing is available only until the date listed as “Program ends” on the calendar. The program end date listed is the day that IFSA-Butler services end and students move out of their housing.

Program Fees

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What's included in our Chile program fees
Expense calculator

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.

Housing
Each student lives with a carefully selected host family. The program fee includes three meals per day.

Personal Cost Estimates

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Expense calculator

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.

Forms

To apply to the Chilean Universities Program, Valparaíso, use our easy online application.

Applicants to the Chilean Universities Program, Valparaíso must complete one additional form as 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 have already started an application to the Chilean Universities Program, Valparaíso, 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:

michelleProgram Advisor Michelle Mannweiler prepares students to study abroad by assisting them with the application process and answering program, cultural, and academic questions. Michelle is a Butler University graduate and majored in both Middle/Secondary Education and Spanish. Michelle also studied for a semester in Costa Rica through IFSA’s program. She joined the IFSA-Butler team in order to assist students in achieving their goals in new and interesting places. Michelle currently advises students planning to study in Costa Rica and Chile as well as some Argentina and England programs. Michelle can be reached at the email link provided above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4267.

martiStudent 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.

 



donnettaStudent & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, 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 Mark Sinclair.

 

saraUpon return from your study abroad program, Senior Academic Affairs Coordinator Sara Bell processes your Butler University transcript and assists with any academic record queries. Sara can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4261.

Get Connected

Connect with IFSA-Butler Students

If you really want to know what it's like to study abroad, connect with IFSA-Butler alumni and students who are currently abroad on an IFSA-Butler program. Check out the following:


Student Network

Student Blogs
Experiences Abroad Videos
For Students

Volunteer

Volunteering while studying abroad in Valparaíso 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 challenges 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:

  • Ministerio de Educación El Inglés Abre Puertas - Serve as classroom assistants to elementary and high school English teachers.
  • Accion Cousteau - Serve as classroom assistant and field trip support staff for coastal environmental edcuation, restoration and recycling projects.
  • Hogar de Cristo Programa Calle - Provide support to homeless people in the Vina del Mar area. Participate in multi-disciplinary team led by professionals.
  • APARID - Work with a community program that helps children and youth with Down Syndrome. Assists teachers in horticulture, art and current event workshops.
  • Greenpeace Chile - Participate in environmental restoration projects in local protected areas and assist with key national environmental campaigns.
  • YWCA - Facilitate workshops on dance, theatre and art for at-risk children and youth.
  • Libro Alegre - Assist with community library reading program in local schools and community centers for elementary-age children.
  • SANA CLOWN - Assist therapists who visit sick children in local hospitals.
  • Teletón - Promote the integration and social inclusion of children with disabilities through recreational activities and community action with them and their families.
  • Semilla de Color - Participate in urban beautification projects in Valparaíso neighborhoods.  

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.

 
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