Get Your Nature On: Study Abroad in Chile!

by Djulia Montana de Veyra

If you want outdoor adventures while you’re studying abroad, Chile should be on top of your list. The country forms a narrow ribbon-like strip between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, giving it a range of climate that expands from the arid to the wet.

The Chilean capital, Santiago, surrounded by mountains
The Chilean capital, Santiago, surrounded by mountains Photo by Jennifer Ramos

You will find the world’s driest desert (the Atacama) in the north, humid subtropics in the south, a temperate Mediterranean climate in central Chile, glaciers and Alpine tundra in the east and southeast, and the magnificent Andes mountain range running down the entire country. Chile is both form and substance, as it prides itself in a number of the best educational institutions in Latin America as well as a high standard of living. Students who study abroad in Chile will have plenty of exciting things to explore in and out of the classroom.

Enjoy The Excitement Of Geographical Extremes

Described by Chilean author Benjamín Subercaseaux as having a “crazy geography,” Chile boasts a rare combination of deserts, beaches, glaciers, volcanoes, and jungles in one country. With a climate that varies dramatically in many different areas, you will never run out of exhilarating things to do while studying in Chile. Take a drive to San Pedro and enjoy climbing, trekking, archaeological sightings, and sandboarding in the hot desert. Or go surfing and scuba diving at a variety of beach towns along the Pacific coast. A trip to the Andes provides some of the best skiing and trekking in the world. People who love the great outdoors will find just the terrain to suit their fancy.

Delight In The Great Tourist Attractions

Easter Island is not only one of the most isolated islands in the world, but is also one of the most sacred sites on the planet. Feast your eyes on the Moai, enigmatic monolithic human figures that have been a source of awe for centuries. Do not miss the Isla Magdalena and the delightful penguins waddling around. There are about 120,000 of these fun and fascinating creatures to brighten up your day.

Take a drive to Valparaiso, a colonial city that offers an impressive representation of 19th-century Latin American architecture. Visit the Jesuit wooden churches at Chiloe Island, and experience the sense of mystique that envelops the island known for its myths and legends.

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Let Your Creative Juices Flow

Chile has bred a host of world-famous authors and poets. Roberto Bolaño, Isabel Allende, and the world-renowned Nobel Prize Literature laureates Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral are a few of the great artists gracing the list. The local creativity is evidently active, with a well-stocked list of shows and concerts that make the days and nights in Chile lively and festive.

Experience A Microcosm Of Latin America

Anyone interested in learning about Latin American politics would find studying abroad in Chile an ideal decision. The country offers a good representation of the issues that characterize the region. Chile has come a long way from the infamous dictatorship that wrought the nation for years. A successful democratic transition model, the Chilean government has been a favorite subject for international studies. Chile is now not only well respected for its democratic institutions, but for its stable economy as well. This stability has made the country one of the secure places to travel to, making Chile a popular destination for younger and solo travelers.

Live More With Less

In Chile, it’s possible to enjoy superb food, a thriving culture, impressive urban structures, and first-class living standards with the affordable living costs characteristic of Latin American countries. The low cost of living makes Chile an inviting destination for students from all over the world.

A Slow-Paced Life With Warm People

Chileans are known for the welcoming warmth they give to foreigners. Visiting students enjoy local traditions like the sobremesa, where you sit around for hours after a meal, talking at length (with a lot of singing and music involved!). The people of Chile enjoy long weekend lunches and lazy Sunday afternoons, and those studying abroad in Chile learn to adapt to a looser concept of time. If you are the impatient type, Chileans will teach you to relax and savor the little joys of life just a little more.

Chile is not only a great destination in Latin America, but also offers a convenient gateway to other countries in the region. Bordered by Bolivia to the northeast, Peru to the north and Argentina to the east, Chile offers great accessibility to southern and western South America.

Conguillio National Park

Conguillio National Park

A Myriad of Educational Choices

You can’t miss the most important reason you are studying abroad — to get great education. With over 50 universities, about 2,400 undergraduate programs and a wide range of master’s and Ph.D. programs, most students find a perfect study abroad program in Chile, even for less common subjects. With its clear skies and observatories, the country is a favored destination for those studying Astronomy. With its rich world-famous vineyards, Chile is an ideal destination for those interested in Oenology. With Chile a leader in the development of alternative energy, study-abroad providers like Broadreach offer international students the chance to study and intern abroad in the industry.

Chilean education is not only about choices, but about quality. The magazine AmericaEconomia ranks state universities in the country among the top 35 universities in Latin America, two of which are the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso and the Universidad de Chile. The Centro de Informacion y Documentacion Cientifica (Cindoc), part of a large national research center in Spain, puts 10 Chilean universities in the top 100 list of universities in Latin America.

Top Study Abroad Programs in Chile

SIT Study Abroad offers a multidimensional approach to giving students a crash course on the factors behind the "Chilean miracle" — the democratic and macroeconomic success made possible by the country’s transition model.

CIEE indulges international students’ hunger for culture and inspiration with a host of activities that brings students to historical and cultural sites in Chile. Participants enjoy a biking tour around historical neighborhoods, a visit to the memorial of the 1973 coup’s victims, a trip around local museums, and excursions to the verdant forests, the land of volcanoes, and the magnificent Araucaria trees.