From the beautiful coastlines of Patagonia in the south along the mighty Andes in the east to the barren reaches of the Atacama desert in the north, Chile is a country of tremendous geographical diversity. It is also South America’s most prosperous nation, leading the continent in many rankings, including political stability, economic power, and social well-being. If you are seeking a great adventure to add a new global perspective to your high school education, then high school programs in Chile await you.
Though one of the longest countries in the world, from top to bottom (stretching 2,670 miles, compared to only 217 miles east to west), Chile has a relatively small population of 18 million citizens. Much of the country remains wild and unsettled terrain combined with a nature lover’s paradise on the Pacific coast.
Well over a quarter of the country’s population lives in Santiago, Chile’s capital city and one of the most important global hubs of South America. As the political, financial, and cultural heart, many high school programs in Chile are rooted in Santiago, and for good reason. From prestigious museums and historical monuments to hip restaurants and theaters, immersive activities are never in short supply in Santiago. Within easy reach of both the mountains to the east and the beaches to the west, city life will also never prove too burdensome to high school students.
Other cities where it is possible to find high school programs in Chile include Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. Pristinely settled on the Pacific coastline, Valparaiso is Chile’s second largest city and a major center of education, culture, and trade (it also Chile’s busiest seaport). Vina del Mar is another beautiful coastal city, known widely for its sprawling beaches, resorts, and laid back atmosphere.
High School Programs in Chile
Chile is a popular country for high school programs abroad for many different reasons. A few of the most popular types of high school programs in Chile include language immersion, adventure travel, and study abroad.
Chile is a Spanish speaking country, and therefore offers great opportunities for students to take their Spanish language comprehension to the next level. Most language immersion programs are structured so that students take classes throughout the morning each weekday, supplemented by additional extracurricular cultural activities in the afternoons and evenings. Your Spanish skills will benefit most from making the effort to speak it as much as possible outside the classroom!
Since Chile is a geographically beautiful and extremely biodiverse country, adventure travel is a very popular option for high school programs in Chile as well. From trekking and kayaking in the Andes to surfing the Pacific to horseback riding in Patagonia, there are a ton of exciting opportunities for nature lovers across Chile’s majestic landscape.
Lastly, study abroad is another focus that many high school programs in Chile take advantage of. Summer terms are most popular for high school study abroad in Chile, so that students don’t miss classes back home, but it is also possible to enroll in exchange programs for a full semester or academic year, if you are particularly ambitious. Courses will cover a wide array of disciplines, and classes are mostly offered at local high schools, but sometimes at universities.
Scholarships & Costs
Boasting one of the highest performing economies in South America, Chile still remains a largely affordable travel destination compared with other industrialized nations. Fees associated with high school programs in Chile can still be quite expensive; however, be sure to check out all of the available scholarship and fundraising opportunities that can help cover the costs of your trip!
Accommodation & Visas
Homestays are generally the most popular form of accommodation for high school programs in Chile, offering an exclusive opportunity for cultural and language immersion that is not so easy for regular travelers to experience. If you are studying abroad at a boarding school or international high school, then dormitories are often made available. In any case, students will be well supervised, so safety need not be too much of a concern during high school programs in Chile, one of the safest countries in all of South America.
Chile has a fairly relaxed visa policy, and most students will be able to enter the country without applying for a visa beforehand. There are exceptions, however, so be sure to confirm with your program provider what sort of documentation you may need to obtain. You can also check out GoAbroad’s Chilean Embassy Directory for more information.
Benefits & Challenges
Nature Loving. Chile is one of the most picturesque countries you will ever travel to, containing within it a variety of imposing terrains ranging from mountains to deserts to beaches. Fans of the great outdoors will have their hands full with all the exploration and adventure travel opportunities in Chile.
Language Development. Your Spanish skill-set will improve astronomically during any high school program in Chile. Classroom instruction is valuable, but actually immersing yourself in the language and speaking it everyday is what really makes the difference in comprehension.
Cultural Exchange. Living in a foreign environment can prove to be a challenge during the acclimation process, but ultimately you will come to have some of the most valuable interactions and experiences of your life in Chile. Learning from Chile’s culture while adapting elements of your own will be a huge growth experience.