Facts about Chile
Life in Chile
With highly developed infrastructure, sophisticated cities, renowned universities and natural scenery to rival any country in the world, Chile is one of Latin America’s most appealing study abroad destinations for international students.
Having emerged from the authoritarian regime of General Augustus Pinochet in 1990, in recent years Chile has blazed a trail as one of South America’s most socially and economically progressive nations. It remains among the safest and most politically stable countries in the region, and in 2010 signed up as the first South American nation to join the OECD.
Stretching from Peru in the north, right down to the southernmost tip of the Americas, Chile is famed for its stunning landscape and dramatic variations in climate. Those keen enjoy the great outdoors have plenty to choose from: hiking through the Andes in the Torres del Paine national park, braving the arid wilderness of the Atacama Desert, or taking a cruise through the glacier-walled fjords of the Tierra del Fuego.
Things to do in Chile
Other popular activities include horse riding, kayaking and tours of the nation’s internationally renowned vineyards. Perhaps the nation's most iconic site, however, is Easter Island or Rapa Nui. This island, some 3,500km off the west coast of Chile, is famed for its 887 moai – monumental statues of human figures, thought to have been carved between AD 1100 and the 1800s.
Then there’s the culture. Chile’s claim to the title pais de poetas, or ‘country of poets’, is not without foundation. Among the literary greats in its canon are Nobel Prize winners Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, and international bestsellers Isabel Allende and Roberto Bolano.
Santiago, the capital and largest city, exudes energy – and for those who stay long enough to see past the pollution and office blocks, promises an eclectic and exciting array of cultural happenings, both classical and contemporary.
Universities in Chile
The degree structure in Chile corresponds roughly to that used in the EU and US, consisting of Licenciatura (equivalent to a bachelor’s degree), Magister (master’s degree) and Doctor (PhD). The Licentiatura is generally a four-year program, though certain subject areas such as engineering or architecture may require a longer period of study.
Undergraduates applying to state universities in Chile must take a test called the Prueba de Seleccion Universitaria (PSU), similar to the SAT test commonly used in the US. Each university sets its own PSU entry requirement, with ‘traditional’ universities generally requiring higher scores than the newer private universities.
In order to study at Chilean universities, international students will also need to demonstrate their ability to study in Spanish.
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