Discover Chile's welcoming people, beautiful beaches and some of the region's finest vineyards. Explore the Atacama Dester in the North; the Pacific coastal region to the West; the Andes mountains to the East; and glaciers, fjords and lakes in the South. Enjoy an amazing array of fresh seafood, read world famous literature by Pablo Neruda and Isabel Allende and perfect your Spanish in Latin America’s most economically and politically stable country.



Languages Spoken:

Spanish

Education System

HIGHER EDUCATION

Chile boasts one of the strongest higher education systems in South America. Universities provide the highest degree of learning in Chile, combining teaching, research and outreach activities to their diversified programs. There are 64 universities in Chile divided into ‘traditional’ and ‘private.’ Traditional universities include public and private universities with partial public funding. Students take a national test and apply in a centralized process for admission to these universities. Private universities were created after 1980, and do not receive direct public funding. Each private institution defines its own admission process. The universities in Chile enroll approximately 450,000 students annually.

Undergraduate programs are 8 to 12 semesters in length, leading to a degree of licenciado or a professional title. Graduate programs include magister (master's) and doctorado (Ph.D.) and require one to three years of further study and the submission of a thesis.

Universities work on a semester basis. Chile is in the Southern Hemisphere; therefore, the first semester runs from March to July while the second semester is from July to December.

Lecturing is the principal method of instruction in Latin American universities, with one final exam or paper counting as the only grade in the class. Still, some professors will also give midterm exams or papers. In most Latin American countries, the grading philosophy is that the student starts at 0 (has no knowledge of the subject) and needs to work hard to obtain a good grade. The student’s grade rises as he proves his gain of knowledge throughout the semester. As such, Latin American universities tend to be severe in their grading and a grade of Muy Bueno (seven - the highest grade possible in Chile) is rarely awarded. In most classes, the majority of students will receive either suficiente or bueno (from four to six).

Visa and Residency

STUDENT VISA

IMPORTANT NOTES

  • Due to time constraints, you should begin applying for your student visa to Chile immediately. U.S. students are required to obtain an FBI background check, which can take up to three months* to receive once requested. It is advised that you request the background check from the FBI as soon as you turn in your ISEP application before your placement is finalized.
  • Many Chilean Consulates require a personal interview for you to obtain your student visa so you will have to travel to the Consulate responsible for your jurisdiction (see below). Be sure to plan accordingly.
  • All students placed at Universidad Católica del Norte (Antofagasta and Coquimbo campuses) must arrive in Chile with a student visa. Students without visas will not be permitted to enroll in courses
  • If you do not have your passport already, you must obtain it immediately. Your host school will request a copy of your passport by a certain deadline (for visa and admission purposes) and failure to meet this deadline could have serious consequences.

* For faster processing, students may want to consider submitting their request through an FBI-approved Channeler. See FBI.gov for the list of FBI-approved channelers.

General Information concerning your Chilean Student Visa:

 

  • This visa is granted for the duration of the studies, to a maximum of one year
  • The visa is renewable in Chile
  • You are not allowed to work under this visa
  • Once the visa is granted, you have 90 days to enter Chile
  • Depending on the Consulate, you might have to travel to the Consulate to receive the visa in person

 

Applicants should apply for a visa at least 20 working days in advance.

All Consulates are different, so please make sure you apply for a visa only at the General Consulate or Consulate responsible for the jurisdiction of your permanent address. Most will require a personal interview in order to receive your visa. Please plan accordingly.

U.S. Students: Find out which consulate has jurisdiction over your permanent address.

Students outside the U.S.: Find out which consulate has jurisdiction over your permanent address.

 

REQUIREMENTS

Requirements might differ by consulate, so check their website or call.

 

All documents must be presented in original form and issued within the last three months.

1. Valid passport (can be older than three months, but must be valid during your stay in Chile)

2. Application form typed and ALL CAPS (might be different for each Consulate – download from Consulate website, if applicable)

3. Health certificate issued within the last 90 days and signed by a Doctor stating that you are in good health and have no communicable diseases

4. HIV test (required for U.S. Students)

5. Police Certificate issued within the last 90 days by Federal Authorities stating that you have no records nationwide. You will have to get a Certificate from the FBI. For more information on how to do this, please Google "FBI Background Check." Please be aware that this process could take from 8 to 12 weeks.

6. One passport photograph in color

7. Letter or certificate of financial support (scholarship, bank statement, parent’s bank statement, etc.). You must prove that you have sufficient resources to survive in the country.

8. Letter of acceptance from university or school where you will be studying

9. Payment of Chilean visa fee – fees must be paid by money order, debit or credit card (Visa or Mastercard). On the last business day of the month only money orders will be accepted.

Culture

COMMUNICATIVE STYLE

Chileans are generally indirect in their communication styles, but can become very animated and assertive when if they get emotional. Communication styles tend to be tuned to people's feelings. Confrontation is generally avoided in order not to jeopardize another's honor or dignity. It may therefore be necessary to read between the lines in order to fully understand what is really meant. Chileans stand very close when conversing.

GREETINGS

With first introductions, a handshake is the custom. Male Chileans may greet each other with hearty hugs, with women customarily kissing each other on the cheek. Direct eye contact is important.

FOOD

Food has a very special place within Chilean culture. Chileans normally eat four times a day. The first meal of the day is breakfast, which mostly consists of rather light fare including toasted bread with butter and instant coffee with milk. Lunch (served between 1-2 p.m.) is the big meal of the day. Traditionally two main dishes are served. The first course may be a salad of some kind. A common salad is the ensalada chilena, including sliced onions, chopped and peeled tomatoes, an oil and vinegar dressing and fresh cilantro (coriander). The second dish generally includes beef or chicken, accompanied by vegetables. Around 5 p.m. Chileans take once, an afternoon tea with bread and jam, that often also includes cheeses and palta (avocados). Once, which means "eleven," is evidently named after the British tea time at 11 a.m. Around 9 p.m. most families serve dinner, which is usually a single but substantial dish, most often accompanied with wine grown in the many Central Valley vineyards.

Chilean cuisine has both Indian and European influences. The national dish, porotos granados, for instance, has ingredients characteristic of Indian cooking (corn, squash and beans), with distinctly Spanish contributions (onion and garlic). As may be expected in a country with an extremely long coast, seafood has a prominent role in local culinary preferences. Traditional Chilean seafood includes locos (abalone), machas (razor clams), erizos (large sea urchins) and cochayuyo (seaweed). Another national delicacy is caldillo de congrio, a soup of conger eel, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, herbs and spices.

FAMILY

The nuclear family is by far the dominant household unit in Chile. Most Chileans live with their parents until they are married. Although the nuclear family constitutes the basis of Chilean households, grandparents continue to exert considerable authority in family affairs. Moreover, and either by necessity or by choice, grandparents (especially widowed grandparents) frequently live with the family of one of their daughters or sons. Married children normally visit their parents over the weekend and it is not uncommon for them to talk with their parents by phone almost daily. Aunts, uncles and cousins are also considered to be close relatives and they frequently meet at family and social gatherings.

CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT

At first, you might be tempted to cling to other international students, especially those from your home country. While it is comforting to depend on fellow expats as friends, you will limit your Chilean experience. Try to make a sincere effort to meet and get to know Chilean people. You will find that people are genuinely warm.

One way to get to know Chilean people is to arrange an intercambio in which you exchange one hour of Spanish conversation for one hour of conversation in your language. Even if your Spanish does not need the practice, it is a good way to meet and get to know a Chilean.

SPACE AND DISTANCE

Chileans are close communicators physically and so will often touch each other when speaking and maintain little physical distance between speakers.

Daily Life

COMMUNICATIVE STYLE

Chileans are generally indirect in their communication styles, but can become very animated and assertive when if they get emotional. Communication styles tend to be tuned to people's feelings. Confrontation is generally avoided in order not to jeopardize another's honor or dignity. It may therefore be necessary to read between the lines in order to fully understand what is really meant. Chileans stand very close when conversing.

GREETINGS

With first introductions, a handshake is the custom. Male Chileans may greet each other with hearty hugs, with women customarily kissing each other on the cheek. Direct eye contact is important.

FOOD

Food has a very special place within Chilean culture. Chileans normally eat four times a day. The first meal of the day is breakfast, which mostly consists of rather light fare including toasted bread with butter and instant coffee with milk. Lunch (served between 1-2 p.m.) is the big meal of the day. Traditionally two main dishes are served. The first course may be a salad of some kind. A common salad is the ensalada chilena, including sliced onions, chopped and peeled tomatoes, an oil and vinegar dressing and fresh cilantro (coriander). The second dish generally includes beef or chicken, accompanied by vegetables. Around 5 p.m. Chileans take once, an afternoon tea with bread and jam, that often also includes cheeses and palta (avocados). Once, which means "eleven," is evidently named after the British tea time at 11 a.m. Around 9 p.m. most families serve dinner, which is usually a single but substantial dish, most often accompanied with wine grown in the many Central Valley vineyards.

Chilean cuisine has both Indian and European influences. The national dish, porotos granados, for instance, has ingredients characteristic of Indian cooking (corn, squash and beans), with distinctly Spanish contributions (onion and garlic). As may be expected in a country with an extremely long coast, seafood has a prominent role in local culinary preferences. Traditional Chilean seafood includes locos (abalone), machas (razor clams), erizos (large sea urchins) and cochayuyo (seaweed). Another national delicacy is caldillo de congrio, a soup of conger eel, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, herbs and spices.

FAMILY

The nuclear family is by far the dominant household unit in Chile. Most Chileans live with their parents until they are married. Although the nuclear family constitutes the basis of Chilean households, grandparents continue to exert considerable authority in family affairs. Moreover, and either by necessity or by choice, grandparents (especially widowed grandparents) frequently live with the family of one of their daughters or sons. Married children normally visit their parents over the weekend and it is not uncommon for them to talk with their parents by phone almost daily. Aunts, uncles and cousins are also considered to be close relatives and they frequently meet at family and social gatherings.

CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT

At first, you might be tempted to cling to other international students, especially those from your home country. While it is comforting to depend on fellow expats as friends, you will limit your Chilean experience. Try to make a sincere effort to meet and get to know Chilean people. You will find that people are genuinely warm.

One way to get to know Chilean people is to arrange an intercambio in which you exchange one hour of Spanish conversation for one hour of conversation in your language. Even if your Spanish does not need the practice, it is a good way to meet and get to know a Chilean.

SPACE AND DISTANCE

Chileans are close communicators physically and so will often touch each other when speaking and maintain little physical distance between speakers.

Health and Safety

https://www.isepstudyabroad.org/guides-and-tips/health-safety

Currency

MONEY MATTERS

There are many places in the financial and commercial districts where students can exchange foreign currency, including shopping malls. Students can also obtain money from ATM machines (located throughout the cities). The use of credit cards is extensive in large cities, but it is preferable to carry local currency should you visit small towns or the countryside. As with most countries in South America, cash is used in smaller shops and shop keepers prefer when you use smaller denominations.

To compare your currency to the Chilean peso, see www.xe.com.

It is useful to change some dollars at the airport so that you will have local currency upon entering the city. In most cases, it will not be necessary for you to open a bank account in Chile.

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