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From the Atacama Desert in the north, to the fertile farmland of the central valley home to vineyards that produce Chile’s world famous wines, to the Lake District and Torres de Paine National Park in the south, Chile offers unparalleled opportunities to travel and enjoy diverse landscapes. Chile has over 4000 kilometers of shoreline bathed by the cold waters of the Humboldt Current. The coastal waters of Chile provide waves for surfing at world-famous beaches such as Pichilemu, a climate for species of penguins and other wildlife, while also supplying a vast variety of seafood for Chilean tables. Because Chile is such a skinny country, the Andes Mountains are never more than a couple hundred kilometers from the beach. In addition to their breathtaking beauty, they provide opportunities for hiking, skiing, horse back riding and other adventure activities. To access these natural beauties, you can travel by bus or air, which is easy and relatively cheap. Chile’s location also allows for easy travel to other countries in South America, such as Argentina, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia.

Now more than ever Chile is a dynamic place to study, live and travel. It recently ranked number 31 in Newsweek Magazine’s Top 100 Countries (August 2010), claiming the highest spot in Latin America. It came in first place in Latin America for Healthcare and Economic Dynamism, and second for Political Environment. It is also one of the most connected countries in Latin America, with one in four houses possessing a broadband connection. Chile boasts a high literacy rate, 95.7%, and an average of 14.5 years of schooling. Two of the top ten universities in Latin America are in Chile, the Pontificia Universidad Católica and the Universidad de Chile, where you have the chance to study.

From Santiago, you can reach ski resorts in the Andes in less than an hour. Going west, you hit Pacific beaches in two. These two geographic features are so ingrained in the culture of Santiaguinos, that you will often hear people giving directions to “go towards the mountains” or “go towards the sea” instead of “take a left” or “take a right.” The city is built on an irrigated desert and lies in a valley between two mountain ranges, with the snowy tops of the Andean range peeking through to the east. The architecture in Santiago varies widely, from ultra-modern high rises in the business district known as “Sanhattan” to turn-of-the century buildings in downtown, to simple one room dwellings in the poorer parts of the city.

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The Chilean University Program’s (CUP) main objective is to combine academic excellence with cultural acquisition, therefore allowing you as a student to gain true insight into Chilean life and culture, and by extension, the Latin American reality. All aspects of the program, from the universities where you will study, to the host families you will live with, are oriented at achieving these goals.

As part of the CUP Santiago Program, you can chose to study at four highly ranked universities whose campuses are located in different parts of the city. These universities are very distinct and each one will give you a perspective on the cultural and educational diversity that exists in Chile.

You will be carefully placed with a host family to live with for the duration of the program.

Throughout the semester we take various day trips as a program, as well as a longer trip to the north or south of Chile. In the past, we have gone to Pomaire, Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, Isla Negra, Farellones Ski Area, Mina El Teniente, Casas del Bosque Vineyard, La Serena and the Valle de Elqui and the Golfo de Arauco. For more information about the types of trips we take, see Excursions or our Blog.

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The new Santiago: Business and Culture in the 21st Century summer program offers students the unparalleled opportunity to study the business environment of Latin America, focusing especially on Chile.

As part of this program, you will take classes at the Universidad de Chile’s School of Business and Economics. The Facultad de Economía y Negocios, or FEN, was founded in 1933, the first school in the area of economics and business administration in Chile. The undergraduate school grants three undergraduate degrees:

  • Commercial Engineering (a combination of a Business Administration and Economics degree) with two concentrations: Administration and Economics.
  • Engineering in Management and Information Control
  • Auditing Accountant

FEN is one of the best business schools in Chile and Latin America. In 2008, the undergraduate school was ranked number one by the magazine “Qué Pasa” in its annual survey of the “Best undergraduate business schools in Chile.” In 2010, FEN ranked 8th overall in America Economía Magazines rankings of the best business schools in Latin America and in the subcategories came in first for Operations, second for Marketing, Finances and Economics, and third for Human Resources in Latin America.

The three classes you take will be taught by Chilean professors in Spanish. They will be given at FEN’s campus, which means you will have access to its modern infrastructure, including the following:

  • Wi-Fi throughout the entire campus
  • 35 multimedia lecture theaters with the latest multimedia equipment for more than 60 students
  • 10 computer labs with more than 1200 computers for student use
  • Plasma screens in the communal areas to support the teaching with information related to courses, etc. is available
  • Large, designated study area for students, 550 square meters, with common rooms and individual booths
  • New student cafeteria and large, covered terrace of 700 square meters for use by the university community
  • Two full-service cafeterias
  • Sports, recreational and communal areas

Even though you will not take classes with Chileans, you will be paired with a local student studying at FEN who will act as your mentor and language exchange partner. This is a great opportunity to practice your language skills and make friends!

To complement your work in the classroom, there will be five day-trips and one longer trip to Mendoza, Argentina. In the past, day trip destinations have included trips to the port city of Valparaíso and the small town of Pomaire, visits to vineyards and an organic produce distributor, as well as tours of the Santiago Stock Exchange and Central Bank.

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  • (Atacama Picture) Taken by Emelie MacPherson, IFSA-Santiago, Fall 2007. Description: Salt flats in the Northern Atacama Desert
  • (Atacama Altiplano Picture) Taken by Emelie MacPherson, IFSA-Santiago, Fall 2007. Description: The Chilean Altiplano near San Pedro de Atacama
  • (San Pedro de Atacama Picture) Taken by Sari Bilick, IFSA-Santiago Spring 2006. Description: A double rainbow over the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world
  • (Valle de Elqui Picture) Taken by SERNATUR. Description: Valle del Elqui near La Serena in Northern Chile where poet Gabriela Mistral was born
  • (Portillo-Valpo Picture) Taken by SERNATUR. Description: The ski resort Portillo in the Andes Mountains, 3 hours from Santiago on the road to Argentina
  • (Valparaíso Picture) Taken by SERNATUR. Description: Chile’s main port city, Valparaíso, located one and a half hours to the northwest of Santiago
  • (Reñaca Beach Picture) Taken by SERNATUR. Description: A beach in the central region near Valparaíso
  • (Santiago Cordillera Picture) Taken by Abby Hall. Description: A view of Eastern Santiago and the Andes Mountain Range after a snow fall
  • (Cajon del Maipo Picture) Taken by IFSA Staff. Description: Located just an hour from Santiago, Cajon del Maipo offers hiking up into the Andes Mountains
  • (Pichilemu Picture) Taken by IFSA-Santiago Staff. Description: A world famous beach south of Santiago known for giant waves and good surfing
  • (Easter Island Picture) Taken by Sarah Castro, IFSA-Santiago, Fall 2006. Description: Student Sarah Castro with the Moai Statues on Easter Island
  • (Easter Island Picture 2) Taken by Tim Bates, IFSA-Santiago, Spring 2005. Description. Student Time Bates at a lookout over the Pacific Ocean on Easter Island
  • (Lago Lanalhue Picture) Taken by Humroy Lopez, IFSA-Santiago, Fall 2003. Description: Lake Llanalhue in the South of Chile is a lake sacred to the Mapuches, indigenous people of Chile
  • (Araucania Picture) Taken by Humroy Lopez, IFSA-Santiago, Fall 2003. Description: Area near the Arauco Gulf in the South of Chile
  • (Araucarias Tree Picture) Taken by SERNATUR. Description: A forest of Araucarias in the far south of Chile
  • (Valdivia Picture) Taken by Jessica Hyndman, IFSA-Santiago, Fall 2009. Description: Students from Fall 2009 with Isabel Yévenes in the Valdivian Forest
  • (Torres del Paine Picture) Taken by Sarah Castro, IFSA-Santiago, Fall 2006. Description: Student Sarah Castro at Torres del Paine National Park in the Chilean Patagonia.
  • (Penguins Punta Arenas Picture) Taken by SERNATUR. Description: Penguins play off the coast of Punta Arenas at the southern tip of Chile.
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  • Title: Valparaíso 1
    Taken by: Abby Hall
    Caption: One day trip will be to the city of Valparaíso, located on the coast, 110 km from Santiago. The main purpose of this trip will be to learn about the city’s development plan for tourism and investment.
  • Title: Valparaíso 2
    Taken by: Abby Hall
    Caption: During this trip, you will also visit the port of Valparaíso, which is one of the most important ports in Chile, due to its central location and easy access to Santiago and Argentina.
  • Title: Valparaíso 3
    Taken by: Abby Hall
    Caption: The port mainly exports fruits and vegetables grown in the central valley as well as copper, while its main imports include manufactured goods, cars and electronics.
  • Title: Vineyard 1
    Taken by: Abby Hall
    Caption: Chilean wine is well known in international markets, and is over the past decade has become an increasingly important export. In fact, Chile’s wine industry is based on exporting around 50% of its production.
  • Title: Vineyard 2
    Taken by: Isabel Yévenes
    Caption: One field trip will be to a Chilean vineyard, where you will learn about the factors that affect global wine exports.
  • Title: Teniente 0
    Taken by: Abby Hall
    Caption: Outside the nearby city of Rancagua, you will visit and tour the world’s largest underground copper mine, El Teniente. This mine is owned by the state copper company Codelco. During the visit you will learn about the copper industry today, as well as Codelco’s efforts towards Corporate Social Responsibility.
  • Title: Teniente 1
    Taken by: IFSA Staff
    Caption: A visit to the El Teniente Museum, pictured here, will give you a historical view at the mining industry in Chile.
  • Title: Teniente 3
    Taken by: IFSA Staff
    Caption: You will also visit Sewell, a restored historical town where miners used to live. While touring the town, you will learn about the history of the town and mine, especially the influence of foreign investors.
  • Title: Coquimbo 1
    Taken by: Leela Sarathy, CUPSantiago, Spring 2004
    Caption: The program includes a 3 day trip to La Serena and its neighbor city of Coquimbo, pictured here.
  • Title: Coquimbo 2
    Taken by: Abby Hall
    Caption: Coquimbo is an important port city north of Santiago, which handles exports of copper and agricultural products from the nearby Valle de Elqui.
  • Title: La Serena 1
    Taken by: Abby Hall
    Caption: The main economic activity in the city of La Serena is tourism, especially during the summer months with the gorgeous beaches fill with national and international tourists.
  • Title: Valle del Elqui 1
    Taken by: Abby Hall
    Caption: The Valle del Elqui is a transversal valley irrigated by the Elqui River that has ideal conditions for agricultural, including the cultivations of avocados, Chilean papayas and grapes for the production of both wine and pisco.
  • Title: Valle de Elqui 2
    Taken by: Abby Hall
    Caption: During the trip, students will visit small businesses, such as a pisco factory. Pisco is Chile’s national drink, a hard alcohol distilled from grapes.
  • Title: Valle de Elqui 3
    Taken by: Abby Hall
    Caption: You will also have the chance to learn about sustainable development in the region, such as a restaurant that uses solar ovens to cook its food.
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