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Learn Chile institutions generate more than 150 agreements at NAFSA 2022

After a two-year gap due to the pandemic, NAFSA 2022, the world’s largest gathering of international educators, was held in-person once again. Learn Chile was present at the event, together with 20 universities and technical institutes, with the largest stand of any Latin American country (100 m2) and 40 representatives of Chilean institutions who reached more than 150 agreements with international universities.

NAFSA 2022, held from May 31 to June 3 in Denver (United States), is the world’s largest international education fair, and was attended by more than 6,000 university representatives from around 100 countries. The event undoubtedly provides an excellent opportunity for outreach and international recognition, both for Chilean higher education institutions and to position the country as a great place to study. The event is supported by ProChile every year, both in Chile and the U.S.

This year, Chile was a special guest at the NAFSA 2022 ambassadors’ meeting, which was attended by only six countries selected to present their academic offering. Chile’s representatives, Scarlett Ramírez (ProChile Trade Representative in Washington) and Marcos Avilez (Learn Chile Director) had the opportunity to hold 30 business meetings to promote education in Chile to universities from around the world, which was a great privilege for the country.

Learn Chile is the only network that brings together public and private universities and technical institutes from throughout the country to promote their higher education offering internationally.

Positioning Chile

Universities that participate in the NAFSA event have always shown great interest in establishing relationships with Chile, above all institutions from the United States this year. “This week, we have had the opportunity to hold numerous meetings with various higher education institutions from the United States, which are very interested in the Chilean education market. We are happy to promote business and friendship relations with the Government of Chile”, said Ana Keener, from the U.S. Embassy in Chile’s Commercial Department.

On this occasion, the seventh time that Learn Chile has been present at the event, other Latin American countries showed remarkable interest in deepening their ties with Chile, thanks to the cooperation efforts undertaken as part of the Latin American Initiative for the Internationalization of Higher Education (INILAT). The NAFSA event was a conducive setting for representatives of INILAT’s member countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru) to meet in person for the first time, further consolidating the bonds established virtually since 2020.

Meanwhile, Colombia’s Ministry of Education met with Learn Chile to present Go Colombia, a program created last year, and to find out more about how the Chilean network has become a benchmark for Latin America.

The expo

Learn Chile representatives held 600 networking meetings with their peers from other countries to provide information on the Chilean education system, higher education institutions, and their academic offering. These relationships will give rise to more than 150 new cooperation agreements (some of which have already been signed), and the arrival of students from around the world who wish to continue their education in a Spanish-speaking country.

“At these events, we can verify the interest in collaborating with Chilean universities. The results have been positive, and we are highly satisfied with our participation through the Learn Chile brand”, said Jorge Burgos, Director of International Relations at Universidad Católica del Maule.

Participating higher education institutions

  • Duoc UC
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
  • Universidad Austral de Chile
  • Universidad Autónoma de Chile
  • Universidad Bernardo O’Higgins
  • Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción
  • Universidad Católica del Maule
  • Universidad Católica del Norte
  • Universidad Central de Chile
  • Universidad de Chile
  • Universidad de La Frontera
  • Universidad de los Andes
  • Universidad de Santiago de Chile
  • Universidad de Valparaíso
  • Universidad del Bío-Bío
  • Universidad del Desarrollo
  • Universidad Diego Portales
  • Universidad San Sebastián
  • Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María
  • Universidad Viña del Mar

Chile stands out for its academic quality at the world’s largest international higher education fair

Chile is home to 19 of the 100 best universities in Latin America (THE ranking). The country is an attractive place to study not only due to the quality of its education, but also its diverse geography and climate, which provide outstanding conditions for various disciplines. This year, 20 universities that form part of the Learn Chile network will be present at NAFSA 2022—the world’s largest international higher education fair, which will be held in Denver (United States) from May 31 to June 3—with a prominent 100m2 country stand.

Chile is also the leading Latin American country in innovation and competitiveness rankings, and as such provides excellent professional opportunities for those who wish to study in the country. In that regard, progress in research on new renewable energy technologies makes Chile a future global leader in the supply of clean energy. The country also stands out for its cutting-edge research in areas such as health, astronomy, engineering, and mining.

Learn Chile is a network of higher education institutions, currently made up of 26 universities and technical institutes, that receives government support through export promotion agency ProChile. Its aim is to promote the internationalization of the country’s academic offering and raise awareness of Chile as an excellent destination for international students.

As usually occurs at NAFSA conferences—which will be attended by more than 8,000 university representatives from over 100 countries—this year, Chilean institutions expect to generate more than 100 new cooperation agreements with universities from around the world.

“Being present at NAFSA 2022 with Learn Chile enables us to work together to promote our country’s attributes, allowing our member institutions to focus their efforts on strengthening their academic offering and establishing new cooperation networks around the world”, said Ian Frederick, ProChile Trade Commissioner in the United States.

“With the Learn Chile brand, we are leveraging the advantages of economic growth in the education sector, increasing our global reach by being present at NAFSA 2022. On the other hand, the experience of studying in Chile is complemented by what students can learn outside the classroom, interacting with our people and experiencing our culture, geography, and gastronomy”.

Studying in Latin America

Latin America offers educational programs in line with its rich and diverse culture. In that regard, through Learn Chile, the country has promoted the creation of a network made up of the six countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru) that currently make up the Latin American Initiative for the Internationalization of Higher Education (INILAT).

The Chilean network has also developed the INILATmov+ project, a mobile platform to facilitate student exchanges between institutions from INILAT member countries. For the second semester of 2022, more than 2,500 programs and 10,000 free places are being offered via the platform.

Another key international project was the training provided to Learn Chile member universities on the implementation of the COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) methodology through its partnership with Florida International University. This innovative method enables Chilean and overseas professors to give the same class to their students remotely.

This initiative boosts cooperation with overseas universities and generates academic collaboration projects between students from different institutions. This case was presented by Learn Chile member institution Universidad de los Andes at the NAFSA Latin America and Caribbean Forum 2022.

Links with the United States

Chile will be present at the ambassadors’ meeting that will be held at NAFSA 2022 to strengthen academic cooperation between the various participating countries. The United States is the home country of the largest number of exchange students in Chile, with 1,800 American students coming to Chile every year before the pandemic.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chile received 32,000 foreign exchange students every year, generating an impact of more than USD 350 million annually in the local economy. With the return of in-person classes and promotion of Chile in major international higher education fairs, similar numbers of foreign exchange students are expected to come to the country going forward.

From the southernmost part of the world, we are creating a better future.

Top Ten Reasons to Study in Chile

1. Unspoiled Nature

Chile offers diverse geography from the Atacama Desert in the north, the driest desert in the world, to the massive glaciers in the south, and let’s not forget the unspoiled trails of Patagonia.  The list of outdoor activities in Chile is endless and the flora and fauna, spectacular.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Check it out for yourself here. And in Chile you can even observe penguins in their natural habitat.

2. Academics

Not only is Chile a great place to learn Spanish and to find out more about literature Nobel prize winners such as Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, but it’s also a great place to study other academic subjects including Astronomy, Business, Geology, Geography, History, Human Rights, Political Science, and Sustainable Development. Scientists flock to Chile which is rich in minerals and well-known for its earthquakes and volcanoes as well as its numerous astronomical observatories.  Studying in Chile will give you an insight into how another education system functions, as well as a different perspective on life.

3. Stability

Currently the country boasts a stable government and economy. The Andean nation has been a democratic state since 1990 and, in fact, Chile was recently ranked among the most stable countries in Latin America by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). The report, Global Peace Index (GPI), places Chile in first place in South America.

4. Spanish Language

Did you know that there are more native Spanish-speakers in the world than English-speakers? Spanish is the third most widely spoken language after Mandarin Chinese and Hindi by number of native speakers. Just think – if you learn Spanish, how many millions of people you would be able to communicate with?  The ability to speak Spanish is definitely an asset to help you to participate in the globalized world we live in today.  Take yourself out of your comfort zone and you will understand the song “despacito”!

5. Friendly Locals

If your goal is to immerse yourself in the culture and/or learn and practice a language, it really helps if the locals are friendly and hospitable.  Chileans love it when foreigners study in and get to know their culture and country and it’s easy to make friends.  They will want to hear what you think about their country, which will give you plenty of opportunities to practice your Spanish.

6. Cost of Living

Although Chile is generally more expensive than most Latin American countries, it is still much less expensive than Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States.  Therefore, on a shoestring student budget you can still do many more cultural activities and enjoy your time abroad for an affordable price.

7. Chilean Culture

Although Chile shares some similarities with neighbouring countries, the combination of indigenous cultures, Spanish colonization, and European migration has created a uniquely Chilean culture and way of life. For example, Chilean food is quite different to food you would find in Argentina, Bolivia, or Peru, and here we eat four meals a day: breakfast, lunch, onces (tea) and dinner.

8. Live with a Host Family

If you really want to ‘live like a local’ – as the saying goes, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans’ – then live with a host family. Why? Most Chileans live with their family until they are married and family plays a vital role in Chilean society.  What better way to take advantage of your stay than by immersing yourself in the local culture and language and live with a host family.

9. Take the road less traveled

Did you know that Chile wins best adventure travel destination in South America for 7th year in a row at the World Travel Awards!

Do something different! Challenge yourself to live in a country that may not always have the modern conveniences you are used to but that will expose you to a different and perhaps simpler way of life. Although Santiago and other large Chilean cities are quite modern, there are still plenty of areas off the beaten path where you won’t hear much English. Not only will you learn heaps about yourself and the country’s culture, you might also be surprised, when you return home, at how much you have learned about your own culture too.

10. Indigenous Mapuche Culture

Did you know that the Mapuche people defeated the Inca Empire in their attempt to expand south as well as resisted Spanish colonization by forging a treaty with Spain that gave them autonomous rule of their lands during the war?  Well-known for their fierce resistance to foreign invaders, Mapuches believe that developing physical and spiritual maturity along with the concept of being a lifelong learner is a vital part of education. A common proverb in Mapudungun (the language of the Mapuches), is Piukeyen Ñuke Mapu, which means ‘you can’t know where you are going, if you don’t know where you are from’.

By Jennifer Ramos and updated by Learn Chile.

3 reasons to study Astronomy in Chile

In the last couple of years, Chile has become one of the main centres in the world for the development of astronomy activity. Read on to find out why Chile is one of the best destinations to study astronomy.

The Northern Skies

Astronomy activity in Chile mainly takes place in the north of the country, from the Antofagasta to the Coquimbo regions. The natural conditions of the desert, together with low light pollution, have made the area a natural laboratory for the development of astronomy.

In 1999, the then Ministry of Economy, Development and Rebuilding passed a law to regulate light pollution. The Oficina de Protección de la Calidad del Cielo del Norte de Chile was then launched (the Office for the Protection of the Quality of the Northern Skies in Chile), with a mandate to ensure regulations are applied to protect the night skies of the Antofagasta, Atacama and Coquimbo regions, which are widely known for their value for stargazing and astronomical observation.

Also, since 2015, the Consejo Nacional de Monumentos (Monuments National Council) has been working on having the skies of the north declared a World Heritage by UNESCO.

The infrastructure

In addition to having the ideal natural conditions for research development on astronomy, the north of Chile has the infrastructure to take advantage of it. Antofagasta, for example, is home to the Paranal Observatory, where the Very Large Telescope (VLT) is located. This system of telescopes is the most powerful in the planet. Also, the Chajnantor Plateau in Antofagasta is home to ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array), one of the world’s biggest astronomy projects.

Even though both the VLT and ALMA projects are mostly funded by international research centers, they, along with other observatories in Chile, provide the essential data that universities work with in their astronomy programs.

Academic programs

Several higher education institutions have contributed to the development of astronomy in Chile, by offering professional degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Universidad de la Serena, located in the Coquimbo and close to several observatories, offers a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree and a PhD in Astronomy; Universidad de Valparaíso offers a Master’s and PhD programs in Astrophysics; Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María teaches a degree in astrophysics; Universidad de Chile, Master and PhD in science mention astronomy

If discovering the mysteries of the universe is your passion, Chile has the natural conditions, the infrastructure and the academic programs for you.

Chile: a Model to Follow in Sustainable Practices

Due to its privileged natural conditions, Chile has committed to sustainability in many different aspects such as tourism, transport, and academic offer.

Due to Chile’s geographic diversity, the country has a broad range of climatic and natural conditions, which are used to produce renewable energy, with an emphasis on the conservation of biodiversity. In this way, Chile has slowly become a model to follow in terms of sustainable practices.

Read on to find out more about Chile’s initiatives for sustainability and the academic opportunities in this area.

Sustainable Tourism

After the inauguration of the Tourism National Round Table in 2013, the National Service for Tourism of Chile (SERNATUR) created the S certification. This distinction is awarded to tourism operators that comply with different criteria in the three universally acknowledged areas of sustainability: economic, cultural and environmental. Today, more than 160 operators have received this certification.

Furthermore, six places in Chile have been placed in the latest Top 100 list of sustainable destinations worldwide; the Huilo Huilo Reserve, the Chiloé Island, the town of Curacaví, Cape Horn, Futaleufú and Puerto Natales. Cape Horn has a miniature forest of around 1000 acres, where unique species of bryophytes can be found along with 450 different types of moss, and 368 species of lichen and insects.

Sustainable Transport

Santiago’s subway (Metro), which is the second largest and most modern network in Latin America, will be the world’s first public transit system mostly powered by solar energy thanks to project “Pelícano”, a solar energy plant of 186 acres located in Coquimbo, in northern Chile. The plant uses 254,000 solar panels.

About 42% of the electrical energy used by the Metro comes from solar energy and 18% from wind power. Thus, the Metro is the only underground transport system worldwide to operate with 60% clean energy.

Academic Programs

Sustainability and the protection of the environment are issues tackled by a broad range of programs in different Universities throughout Chile. Both at a professional technical level, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, there is a wide variety of programs related to sustainable management; renewable energy; energy efficiency; conservation of wild fauna; natural resources, etc. Universidad del Bío Bío, for example, offers a blended learning Master’s program in Sustainability and Energy Efficiency. In Santiago, Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana (UTEM) offers a similar Master’s program in Energy Efficiency and Sustainability with specialization in Edification, while Universidad Santo Tomás offers a PhD program in Conservation and Biodiversity Management.

Besides these degree programs, different institutions are offering short-term courses that relate to sustainability, for example Universidad Viña del Mar is offering a short course on Poverty reduction and sustainable development.

Chile has taken important steps in the implementation of sustainable solutions with the aim of protecting the environment, and complying with the highest international standards. Additionally, the country offers a broad range of academic programs related to these issues.

Solidarity, the best barrier for this pandemic

We’re currently living through a situation that hasn’t been experienced for generations on a global level; a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which has caused many countries to close their borders. In Chile, this decision was taken on March 16 for all foreigners arriving by plane, boat or land in order to avoid further spreading the virus. As a network of higher education institutions, we also want to disclose the measures adopted by our member institutions.

Although this is a transitory situation, what we need most right now is solidarity. We must work together to overcome the rapid spread of infections. This pandemic will put to the test our empathy and commitment to common, and not only individual, wellbeing. As such, the message is clear: stay at home and leave the house only when strictly necessary. In this way, we can all take care of each other.

The university community and vocational schools in Chile have decided to suspend classes, and are taking measures to facilitate the continuity of international students’ education at home, offering in most cases the option of attending online classes.

We ask the community that follows us on our platforms, those who have visited Chile, and students currently in our country or thinking about coming in the future for their solidarity, and to adhere to the prevention guidelines issued by each country and international health authorities.

Chile has already taken a series of measures, based on the experience of other countries. Once this situation has resolved, we will be waiting for you to come and enjoy the experience of living and studying in Chile.

US students complete conservation biology program in Concepción

A group of students from the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Biology Department completed a full-time overseas study program which lasted for one semester focused on ecology, biodiversity and conservation biology. This course was given in English by four professors from the University of Massachusetts Boston and Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción (UCSC) in the city of Concepción, Chile, and will be repeated in autumn 2020.

Concepción, located in the south of Chile, is known as a gateway to the country’s Patagonia region. The course paid special attention to flora, fauna and ecosystems unique to the south of Chile, making it a one-of-a-kind experience. During their stay in Chile, the exchange students were able to explore La Campana National Park, Las Trancas, the Itata Valley and the San Ignacio del Huinay Foundation.

Classes were also held at USCS’s marine biology station in Lenga, in addition to field excursions and night trips. The night expeditions involved visits to major cities, national parks and coastal areas, where students were able to put into practice everything they learned in the five courses held during the semester. Transport, accommodation and food (or food subsidies) were provided for all trips outside of Concepción.

2020 and the solar eclipse

Students who register for the 2020 version of this program will also have the unique opportunity to experience the total solar eclipse which will take place on December 14 next year, with coverage in Concepción reaching 95%. The sun will be 100% covered in nearby cities such as Temuco, Villarrica or Pucón.

This program is not exclusively for University of Massachusetts Boston students—students from other universities can also register. So, if you want to experience an adventure full of natural and astronomical phenomena, prepare yourself for the start of the next exchange, which will take place from August 27 to December 16, 2020.

More information on registration.

Universities aim to foster dialogue in ongoing social transformation in Chile

The eyes of the world have been on Chile in recent weeks. The 23 universities belonging to the Learn Chile network wish to inform that we have maintained constant contact with our foreign students, accompanying them and ensuring their safety, and we will continue to do so. As higher education institutions, our efforts have been focused on ensuring the necessary conditions to guarantee debate and the generation of knowledge in support of a revival that we want to form part of, in order to work together to build a fairer, more supportive and stronger Chile.

We are one of many actors in the social, political and economic process currently ongoing in Chile, framed within a global phenomenon of social demonstrations and protests in the common interest.

We believe that the solutions to this crisis must be reached via institutional channels, and that all demonstrations must be carried out on the basis of respect, dialogue, empathy and repudiation of violence. As education institutions, we have communicated this position to our students, and we are convinced that this is a temporary and transitory situation from which we will emerge strengthened and distinct. It will also contribute a new perspective to our educational programs, in tune with the challenges of a globalized world.

These are some of the conclusions that we have reached following the reflection sessions organized by our member institutions with their students, academics and staff to discuss and analyze the current social and political crisis affecting the country from an interdisciplinary viewpoint. These contributions may be merged with those generated by groups of citizens who have held meetings in various cities throughout the country in order to discuss the possible social changes that will be required going forward.

International education has a powerful role to play in this social transformation of limitless potential. In that regard, we wish to thank all of our member institutions which form part of this collaborative ecosystem that we have developed over recent years.

We have received many messages of support and solidarity, for which we are hugely grateful. We have also received positive feedback on the protocols activated and the support that we have provided to foreign students in Chile, which forms part of our duty of care to all of our students. This gives us confidence that, thanks to Chile’s people and its institutions, the result of this historic process will be positive and transcendent.

Chile joins the 20 member countries of the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) network

During the NAFSA 2019 event, UMAP and Learn Chile representatives met with their peers from the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) network. Starting from 2019, as a result of the process led by Learn Chile, Chile has joined this regional university network, which includes 570 educational institutions in 36 countries, of which 21 are member countries with 23 universities.

This year, the National Secretariat will be coordinated by Universidad Católica del Maule, led by the university’s Outreach Director Jorge Burgos. “Membership in this network is in line with the way in which higher education institutions are addressing the issue of international relations where, rather than signing bilateral conventions, efforts are being made to focus on establishing collaboration networks. This gives us more flexibility, facilitates administrative monitoring of the agreements, and enables more cross-disciplinary areas of collaboration to be found. Similarly, this type of network is often aligned with countries’ economic development priorities, and as such it promotes connection between the public, private and academic sectors”, said Burgos.

Benefits for Chile

Forming part of this network offers major benefits to Chile, including an increase in exchange students between member countries in the medium term. By signing the agreement with UMAP, the Chilean higher education institutions that form part of this network can access its extensive student mobility and institutional collaboration potential.

UMAP’s International Secretariat, based in Japan, welcomed Chile, and outlined the scholarship options available: “Taiwan and Japan offer scholarships for incoming and outgoing students, and Canada offers leadership exchange scholarships for young people interested in studying in Chile. There are many programs for students to choose from, all of which are taught in English. For institutions, on the other hand, UMAP will be an ideal opportunity to develop their strategic partnerships with our member countries and territories”.

UMAP was founded in 1991 as a voluntary association of government and non-government representatives from the higher education sector. The network’s general objective is for each country and territory in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve greater understanding of the cultural, economic and social systems of other countries in the region through increased cooperation between higher education institutions, and greater mobility of students and staff.

For the student body, “the network consists primarily of three types of mobility program. The first is multilateral programs with reciprocity conditions between institutions without additional costs for students in terms of tuition fees. The second is between two universities, with specific conditions to be defined. And the third consists of a line of short-term programs. The UMAP network opens at least two application processes per year for students to apply to this type of programs”, explained Burgos.

In the case of academic professionals, “the UMAP network includes a special partial financing line for research development. The conditions for this program are defined on an annual basis, and proposals are selected by an international committee appointed by the network’s board of directors”.

13 Learn Chile member institutions have already joined this association in 2019:

Both NAFSA and EAIE (which will be attended by Learn Chile between September 24 and 27 this year) are key events at which UMAP coordination meetings will be held. “The topics to be addressed are related to specific coordination regarding scholarship application processes, reviewing the countries that are joining the network, and the strategic pillars that will be strengthened with greater emphasis”, concluded Burgos.

More than 150 cooperation agreements will be generated following NAFSA 2019

For a sixth consecutive year, educational institutions which form part of Learn Chile were present at the NAFSA 2019 conference, the largest meeting of international educators in the world, which took place from May 28 to 31 in Washington, D.C., United States. Chile joined more than 10,000 attendees from over 100 countries at this annual event.

Under the framework of NAFSA 2019, consortium representatives promoted their institutions’ academic offerings, and held more than 800 networking meetings with their peers from other countries. These meetings will give rise to more than 150 new cooperation agreements, which are expected to be signed to facilitate the arrival of students from all over the world who wish to continue their education in a Spanish-speaking country.

According to the Ministry of Education’s report on the Enrollment of Foreign Students in Chilean Higher Education Institutions, 86% of foreign exchange students who enrolled in Chile in 2017 did so through an agreement between their home university and the Chilean university at which they carried out their exchange program.

“University exchanges that take place under agreements have experienced sustained growth, and the results achieved at NAFSA will enable us to continue this positive trend”, said Learn Chile Director Marcos Avilez. In total, Chile receives more than 30,000 foreign students every year.

Visits to innovation centers

Chile is the most innovative economy in Latin America (Global Innovation Index) and leads the Latin America & Caribbean Edition of the Digital Evolution Index (DEI LAC). Learn Chile has set itself the objective of strengthening ties with the private sector. As part of these efforts, the NAFSA 2019 delegation visited the George Washington University Innovation Center, the 3M Innovation Center—a multinational company with branches in Chile—and Amazon’s renowned distribution center. Opportunities for exchanges between institutions arose at each of these visits.

Meanwhile, under the framework of NAFSA 2019, the “Applied research and innovation between associations in the United States and Chile” workshop was held at the American Councils for International Education in Washington, D.C. This workshop constituted an excellent opportunity to present the progress being made by universities from both countries in terms of research and innovation.

“We were very happy with the results of this meeting, which gave rise to collaboration opportunities in applied research for educational institutions that form part of Learn Chile”, said Steve Baeza, Director of Institutional Relations at Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción.

The Chilean delegation was greeted by the Chilean Ambassador to the United States, Alfonso Silva, at his residence, together with representatives from universities around the world, who the ambassador invited to visit Chile and establish agreements with the country’s educational institutions. The diplomat highlighted the work carried out by Learn Chile in the six years since it was created as the only network that brings together public and private universities from all over the country to promote the export of educational services throughout the world.