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Santiago, Chile

program description


The City

With a population of approximately 5 million, Santiago offers the vibrant cultural opportunities of a major metropolis as well as a relaxed Latino ambiance. It is the capital of Chile, with its unusual geographic form of a 2,700 mile long narrow coastal strip along the Andes. Chile combines the world's driest desert, a slice of Antarctica, Easter Island, a temperate southern jungle, and a sophisticated urban landscape, all in this slim extension of land squeezed between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes. Chile is well known for being a country of poets, a sentiment which resonated in the 20th century through the voices of two Nobel Prize winners, Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda, as well as Vicente Huidobro and Pablo de Rokha. 

The Universities

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (PUC)

One of the premier universities of South America, PUC offers a broad curriculum. The main campus is located in downtown Santiago, with four branches spread throughout the city. The university’s academic strengths include: business, economics, political science, history, education, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, and psychology. Students attending PUC can take a 2-month interdisciplinary seminar on Chilean culture, history, politics, and women’s issues.

Universidad Alberto Hurtado (UAH)

Located in central Santiago, UAH is a Jesuit university that was founded in 1997 and created from the merger of three separate institutes which played a key role in Chile's recent history; Instituto Latinoamericano de Doctrina y Estudios Sociales (ILADES), the Centro de Investigación, Desarrollo de la Educación (CIDE), and the Fundación Educacional Roberto Bellarmino. As a Jesuit university it realizes its strong humanist mission through its excellence in teaching, research, and social work. UAH’s academic strengths include: philosophy, humanities, psychology, social ethics, human development, education, economics, and business administration. Students attending UAH may take a “Poverty and Development” course which involves a service-learning component.

The Program

Upon arrival, BC students have an intensive orientation to Santiago, Chilean culture, and the Chilean academic system and take an intensive 3-week Spanish course. 


The PUC and UAH international offices utilize the services of a housing coordinator to assist students in arranging homestays with local families or locating apartments or student residences.

Other Activities

Students attend a mandatory orientation and participate in various activities such as: visits to Isla Negra and Valparaiso (homes of Nobel Laureate poet Pablo Neruda), as well as museums in Santiago. Boston College has a BC on-site coordinator who is located at Alberto Hurtado and advises students accademically who enroll there. In addition, the coordinator organizes cultural activities and trips that also include students who are enrolled at PUC.