From desert land to glaciers, from volcanoes to exotic valleys,and thick forests to open plains, Chile is without doubt a country of extremes. Bound to attract international students who have a taste for adventure and the outdoors, Chile has a rich cultural offering houses one of the strongest higher education systems in Latin America. Do read on for more on what it’s like to study on low tuition in Chile, plus a general overview of the country’s highest ranked institutions of learning.
When you look at the map, Chile sits as Argentina’s much skinnier neighbor; but what it lacks in breadth it makes up for in length, stretching 4,270km along the western coast of South America. Most of Chile’s 15 million population can be found in just a number of major cities, between with long stretches of desert lands and vast lengths of deserted coastline. If it wasn’t for the backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the Andes in the east, the capital city Santiago would seem a world away from Chile’s untamed wilderness. And although the capital has gained an unwholesome popularity for its loud streets and haze of pollution, Santiago is still an ambitious place, with a scintillating culture and quirkiness waiting to indulge international students and tourists collectively.
How to Apply to study in Chile
The degree program in Chile is similar to that found in the EU and US, made up of Licenciatura (equivalent to a bachelor’s degree), Magister (master’s degree) and Doctor (PhD). The Licentiatura is typically a four-year course, though some subject concentration such as engineering or architecture may require a longer time period.
Undergraduate students applying to state institutions in Chile are expected to sit for a test popularly called the Prueba de Seleccion Universitaria (PSU), which is similar to the SAT test commonly taken in the US. Each university determines its own PSU entry requirement, with ‘traditional’ universities generally requiring higher scores than the newer private universities. In order to study at universities in Chile, international students will also need to demonstrate their ability to study in Spanish.
For additional information on applying to study in Chile, students should do well to connect with their chosen university directly.
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Living expenses and tuition fees
Chile is not very cheap when compared to other Latin American countries,but it’s still relatively affordable for international standards. A typical monthly living budget, including food, transport and residence, can go from roughly US$700 on a strict budget to US$1,100 on a larger allowance.
Recently, tuition fees at universities in Chile, both public and private, have risen. Students at private institutions of learning now pay US$5,500 per year, and, due to recent tuition fee raise, public institutions now charge similar amounts.Note that students involved in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) may be charged higher amounts, at roughly US$5,900, while students who do medicine would pay more again, with average fees standing at roughly US$6,300 per year.
Those who are studying in Chile for less than 90 days can do so with just a tourist visa. These are issued as stamps upon arrival in the country and cost approximately US$160. Residents from a number of countries, including the UK and the US, do not require tourist visas to enter the country.
If you intend to study in Chile for more than 90 days, however, you will have to apply for a student visa through the local Chilean embassy or consulate at least a month before travelling in. To facilitate this, you’ll need to provide a passport which has to be valid for at least six months beyond the time of your planned studies, evidence of sufficient cash to cover tuition and living costs, and proof of a return or onward ticket. You’ll equally need a letter of acceptance from an approved university course, a letter of police clearance and a clear bill of health. Note that student visas are valid for up to one year, but you are expected to leave the country before the visa expires. This student visa will costs roughly US$160, but fees vary based on your country of residence.
It is illegal to gain work in Chile as a tourist or student, so make sure you account for this when figuring out your budget.
Universidad de Chile
The highest-ranked public institution in Chile, the Universidad de Chile is ranked 201st in the latest world rankings and sixth in Latin America in 2018. The oldest university in Chile, having been established in 1843, the Universidad de Chile is located in Santiago across five campuses and over 1,700,000 square meters of land which incorporates museums, theaters, healthcare facilities and sports centers. Around 40,000 students are currently enrolled, of which a quarter are postgraduates.
Of the 28 subjects the Universidad de Chile is internationally ranked for, the school performs particularly well for mineral and mining engineering, featuring in the top 10 in the world.