Latin American Studies & Courses with Locals

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Valparaíso & Viña del Mar, Chile

Program Overview

Program Overview

  • Popular Subject Areas

    Latin American Studies & Courses with Locals

  • Location

    Valparaíso & Viña del Mar

  • Host University

    Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

    Located on the outer edge of the eclectic city of Valparaíso, blocks away from the local port, the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) is a traditional catholic university that offers everything a student needs for complete Spanish immersion. ISA students at the PUCV will take courses through the International Program’s Office (PIIE), which offers courses in Spanish language and culture. Students who possess an advanced Spanish proficiency level are eligible to enroll in courses with local Chileans in a variety of subjects. The vast majority of courses are taught within one main building, known as the Casa Central, while a select number of courses may be taught in campuses outside of Valparaíso. The PUCV is accredited by the Chilean National Commission of Accreditation (CNAP) and recognized by the Chilean Ministry of Education (Mineduc) and Superior Education Council (Consejo Superior de Educación).

  • Term

    Spring 2B 2024

  • Program Dates

    Mid Feb, 2024 - Early Jul, 2024

  • Program Length


  • Application Deadline

    Nov 01, 2023

  • Forms and Payment Deadline

    Nov 15, 2023

  • Credit

    180 - 300 Contact Hours

  • Eligibility

    2.50 Minimum GPA*

  • Cost


  • Apply Now

Study Abroad Program Description

Designed to expand your knowledge of the Spanish language and granting you the opportunity to enroll in courses with local Chileans, this program allows you to experience a typical and fully immersive semester abroad. This program requires an advanced or higher Spanish proficiency level to which you can choose from a wide range of courses that fall under the host university's curriculum. All courses are taught at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso by local university professors. Please note that should you not wish to enroll in at minimum one course with locals, you will be required to enroll in the Spanish Language & Latin American Studies program.

What is the difference between the A and B programs?

  • The A program includes a month-long intensive Spanish program. Fall students who choose this option will enroll in two 45 contact hour Spanish courses.
  • The B program does not include the month-long intensive Spanish program. You will be taking normally scheduled semester-long courses.

You can combine the Spring + Fall OR Fall + Spring sessions at a discounted price. For more information about this option, please contact your ISA Chile Site Specialist.

Service-Learning in Valparaíso & Viña del Mar
In addition to your academic courses, Study + Service-Learning programs allow you to serve alongside a local organization and engage in reflective assignments. Service-learning will develop your intercultural competency skills and increase your understanding of social issues in your host community. Visit the ISA Service-Learning website to see placement opportunities in Valparaíso & Viña del Mar and for more information about how to receive academic credit.


Enjoy Flexibility with ISA Flex

We’ve partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) to help you overcome common study abroad challenges by adding an ASU Online course to your ISA program. With more than 2,100 courses to choose from, ISA Flex minimizes academic challenges, like major requirements and limited course options, so you can make the most of your experience abroad. Once you’ve applied, access the Flex form in your ISA Student Portal for more information on how to add this to your program and enroll in the course you need.



Students must have a minimum grade point average of 2.50.


Students must have completed or tested out of a minimum of four semesters (six quarters) of college-level Spanish


What's Included

Comprehensive Advising and Support

24-Hour Emergency

Comprehensive Health, Safety, and Security Support

Airport Reception

Visa Support

Tuition at the Host University


Meals and Laundry Service

Bridging Cultures Orientation

Full-Time Resident Staff

On-Site ISA Offices

Internet Access

ISA Discovery Model


Cultural Activities


Official Transcript from the Host University

Professional Development Toolbox

Scholarship Opportunities



Contact Hours

180 - 300

Recommended U.S. Semester Credits

12 - 20

Recommended U.S. Quarter Units

18 - 30

Academic Information

Course Selection

  • Students must enroll in 180 - 300 contact hours per semester. Students are required to enroll in at least one "regular" course with locals and three to four additional courses of their choice. Students have the option of taking any course offered with international students through the Spanish Language & Chilean Culture program. However, in order to optimize the academic rigor of this program, ISA strongly recommends that students enroll primarily in regular courses with locals.

  • Please note that there are three different types of courses offered at the PUCV-- Regular, General Electives and Spanish Language & Latin American Studies.

    • Regular courses are unique to each department, and for this reason are exclusive to those who study within the specific major or track. These course offerings are part of a fixed course curriculum and are very demanding for local students alike. In addition, these courses can be worth up to four to six credit hours and are offered two to three times a week.

    • General elective courses are offered by different schools at the PUCV and are open to local and international students. These particular courses are offered once a week, and are worth two credit hours. Elective courses generally have more international students than locals enrolled.

    • Spanish Language & Latin American Studies courses were designed through the PIIE (Programas Internacionales de Intercabio) International Exchange Program, with international students in mind. These course offerings were specifically created for international students, and offer a variety of courses related to Spanish language and Latin American studies.

  • The courses listed below are only a sampling of what the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso offers. For a full list of course options, feel free to reference the Facultades y Carreras page on the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso's website.

  • Students who possess a high intermediate, advanced or higher level of Spanish language are eligible to choose among the PUCV's 38-hour general elective courses instructed in Spanish with local Chilean students. It is important to mention that these general elective courses are not to be confused with "Regular" courses with Chilean students.

  • Requests for sample syllabi can be made to the Chile Program Manager.

Course Credit

  • Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students’ home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

  • Per the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, 45 contact hours is equivalent to 3 U.S. semester credits / 4 quarter units. Credit transfer is ultimately determined by the student's home university.

  • The contact hour at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso is 35 minutes. The ISA Cover Letter that will accompany your transcript upon completion of your program will reflect the adjusted U.S. 50-minute contact hour and updated transfer credit recommendations. Please discuss credit transfer with your home university prior to departure. 

Language Placement and Recommendation

  • Enrollment in Spanish courses is determined by the results of a language placement exam administered by the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso. Please note that your performance on the placement exam may not reflect the number of semesters of language instruction you've already completed at your home university. We strongly suggest that students who are trying to place into any level of language beyond true beginning prepare for the language placement exam by reviewing previous coursework.

Transcript Information

  • The transcript from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso will reflect contact hours for each course listed below. Please be in touch with your home university regarding credit transfer for this program.

Online Courses

  • ISA does not recommend that students sign up for online courses through their host university. If enrolling in an online course is necessary for you to meet your degree requirements, you may only enroll in one online class. It is your responsibility to confirm with your home university that you will receive credit for online courses taken through your host university.


Filter by Subject

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Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Regular Courses with Chilean Students
Business and Economics
90 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
Natural Sciences
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
Social Sciences
76 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
General Elective Courses with Chilean and International Students
High Intermediate
38 Contact Hours
38 Contact Hours
38 Contact Hours
Man & Games
EFI 080
38 Contact Hours
Mapuche Games
EFI 085
38 Contact Hours
38 Contact Hours
38 Contact Hours
38 Contact Hours
Spanish Language & Latin American Studies with International Students
High Intermediate
76 Contact Hours
38 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
Academic Writing
PIIE 355
60 Contact Hours
60 Contact Hours
76 Contact Hours
Creative Writing
PIIE 354
60 Contact Hours
90 Contact Hours
60 Contact Hours
Course Disclaimer
  • Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Support & Funding

ISA is here to support you when it comes to navigating identity questions related to traveling abroad, providing resources and information for your accessibility needs, and identifying funding for your program abroad.


Our U.S. staff is available to support you though every stage of your study abroad journey. Please reach out with any questions about ISA programs or life on-site to your country-specific Program Manager.

Our on-site staff are there for you as soon as you arrive in country and will support you throughout your time abroad.

U.S. Team

Michelle McRaney

Program Manager, Chile


Lorna Arredondo

Student Services, Chile

Lizette Arredondo Castillo

Director of ISA Chile Programs, Chile

Identity Resources

Accessibility & Accommodations

With our wide portfolio of program types and locations, we’re confident there is a suitable, accessible program for each student.

Securing accommodations abroad can take time, so we ask that those with requests inform ISA early in the advising process. We recommend reaching out to your Program Manager or our Accessibility Team ( to discuss your accessibility needs or accommodations abroad.

Destination Information

Our diversity pages for each ISA destination include information on Indigenous communities, languages, race and ethnicity, religion, LGBTQIA+, and disability access. We hope it will help when reflecting upon and contextualizing intersectionality in your host community.

Identity Blog

ISA offers students the opportunity to blog about their experiences abroad from their own diverse perspectives. These posts can be found on the ISA Student Blog, and interested students should email for more information.


All students should have the opportunity to study abroad. To help make this a reality, ISA offers a variety of scholarships to help cover your study abroad costs. To learn more about our scholarship opportunities, check out our scholarships & grants page!

If you receive financial aid from your home university, you can likely use those funds for study abroad, as well. Speak with your home university’s financial aid office to learn about your options. Check out steps for using financial aid.

Questions about scholarships and funding? Email us at


Living in ISA housing will give you the opportunity to experience aspects of the Chilean lifestyle that are inaccessible to the average visitor to Chile. With an open-mind and flexibility, the experience of living in another culture can be highly rewarding.

We strive to match your housing preferences with our available accommodations; however, housing preference requests cannot be guaranteed.


Host families are best if you are seeking full linguistic and cultural immersion during your time abroad. Each host family has been carefully selected by ISA's resident staff in order to best accommodate your needs and to ensure a comfortable living situation. Homestays will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week and laundry service once a week. You will typically have your own bedroom but will likely have another ISA student of the same gender as a housemate.

Independent Housing

You may elect to secure housing independently. If you select this option, you will receive a discount equal to the housing portion of the program price.



Cultural Activities in Chile

The ISA on-site team encourages you to explore the city and culture of Valparaiso. The team facilitates this by offering a robust calendar of events that showcases what makes Valparaiso special.

These activities vary each term, and previous offerings have included historical tours, language exchanges with local students, tours of Neruda's Valparaiso home and the art museum, Mueso Fonck.


A perfect introduction to ISA and Chile, you will begin your program on a three-night/four-day excursion in the capital city of Santiago. You will get to visit landmarks, such as La Moneda, Cerro Santa Lucía, the Plaza de Armas & Catedral de Santiago, and the Central Market & Los Domínicos.

Historical Tour in Santiago

You will return to the capital of Santiago to discover captivating details of Chile's history before, during, and after the Military Coup of 1973. You will take this opportunity to engage and learn about Chile's political trials that has left such an important mark in their overall identity. During this excursion you will visit the Cementerio General, Villa Grimaldi, and Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos.

Playas del Norte

Horcón is a small fishing village just north of Viña del Mar and is often times considered an artisan's colony. On this day trip, you will find crafts of all types and also have the opportunity to sample delicious seafood empanadas. After an afternoon of treasure hunting, you will then have a chance to relax on the beautiful beaches of Zapallar.

Pucón * Optional

As a result of its natural beauty, Pucón is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts and a perfect place for peaceful relaxation. During this optional weekend excursion, ISA will coordinate fun activities and tour of this authentic city. You will have an abundance of activities to choose from, including river rafting, visiting a volcano, mountain biking, taking a dip in some hot springs, and much more.


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