As South America’s most economically and socially prosperous nation, the popularity of Chile with international students comes as no surprise. The birthplace of poet and Nobel laureate, Pablo Neruda, Chile is home to one of the strongest higher education systems in Latin America. It hosts over 20,000 international students every year for its degree courses and an additional 10,000 students on exchange programs. To further boost the number of international students in the country, a group of 21 Chilean universities has launched an initiative called ‘Learn Chile’. Supported by the Chilean government, the project hopes to promote Chile as an internationally recognised and qualified destination for higher education.
WHY CHOOSE CHILE?
Chile has the best of all worlds for an international student. A Mediterranean climate, safety and living standards comparable to Europe or North America, the cultural vibe of Latin America, and most importantly a quality higher education at an affordable price. What’s more? The country with one of the longest coastlines in the world as well as the world’s driest desert has plenty in store for those with a taste for adventure and the great outdoors.
TOP UNIVERSITIES IN CHILE
Two of Chile’s universities feature in the top 10 of the QS Latin America University Rankings. These are also its highest entrants in the QS World Rankings this year. Established in 1888, the first of the two universities is the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC), a Catholic university ranked 137th in the world. It also takes the top spot this year in the QS Latin America Rankings. The second of these is the Universidad de Chile, Chile’s oldest as well as the most respected public university. Located in Santiago, the university was established in 1843 and is ranked 201st in the world.
HOW TO APPLY
Undergraduates applying to state universities in Chile must take a test called the Prueba de Seleccion Universitaria (PSU), similar to the SAT used in the US. Each university sets its own PSU entry requirements. International students must also demonstrate their proficiency in Spanish.
The student visa, or Visa de Estudiante, is generally valid for a maximum of one year and can be renewed from within Chile. Students on a scholarship program may get a visa valid until the end of the scholarship. A prospective student has an option to apply for the visa within Chile at the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Santiago, or at a Chilean embassy in their home country before they depart.
The following documents are required to apply for a student visa:
- A certificate of enrollment or letter of acceptance from your university or school
- A letter of confirmation that the course and school is government approved
- A police clearance certificate
- 4 passport-sized photographs
- A health certificate
- Application form
- Valid passport
Please note that international students are not allowed to work in Chile on a student visa.
There are many scholarships available for international students to study in Chile, including from the universities themselves. The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile offers multiple scholarships to international students based on academic excellence.
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