Chile: Comparative Education and Social Change

Educational Excursions

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

“We had incredible access to observe and participate in schools across Chile and Argentina. The program provided a very solid base of knowledge about the politics, history, and culture of Chile.”

—Program alum

Compare regional and national differences in educational systems.

 The rural community of Laguna Verde during the Valparaíso excursion.

Educational excursions bring to life the complex educational and social issues discussed in lectures and seminars. Excursions also provide students with an opportunity to apply concepts and methods introduced through coursework, such as cross-cultural adaptation and interviewing skills. Students learn how to reflect and contrast reality versus rhetoric.

Población La Victoria
The Chilean community of La Victoria is known for its strong sense of identity, culture, and social organization. It was a source of social mobilization against the Pinochet dictatorship during the 1980s and it was there that French priest André Jarlan was shot by police bullets. Students visit the community’s public school, a neighborhood association, the museum André Jarlan, and a popular television station (channel 3 of La Victoria). Students meet with teachers, families, local students, and community leaders.  

Human Rights Tour: Uncovering Chile’s Complex Past
Over four days, students visit a series of locations used as torture sites, secret detention centers, clandestine burial sites, and sites used as holding places for citizens kidnapped by the dictatorship. Students typically visit the Museo de la Memoria, el Parque por la Paz Villa Grimaldi, Patio 29, Memorial de Salvador Allende, the resting place of Víctor Jara, and the Memorial al Detenido Desaparecido y Ejecutado Político.

Students meet with former detainees and relatives of victims and also with the organization Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos Desparecios. They also have a seminar with prominent lawyers and human rights activists.

During a three-day excursion to the city of Valparaíso, SIT students engage with students and teachers at rural and urban public schools. Students visit the elementary school in Laguna Verde, a rural community to the south of Valparaíso. They also visit Liceo Técnico Femenino A–24, a girls’ school. The excursion includes a presentation by members of the Valparaiso Province’s Regional Teacher’s Federation (Colegio de Profesores) who offer their views on Chile’s current educational situation and reform initiatives.

Helping with the construction of a Ruka, a typical Mapuche housing unit

Temuco, Mapuche Region
Study the complex issues of ethnicity and diversity in relation to education systems.
Examine indigenous educational alternatives and possibilities.
Students spend seven days in a Mapuche community in the rural area of Chapod in southern Chile. Living with a local family allows students to enrich their knowledge of the Mapuche community. During their stay, students visit a local school to observe primary and middle school instruction and intercultural bilingual education. Students interact with teachers, students, and host families.

As part of this excursion, students also engage in community work such as:

  • Helping with the construction of a Ruka, a typical Mapuche housing unit
  • Teaching English classes to community children
  • Taking Mapudungun lessons
  • Playing soccer and Palin, the local Mapuche sport, with members of the community

Buenos Aires, Argentina
During the two-week excursion to Argentina, students visit schools and NGOs in the greater Buenos Aires area. A part of the program takes place at Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social (IDES), a research institute focused on social and economic policy. Students examine human rights movements, popular education, and the work of local teachers.

Highlights of the Buenos Aires excursion include:

  • Meeting with Argentina’s Ministry of Education staff and professors from the University of Buenos Aires
  • Visiting Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada, the main detention and torture center during Argentina’s dictatorship period
  • Visiting public schools with high populations of Paraguayan and Bolivian migrants 
  • Joining members of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo—Argentina's premier human rights organization—on their weekly walk for human rights at Plaza de Mayo
  • Visiting different schools that represent the formal and popular educational system

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Santiago

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: Coursework in education, Latin American studies, or development studies; 3 semesters college-level Spanish. Read more...

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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