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Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development


This information is provided to assist you in identifying possible accessibility barriers and preparing for an accessible educational experience with SIT Study Abroad. You should be aware that while in-country conditions and resources vary by site, every effort is made to work collaboratively with qualified individuals to facilitate disability-related accommodation. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact SIT Disability Services at [email protected] for additional information related to access abroad and to discuss possible accommodations.


During the coursework phase of the program, you will generally be in class three to four days per week for three to five hours per day. Breaks are provided halfway through each class, and there is a three-hour lunch break. Learning is typically assessed through take-home assignments, in-class assignments, written assignments/exams, oral presentations/exams, individual assignments, group assignments, and take-home quizzes/exams. Course readings and in-class materials are typically available in a digital format.

If you have questions about alternate format materials, testing accommodations, or other academic accommodations, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Program Center

The program office is accessed by a long stairway. The exterior door, interior doors, and pathways are at least 32 in. (82 cm.) wide. This includes doorways to the study/library, lounge area, classroom, and restroom. Program spaces are not located on the ground level, and there is no accessible elevator. There is no separate computer space for students.


The program typically includes three local field-based excursions in Valparaíso and nearby Santiago and several weeklong excursions to rural areas of Chile. You should expect to stand, walk, and hike for extended periods of time. A pair of comfortable, rubber-soled, waterproof trekking shoes is recommended. Program excursions may occasionally vary to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities.


The program’s homestay coordinator will be responsible for placing you in your homestays. These placements are made based, first, on health concerns, including any allergies or dietary needs, to the extent possible. Urban homestays offer regular access to electricity to charge devices. Access to telephones and/or internet in rural homestays and on excursions may be limited. The physical accessibility of homestay options is currently limited. Other accommodations during the program include hostels, private homes, and/or small hotels. If you have questions about homestay or housing accessibility, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Dietary Needs

The local diet in Chile is based on rice, beans, sauces, pasta, soups, fish, bread, meat, vegetables, and fruit. Like in many Latin American countries, the largest meal is usually eaten in the middle of the day. Gluten-free diets are possible to accommodate. In Chile, you can look for items with the gluten-free certificate and logo. In some locations, it may not be possible to guarantee zero exposure to certain foods or a given allergen. For students who keep kosher, placement with a Jewish homestay family may be possible.

SIT Study Abroad works with students, program staff, homestay families, home colleges and universities, and others to accommodate dietary needs whenever possible. For more information on dietary needs and dietary preferences, please review the Student Support section of the Student Health, Safety, and Support web page.


The general routes of travel in Valparaiso have limited accessibility. You will typically travel the 10 to 30 minutes between your homestay, classes, and/or placement sites by walking, bus, and/or train. Buses are used for transportation on local excursions. Buses lack ramps and do not have room to stretch. The train is more accessible.


You are advised to bring your own academic technology, including laptops, recording devices, adapters, flash drives, and assistive technology. It is also recommended that you insure your electronic property against loss or theft. You are advised that the use of cell phones and laptops is not permitted during lectures or program activities. The program center has Wi-Fi, and internet cafés in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar have computers that can be rented by the hour. It may also be possible to purchase a USB port wireless mobile connection for your computer. Unfortunately, it is not possible to rent a laptop.

If you have questions about assistive technology, note-taking accommodations, or other academic accommodations, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Health Resources

The program has a standing relationship with medical doctors and psychologists for any services needed during the program. Adequate medical services can be found throughout Chile including Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Temuco, and Arica. The recommended emergency care center in Viña del Mar is the Clinica Reñaca (where the program’s bilingual doctor works), and in Valparaíso it’s the Hospital Van Buren. Payment for medical services is covered by your health insurance if the provider is notified prior to or during the medical service. Prescriptions written by local doctors and over-the-counter medicines are widely available.

Students with a history of asthma or allergies should be warned that air pollution, particularly in urban settings, is steadily worsening, resulting in an increasing incidence of respiratory illness.

Although the program base, Arica, is at sea level, you will be participating on a northern excursion to Putre, which is above 10,000 ft. You may wish to consult with your physician about obtaining medication to treat high-altitude sickness.

Chile is seismically active; earth tremors are a common occurrence. Program staff will discuss safety tips and instructions in orientation.

Admitted students are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns about accessing health services or medication while abroad during the health review process. Read more about the health review process and the summary of benefits for student health insurance.

Requesting Disability-Related Accommodations

To request disability-related accommodations, admitted students should contact the Office of Disability Services. For more information about the accommodation process, documentation guidelines and a link to the accommodation request form, please visit the Office of Disability Services website.

Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Services at [email protected] or 802 258-3390 as early as possible for information and support.

Additional Support Resources

MIUSA (Mobility International USA) is a cross-disability organization serving those with cognitive, hearing, learning, mental health, physical, systemic, vision, and other disabilities. It offers numerous resources for persons with disabilities who wish to study abroad and/or engage in international development opportunities.

Abroad with Disabilities (AWD) is a Michigan nonprofit organization founded in 2015 with the goal of promoting the belief that persons with disabilities can and should go abroad. AWD works diligently to empower clients to pursue study, work, volunteer, and/or internship opportunities outside of the United States by creating dialogue, sharing resources, and spreading awareness.