Study educational policies and pedagogies in Chile and Argentina and explore the relationship between education, society, and diversity in both countries.
Research education in urban and rural areas of Chile and Argentina.
You will spend time in a variety of schools, including public, private, voucher, underprivileged, coed, and single-sex institutions.
Consider popular education as a tool for social change.
Learn about the complex relationship between society and education and the forces that affect educational policies and ideologies in two South American countries. SIT faculty, regional researchers, members of governmental and human rights organizations, and local experts will lead lectures and seminars and guide you in field studies.
Live with host families in Santiago while you attend lectures, seminars, and field studies.
Topics of study include education and equity, human rights and indigenous education, intercultural health, popular education and labor unions, social change and social movements, gender studies and intercultural education with Latin American immigrants, public health and education, and the impact of globalization on education and schooling.
Immerse yourself in Spanish.
Learn Spanish through intensive language classes and interaction with host families and Chilean culture.
Compare regional and national differences in educational systems.
Educational excursions bring to life the complex educational and social issues discussed in lectures and seminars. You will apply concepts and methods introduced through coursework, such as cross-cultural adaptation and interviewing skills, and learn how to contrast reality versus rhetoric.
Compare different systems of education and social change.
Educational excursions bring to life the complex educational and social issues discussed in lectures and seminars. Participate in excursions throughout Chile and apply concepts and methods introduced through coursework, such as cross-cultural adaptation and interviewing skills, and learn how to contrast reality versus rhetoric. Live with indigenous families in Temuco to learn about bilingual intercultural education and the conflicting relationships between the Chilean state and the Mapuche community. Then travel to Buenos Aires to examine Argentina’s educational policies with visits to classrooms and meetings with teachers, students, and community and civil society leaders.
Critical Global Issue of Study
Migration | Identity | Resilience
Previous college-level coursework in education, Latin American studies, or development studies. Three recent semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- Chilean educational system and the country’s current education crisis
- Regional and national differences in educational systems
- Popular, intercultural, and bilingual education
- Role of ethnicity and diversity in educational practices
- Educational policies, equity, gender, and human rights
The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
The interdisciplinary coursework in this program explores the political, social, and economic factors affecting educational systems and social change in Chile and Argentina. Students examine these effects firsthand through field studies and interactions with urban and rural communities throughout Chile and in Buenos Aires. During the final month of the semester, students leverage their accumulated knowledge and research experience to complete an Independent Study Project or internship.
- Education Quality and Equity: Tensions and Proposals – syllabus
- (LACB3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- In this first seminar, students examine the Chilean educational system in the context of global changes. In particular, they study the relationship between education and society in Chile and the current crisis in education. Course topics include educational equity policies and the impact on social indicators; education and human rights: gender, sexuality, religion, and ideology; special education and its challenges; rural education; and university reform. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.
- Bilingual Intercultural Education and Popular Education – syllabus
- (LACB3005 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- The second seminar introduces a comparative focus by having students examine both the Chilean and Argentine educational systems. The course focuses on intercultural education, the role of ethnicity and diversity in educational practices, and bilingual education in South America. Students will examine the particular case of Mapuche communities in Chile. As a second major theme, students also consider popular education models, reading Freire and others, relating these models to social movements. In both areas — the intercultural and the popular — students critically examine the tensions among the different actors in the educational system: students, teachers, and the government. Similarly, through both intercultural and popular education themes, students discuss issues of equity, human rights, and educational policies with reference to the current legislative framework. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.
- Spanish for Social Sciences and Education I – syllabus
- (SPAN2003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Spanish for Social Sciences and Education II – syllabus
- (SPAN2503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Spanish for Social Sciences and Education III – syllabus
- (SPAN3003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- In this course, students hone their speaking, reading, and writing skills through classroom and field instruction. They practice reading educational literature as they learn the formal terms and local expressions needed to discuss educational policy, to conduct field research, and to interact in settings related to the program themes and excursion destinations. Students are placed in small classes based on an in-country evaluation that tests both written and oral proficiency.
- Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
- (ANTH3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- This research methods course is designed to prepare students for an Independent Study Project or internship. Through lectures, readings, and field activities, students study and practice basic social science and educational research methods. They examine the ethical issues surrounding field research related to working with schools, children, and marginalized groups, and are guided through the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review process, which forms a core component of the course. By the end of the course, students will have chosen a research topic or internship placement, selected appropriate methods, and written a solid proposal for an Independent Study Project or internship related to the program themes. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.
In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:
- Independent Study Project – syllabus
- (ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
- Conducted in Santiago, Buenos Aires or in another approved location appropriate to the project, the Independent Study Project offers students the opportunity to conduct field research on a topic of their choice within the program's thematic parameters. The project integrates learning from the various components of the program and culminates in a final presentation and formal research paper. Students may choose to incorporate a guided practicum experience into the project as well. Sample topic areas: identity issues and intercultural education in rural Mapuche schools; education and cultural identity through children's arts expressions; structural aspects of education; English language practicum; the Penguin revolution and its effects; school reentry in Buenos Aires; ethnicity in childcare in slum areas of Santiago and Buenos Aires; gender roles in schools; national identity in students; human rights; popular education and social change.
- Internship and Seminar – syllabus
- (ITRN3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
- This seminar consists of a four-week internship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, or Chile with a local community or social organization, school, university, union, or federation of students or teachers, research organization, business, or international NGO. The aim of the internship is to enable the student to gain valuable work experience and to enhance their skills in an international work environment. Students will complete an internship and submit a paper in which they process their learning experience on the job, analyze an issue important to the organization, and/or design a socially responsible solution to a problem identified by the organization. The internship will be conducted in Spanish.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
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. Meet teachers, families, students, and community leaders as you visit the public school, a neighborhood association, the André Jarlan museum, and a popular television station (channel 3 of La Victoria).
Human Rights Tour: Uncovering Chile’s Complex Past
Over four days, you will visit former torture sites, secret detention centers, clandestine burial sites, and sites where kidnapped citizens were held by the dictatorship. These typically include 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. Meet with former detainees, relatives of victims, and the organization Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos Desparecidos. Hear from prominent lawyers and human rights activists during a seminar.
During a three-day excursion to the city of Valparaíso, you will visit the elementary school in Laguna Verde, a rural community to the south of Valparaíso, and Liceo Técnico Femenino A–24, a girls’ school. You will also hear members of the Valparaíso Province’s Regional Teacher’s Union talk about Chile’s current educational situation and reform initiatives.
Temuco, Mapuche Region
Study the complex issues of ethnicity and diversity in education. Examine indigenous educational alternatives while spending seven days in a Mapuche community in the rural area of southern Chile. Live with a local family to enrich your knowledge of the Mapuche community and visit a local school to see primary and middle school instruction and intercultural bilingual education. You will also engage in community activities such as:
- Helping with the construction of a ruka, a typical Mapuche house
- Teaching English classes to local children
- Taking Mapudungun lessons
- Playing soccer and palin, a Mapuche sport, with members of the community
Buenos Aires, Argentina
During a two-week excursion to Argentina, you will visit schools and NGOs in greater Buenos Aires. Part of the program takes place at Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social, a research institute focused on social and economic policy, where you will examine human rights movements, popular education, and the work of local teachers. Other aspects of this excursion include:
- Meeting with Argentina’s Ministry of Education staff members and professors from the University of Buenos Aires
- A visit to Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada, the main detention and torture center during Argentina’s dictatorship period
- Visits to 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 schools that represent the formal and popular educational systems.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Roberto Villaseca, MA, Academic Director
Roberto graduated from the Universidad de Santiago de Chile with a degree in industrial management. He earned two postgraduate degrees, in university pedagogy and college management, from the Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación in Chile; he also has a master’s degree in education from the same university. Roberto did his doctoral studies in education at the Aconcagua University in Santiago, Chile, specializing in assessment and accreditation, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Latin American culture and education at Arcis University in Santiago, Chile. He has held academic assignments at the Universidad Arcis, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, and Universidad de Chile and has served as the academic coordinator of the Faculty of Engineering at the Universidad Bolivariana. His research has focused on education, economics, globalization, and economic development, areas in which he has published several articles.
Roberto has been academic director of this program since 2009, but his experience with SIT dates back to 2001 when he was academic coordinator of the Globalization and Economic Development program and the Advanced Field Research summer program. In these roles he analyzed intercultural bilingual education in Mapuche territory and intercultural education with immigrant populations in Santiago and Buenos Aires to understand the relationship between intercultural education, human rights, popular education, gender and immigrant studies, and social change in Chile and Argentina.
Noemí Muñoz, Program Coordinator
Noemí is a history and social sciences teacher from Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello. She has worked as a teacher since 2011. As program coordinator, she works with partner universities, institutions, social organizations, teachers, and excursion coordinators to coordinate program activities. As the homestay coordinator, she works with host families and students throughout the semester to ensure a positive experience on both sides.
Claudia Zuñiga, Program Assistant and Homestay Coordinator
Claudia is an accountant from Instituto La Araucana. As the homestay coordinator, she works with host families and students throughout the semester to ensure a positive experience on both sides while also supporting the activities of the program.
Juan Antonio Painecura, Program Coordinator, Temuco, Mapuche Territory
Juan Antonio holds a degree in design from the Universidad Católica-Temuco. He has coordinated SIT’s Mapuche excursions for the past 16 years. He is a guest lecturer at Chilean universities on Mapuche history and philosophy and is the author of several articles on Mapuche history including “La Historia del Pueblo Mapuche en el Contexto del Modelo Neoliberal” (ARCIS, 2004). A longtime activist on Mapuche community development and culture survival issues, he has conducted indigenous leadership training in other Andean countries and is a founding member of Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derrechos Humanos de Temuco, a Chilean human rights organization. Juan Antonio is a Mapuche retrafe (silverwork artist) and consultant to the Smithsonian and the Royal London Museum on their Mapuche silverwork art collections. He is the owner of Ruka Kimun, a Mapuche cultural training and indigenous tourism business.
Marta Kesilevski, MA, Program Coordinator, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Marta, the local coordinator for the homestays and excursions in Buenos Aires, holds a BA in education sciences and a master’s degree in social sciences with a specialization in education from the Facultad Lationoamericana de Ciensas Sociales. She is also a doctoral candidate in social sciences and an education expert with Argentina’s Ministry of Education.
Faculty and lecturers for this program typically include:
Pablo Cottet, PhD
Pablo is director of the School of Sociology at the Universidad ARCIS. He earned his PhD at the Universidad de Chile, specializing in aesthetics and art theory. He has lectured extensively at public institutions and has given presentations at the Museum of Contemporary Art and various universities. He has extensive experience as a teacher at undergraduate and graduate universities in Chile, including Universidad Diego Portales, Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, and Universidad ARCIS. In addition to publishing several papers in books and magazines, he led the international seminar “Current Debates on Social Research Methodology” for the doctoral program in social psychology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Juan Eduardo García-Huidobro, PhD
Juan Eduardo is dean of the Education Faculty at the Universidad Alberto Hurtado. He received his doctorate in education sciences and philosophy at the Universidad Católica de Lovaine and his master’s degree in education policy from the Universidad Alberto Hurtado. He is also the director of the Center for Investigation and Educational Development and the former president of the Presidential Advisory Council for Education. He has published extensively on the subjects of education and the Chilean educational system.
Nora Gluz, PhD Candidate
Nora received her master’s degree in social science and education from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Argentina. She received a bachelor of science in education at the University of Buenos Aires and is currently pursuing a doctorate in education at the same university. Nora is also a researcher and teacher and has published articles and books on education in Argentina.
Manuel Riesco Larraín, PhD
Manuel is a civil engineering professor at the University of Chile. He earned his master’s degree in industrial engineering with a minor in economics from the University of Chile and his PhD in political economy from the Social Science Institute in Moscow. He has worked as the external research coordinator for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development in Geneva since 2003 and is vice president of the Centro de Estudios Nacionales de Desarrollo Alternativo in Santiago. He has been a consultant for the United Nations Development Programme since 1999. His publications include “Derrumbe de un Mito: Chile Reforma sus Sistemas Privatizados de Educación y Pensiones.”
Liliana Pascual, PhD
Liliana received her doctorate in educational sciences and her master’s degree in sociology from the Department of Philosophy and Letters at the University of Buenos Aires. She also has a master’s degree in English language instruction from the Cambridge Institute of English Culture. She is also the quality manager for Argentina’s Ministry of Education.
In-country resources and program partners generally include:
- Universidad Alberto Hurtado Research Centre
- Chilean Teachers’ Federation
- Teachers in the Ministry of Education of Argentina
- Universidad Arcis
- Colegio de Profesores de Chile
- Centro de Estudios Nacionales de Desarrollo Alternativo
- Universidad de Buenos Aires
- Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social
- Confederación de Trabajadores de la República de Argentina
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
The program’s three homestays will give you the chance to experience diverse lifestyles in Chile and Argentina and to understand and appreciate different cultures. The program includes two homestays in Chile (Santiago and Temuco) and one in Argentina. By living with different host families, you will be exposed to multiple perspectives on the relationship between educational policies and society.
During the first five weeks of the program, you will live with host families in Santiago, in Chile’s capital, to experience urban Chilean culture, practice your Spanish language skills, and learn about your family’s experiences with education and social change.
Live for a week with an indigenous Mapuche family in the community of Chapod, Temuco, in southern Chile. Here, you will experience a rural, indigenous community and learn about the ancient traditions of Mapuche education. See the challenges of bilingual intercultural education on visits to a Mapuche school and during conversations with community leaders and teachers.
During a two-week excursion to Argentina, you will live with host families of professionals, academics, and university students in the cosmopolitan downtown area of Buenos Aires known as Capital Federal.
Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project
You have the option to spend the final four weeks of the program on an Independent Study Project (ISP). This gives you the opportunity to critically analyze a topic or situation related to the educational and social dynamics in Chilean, Mapuche, or Argentine communities. You will receive guidance from the academic director during the ISP period.
Sample ISP topic areas:
- Identity issues and intercultural education in rural Mapuche schools
- Education and cultural identity through children’s arts
- Structural aspects of education
- English language practicum in a primary urban or rural school
- The Penguin Revolution and its effects
- School reentry in Buenos Aires
- Ethnicity in childcare in marginalized areas of Santiago and Buenos Aires
- Gender roles in schools
- National identity in students
- Human rights
- Popular education and social change
Watch an ISP by Abigail Rothstein from Brandeis University: “En Toma. Desesperanza aprendida: El rol de la memoria colectiva en los movimientos estudiantiles/The occupation. Learned despair: The role of collective memory in the students’ movements”
Students on this program represent a variety of colleges, universities, and majors. Many of them have gone on to pursue professional or academic experiences that connect back to their experience abroad with SIT. Alumni of this program are currently working in education and public policy, as teachers, researchers, administrative assistants, and directors for schools, institutions, and NGOs.
Positions recently held by alumni of this program include:
- Research analyst at Vera Institute of Justice, New York, NY
- Legislative press aide in the U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC
- Enrollment specialist at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, Boston, MA
- School-based clinician at Association House of Chicago, Chicago, IL
- Research scientist at Albany Molecular Research Inc., Indianapolis, IN
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
- Education and its role in promoting equity and social justice
- Educational systems and reforms in Chile and Argentina
- Intercultural education in the global context
- Popular education and critical pedagogy
- Research Methods and Ethics course and Human Subjects Review
- Intensive language instruction in Spanish
- Travel costs for educational excursions to locations such as Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Temuco, Chile
- Independent Study Project or internship (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $4,350
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Santiago), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project or internship, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
- All homestays (five weeks in Santiago, two weeks in Buenos Aires, and one week with an indigenous family of Mapuche descent)
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.
Estimated Additional Costs:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Visa Expenses: $200
Books & Supplies: $ 75
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.
If you choose to complete an internship during the last four weeks of this program you will be placed with a local organization to gain work experience related to the program’s theme and to develop professional skills you can use in your career. SIT internships are hands-on and reflective. In addition to completing the internship, you will submit a paper about your learning experience on the job and analyzing an issue important to the organization you worked with. You may also design a socially responsible solution to a problem identified by the organization.
Interning in Chile or Buenos Aires
SIT partner institutions in Chile and Argentina are well-known in the fields of education, politics, and economics. They include social and community organizations, teachers’ unions, universities, schools, and others. During your internship, you will do work assigned to you by the organization. You will also investigate problems the organization faces and possible solutions to them. Each institution will designate a mentor to guide your work so that your internship is relevant to the mission and vision of the organization and to the context and needs of the country.
Topics and placements vary according to need and availability at our partner institutions, but examples of internships include:
- Supporting school administration, students’ movements, gender studies, public health, and human rights at a public school in Buenos Aires, a public school in the Municipal Department of Education in Santiago, or a private school in Fundación Súmate
- Learning pedagogy, school administration, and the relationships between school and community at a public school in Valparaíso
- Providing intercultural bilingual education and promoting intercultural health at a private school in Chol Chol or a public school in Chapod, both in Mapuche territory
- Supporting human rights and historical memory at Agrupación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos
- Focusing on economy, social welfare, and industrialization of natural resources at Cenda, an alternative development study center
- Training, teaching, and learning educational demands at Colegio de Profesores de Chile, a teachers’ union
- Assisting university administration and learning the demands of higher education at Alberto Hurtado University