Lonely Planet: Preposterously thin and unreasonably long, Chile stretches from the belly of South America to its foot, reaching from the driest desert on earth to vast southern glacial fields. Diverse landscapes unfurl over a 4300km stretch: parched dunes, fertile valleys, volcanoes, ancient forests, massive glaciers and fjords. There's wonder in every detail and nature on a symphonic scale. 

In Chile, adventure is what happes on the way to having an adventure. Pedal the chunky gravel of the Carretera Austral and end up sharing ferries with SUVs and oxcarts, taking a wrong turn and and finding heaven in an anonymous orchard.

Santiago Chile for web


Partner universities

Santiago, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

PUC Chile website


  • Language of instruction: Spanish
  • Number of students enrolled: 27,000
  • Number of campuses: 5
  • Academic year: August - July
  • Autumn semester equivalent: August - December
  • Spring semester equivalent: March - July


Founded in 1888, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) is considered to be one of the most important universities in Chile with four of its main campuses situated in Santiago. Located in the country's central valley and one campus based in Villarrica, located in southern Chile. The San Joaquin campus is PUC's largest campus with 63 buildings and 10 faculties.

PUC does quite a lot to make exchange students feel welcome, hosting a special exchange orientation with information about the city and about CAUC, the society that organises activities aimed at international students.

There is a wide range of programs available with the added possibility to take special courses for international students about Chilean culture and identity. There is also the option to take part in an intensive Spanish course before the semester starts. The campuses themselves are quite varied; orientation will be held at Casa Central campus, right in the city centre, but most arts and humanities courses will take place at Campus San Joaquín, about half an hour south of the city centre. This campus is much more modern but has stunning views of the Andes on your journey into university, and also has lots of really cheap restaurants and cafes on campus. There are lots of facilities you’ll be able to use, such as computer rooms, libraries, courts, gym, cafeteria and shops.

Areas of study include the arts, sciences, architecture, business, law, humanities, social sciences, engineering and mathematics.

Learning Style

The style of learning varies to that of the UK. Typically there are a lot of in class tests every week or two with the material you have been learning. This is a good way to ensure you are up to date with the material and spreads the work out over the semester. This also means exams tended to be lighter as most the credits have been covered across the semester. It is graded 1-7 with 4 being a pass.

There is more participation and discussion from students than there is the UK, but there is a really welcoming environment. Lecturers are generally aware of who the international students are in their classes class and are willing to help.


  • 4 hour flight to São Paulo, Brazil
  • 12 hour flight to Mexico City, Mexico
  • 5 hour drive to Mendoza, Argentina

Santiago is situated at the base of the Andes
Mountains and the coast, cities Vina del Mar and Valparaiso are less than two hours away by bus. It is a cosmopolitan city containing numerous libraries, museums, public parks restaurants and night clubs, its location also offers opportunities such as hiking, mountain biking, surfing and swimming.  The Lonely Planet guide lists some of its top attractions including: Museo de la Moda, La Chascona, Central Gabriela Mistral, Cerro San Cristobal.


Due to its coastal location, Chile's weather can be very varied and unpredictable. The coldest months are from June to August with lows of around 3ºC on average and about 7 days of rainfall each month. The hottest months are from December to March with highs of around 30ºC on average and one or two days of rain each month. Daylight hours are longest from December to January with 10 to 11 hours light each day, May to July sees the least amount of daylight with around 4 hours each day.


Travel opportunities

From the driest desert to the deepest ice glacier in the world Chile has a lot to offer in terms of travel. Chile offers a mixture of urbal and rural activities, the Mediterranean climate allows you the opportunity to enjoy outdoor life including visiting historical landmarks and beautiful landscapes, such as Atacama Desert, The Andes and The Lakes District

You can ski in the Andres frim mid june until mid October, the resort of Valle Nevado is just 35 miles outside of Santiago.

Atacama is also one of the world’s foremost stargazing centres, with three major international observatories taking advantage of its clean air and huge night skies.

Patagonia is one of the most beautiful places in the world with towering snow capped mountains and a multitude of lakes varying in many colours. You can go penguin spotting, hike the famous W-treck, and kayak through glaciers.

Top destinations: Museo Gustavo Le Paige and La Sabastiana, Rano Kau and Orongo Ceremonial Village.

According to the Lonely Planet guide, 'Chile is an easy country to get around, with frequent bus and air connections'. Buses are 'frequent, comfortable and reasonably priced'.

Lonely Planet: Chile


Finance 2019/20

Bursaries available:

  • Santander scholarships for Latin America exchanges: 5 scholarships of £1,000 each for students who will be studying for 3-12 months in Chile. If you are selected to study abroad at Chile, you will be sent further details of the Santander scheme and how to apply for it.
  • Global Travel Bursary (means-tested): £750 dependent on household income for students beginning their studies 2016. Students who started their studies before 2016 should see the finance webpage, as the award criteria differs (available to students class as Home Students for fees purposes and accepted to study abroad as part of the University-wide exchange programme).

Approximate living costs per semester:

  • Return flight from UK (av. 18 hours): £800-1300
  • Visa costs: £383 approx.
  • Health insurance: £300+
  • PUC administration fee: £240
  • Furnished Apartment: USD 3500 – USD 3700
  • Host family (all expenses included): USD 2500 – USD 3000
  • Travel insurance: approx 94p per day, dependant on personal circumstances (taken from STA insurance estimate)

Approximate living costs compiled from external sources and the partner university website.

The basic cost of living in Chile, including local and national public transportation, is much lower than that of the UK.

More on living costs


PUC does not offer student accommodation and is unable to arrange accommodation on behalf of students. Students must apply for accommodation independently. PUC provides links to a range of independent accommodation providers on their webpage, however the accommodation options are not affiliated with PUC.

Accommodation information

Application success rate

Percentage of students placed out of total applications to the partner (1st, 2nd and 3rd choice options):

2017/18 = 75%
2018/19 = 100%

Module information

PUC Chile exchange information


Office of Global Engagement

C Floor, YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus, Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB, UK

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5247
f: +44 (0) 115 951 5155
e: Email the Study Abroad team