Chile is a very popular destination in South America due to the excellent quality of its academic institutions and the large number universities to choose from. The country is known for its beautiful landscapes and high quality of life.
Chile has a great climate due the extreme length of the territory. The Andes mountain range is another fundamental factor in the weather as it is in charge of regulating the passage of air masses from Argentina and the ocean winds from the Pacific. The Ocean also has a great effect on Chilean climate
The capital, Santiago de Chile, is the biggest city with a population of about 5 million. This predominantly catholic country runs a presidential system of government and use the Peso as its currency. 1 USD is about 664 CLP
Reasons to Study in Chile
- The quality of its educational institutions is among the best in Latin America
- It is the most developed country in South America
- It is very safe and its roads are rated as the best in Latin America
- Its territory is very diverse and has incredible landscapes: both beach and mountain
- The number of international students coming to study in Chile is increasing yearly
Cost of living
Life in Chile is expensive by Latin American standards but cheap compared to the United States and European countries. Basic food, services and public transportation are quite cheap, but university and housing are relatively more expensive.
A modest monthly living budget, including food, transport and rent, can range from approximately US$700 to US$1,100 on a more generous allowance.
However, as in all countries, this depends on each specific case and the city in which you live. Santiago de Chile, the capital, is the most expensive.
Cost of some specific items
Coca Cola (0.33L) 1.14 USD
1 liter of milk 1.12 USD
Fresh white bread (500g 1.07 USD
12 eggs€ 2.47 USD
Water (1.5L) 1.28 USD
1 liter of petrol 1.14 USD
Mobile rate (price / min) 0.17 USD
Internet rate (monthly) 36.61 USD
Potatoes (1kg) 1.08 USD
White Rice (1kg) 1.31 USD
Tomatoes (1kg) 1.37 USD
Bananas (1kg) 1.09 USD
Onions (1kg) 1.17 USD
Red meat (1kg) 9.49 USD
Accommodation for students
Chile offers great accommodation for all types of budgets. Foreign students can choose to live in a university residence, rent a room in a shared flat or take a studio or flat for themselves. The choice of one type or another of accommodation usually depends on the student’s financial resources and lifestyle.
Since it is a very important decision, it is advisable to begin the search for accommodation in advance and patiently. A good place to get information about the most suitable place to live is to ask the International Relations Office of the university.
In Chile almost all universities have their own student residences, which are within or very close to the campus. The rooms are furnished and are usually shared by two or more students of the same sex.
This is an excellent option for young people who have never lived outside their home and want to meet people and integrate quickly in the university environment.
To get a place in a student residence you can contact the Office of International Relations of your university in Chile, as they usually have places reserved for foreign students.
This accommodation option has the advantage of giving you greater independence and privacy, but it is also more expensive, especially if you want a flat for yourself. The most common thing is to share it with other students to spread the expenses.
The rooms may be furnished or unfurnished. The latter are cheaper and more numerous and the duration of the contract is negotiated with the owner of the property.
When signing the contract make sure that common expenses such as water, Internet, electricity and gas are included in the rent or you must pay them separately. Keep in mind that in this type of accommodation it is also usual to ask for a deposit that is returned at the end of the contract.
Tuition and Scholarships
Chile receives more than 26,000 foreign students each year attracted by the excellent quality of its academic institutions and the high standard of living in the country. The flow of international students has increased considerably in recent years and universities are very accustomed to having foreign students, so you will feel quickly integrated.
Chilean university enrollments are quite expensive, so a very important part of preparing your trip is to calculate how you are going to pay for your stay and studies in Chile. On the average though, students in private and public universities pay around USD5,500 per year.
Medical students though should expect to pay around USD6,300 per year while science students in courses like Engineering, mathematics, and technology pay on average about USD 5,900 per year
The Chilean government, through the Agency for International Cooperation for Development of Chile (AGCID), offers several scholarship programs for citizens of Latin America, the Caribbean and some countries of South Africa to study postgraduate degrees in the country.
The grants cover the maintenance, school supplies, medical insurance and university tuition.
Students from countries that are part of the Organization of American States (OAS) also have the possibility to apply for OAS scholarships for postgraduate studies.
International students need to take out medical insurance to be able to be cared for, both in the public and private universities.
It is likely that when you enroll in a Chilean university you have to present health insurance, so it is recommended you get it in your country.
Before traveling to Chile you must also pass a medical examination and obtain a certificate stating that you are in good health.
For more information on the Chilean health system you can visit the website of the Ministry of Health.
Less than 90 days stay
Those students who are going to stay in Chile less than 90 days do not need to apply for a student visa to access the country.
If they come from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru or Uruguay, they only need a national identity document to enter Chile. No visa is required.
Citizens of the European Union, the United States, Canada and other countries with which the Chilean government has agreements also do not need a visa to enter Chile, they can do it simply with a valid passport.
In the website of the Department of Immigration and Migration you can find a link to the list of countries exempt from visa. Citizens of countries with which Chile has no agreement must apply for a tourist visa to get into the country.
Stay up to 90 days or more
All foreign students who are going to stay more than 90 days in Chile must apply for a student visa. To do this you must go to a consulate of Chile in your country and present the following documents:
- Visa application form
- Letter of admission in the university
- Three passport photos
- Evidence of of enough funds
- Police report
The steps to obtain the visa can last for about a month, so you will have to request it in advance, but not too much because you have 90 days to enter the country once you receive it.
Visas have a maximum duration of one year but you can renew it without problem if your studies last longer.
When you arrive in Chile you have 30 days to register your visa at the International Police office and request a national identity card for foreigners.
If you would like more information about student visas, you can consult the Chilean government website Chile Atiende.
The language of instruction is Spanish and it is necessary to master it to be admitted to the programs, although some universities also offer courses in English.
Travel resources for new students
To facilitate the arrival to the international students, there are several websites with abundant information on education in Chile. These are the most important.
Foreign students have two different ways to enroll in Chilean universities.
The first option is to undergo the same admission process as the Chilean students, which is determined by the results of a test called University Selection Test (PSU). Each university select students based on their PSU score and secondary school performance.
The PSU takes place between November and December and in order to do it you have to register online several months in advance.
This admission process is followed in all public universities and some private universities. The others usually use their own tests to select their new students.
Special admission system
The second option that foreign students can use is the so-called special admission system, which is aimed at people who have completed two or more years of secondary education abroad and is different in each university.
To know the deadlines, exams and documents required you must consult the website of the university in which you want to enroll.
Top 10 Universities in Chile
Universidad de Chile, Santiago
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago
Universidad de Concepción, Concepcion
Universidad Tecnológica de Chile, Santiago
Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Santiago
Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Valparaiso
Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago
Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaiso
Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia