Saint Joseph's University is proud to have an exchange partnership with the Universidad Alberto Hurtado (UAH), a Jesuit University located in the heart of downtown Santiago, Chile. Founded in the early 1990s, UAH is named after a Jesuit who is well known throughout the country for his work with the poor. UAH is committed to continuing his vision concerning human rights, ethical issues and service, in addition to academic excellence.
There are approximately 6,400 undergraduates and several hundred graduate students currently at UAH. In general, the number of exchange students each quarter ranges from 30-50 from all over the world. The campus has a very intimate and friendly environment (class sizes are typically 12-25 students), and exchange students will especially feel at home with the support of an on-site coordinator.
Chile has a stable government and a strong economy, and is generally considered to be the safest country in South America. Santiago, the capital of Chile, is a modern, cosmopolitan city of six million people in the foothills of the Andes. As Chile is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are the opposite of what Philadelphia students are accustomed to. (Warm in January and cold in the summer!)
Students who have not yet achieved Spanish fluency will begin the semester with a three-week, three-credit intensive Spanish course. Students who arrive in January for the spring semester will then have a month off in February to travel or enjoy Santiago before beginning the regular University classes in early March.
For the remainder of the semester, exchange students at UAH are able to choose courses in the following "facultades" (departments):
All courses are taught in Spanish.
- Ciencias Sociales (Social Sciences)
- Derecho (Law)
- Economía y Negocios (Economics and Business)
- Educación (Education)
- Filosofía y Humanidades (Philosophy and Humanities)
- Psicología (Psychology)
To find the list of courses offered in each department, go to the UAH website
and click on the specific department title. On the right hand side of the page, you can click on the box that says "Malla Curricular. " This will give you the outline of courses for that specific major within the department. It is important to remember that "Semester 2" corresponds to our fall term and "Semester 1" corresponds to our spring. Some courses have already been approved for SJU credit and can be found by clicking "Pre-Approved Courses" at the top of this page.
We strongly encourage all SJU students attending this program to participate in the "Poverty and Development in Latin America" course. This six-credit service learning course has a practical component where students work with a Chilean school, neighborhood center, or social service agency. Per the pre-approved list, this course has been approved to count for both Theology elective credit and Sociology credit. However, students who wish to earn Spanish credit instead can request approval from Dr. Elaine Shenk in the Foreign Languages Department.
Spotlight On: "Poverty and Development" Service Learning Course
Elizabeth Sohmer, Fall 2014, Major: Leadership, Ethics and Organizational Sustainability (LEO) Minors: Latin American Studies & Faith-Justice Studies
When and where was your service abroad?
I went abroad the fall semester of 2014 to Santiago, Chile. I left a month early in July to complete an intensive Spanish course to prepare us for the semester. I did service with one of my courses throughout the entire semester. My service placement was in a lower-income area of the city and it was at an after school program for children, no matter their background (it was called ‘centro abierto,’ or open center.)
What was your service-learning course?
My course was called Poverty and Development and was a sociology and theology course focused on understanding the social problems that face Chile historically and currently, and ways to improve situations of poverty.
What made you decide to participate in service learning while abroad?
Doing service abroad was always a priority for me. Being involved in service at SJU, it is something I am passionate about and helps you understand a community by entering it, rather than studying about it from a book. I chose my study abroad program based on the availability of a service program.
What did a typical day of service look like for you?
On Wednesdays, I would leave my university around 1 pm with my Belgian friend, Zoe to get to Santa Adriana Centro Abierto by 2 pm. We would then meet with another friend from the U.S. who did not attend our Chilean university. By the time we were there, it was recess for the children so we would play games outside with the children and talk to them, getting to know them better. Sometimes we would lead basic English lessons in the form of songs and also focus on finishing homework for that week. Later on in the semester I focused on an older group of students tutoring them in English, with their homework for that week. We acted as assistants to the teachers and formed relationships with the children that we would come back to see each week.
What did you most enjoy doing during your placement?
After becoming acclimated to the center, having the children recognize me and be so open to having me be a part of their day was one of the best parts. It was not always easy being there because it exists in an area of the city that was much different from where I lived with my host family, and seeing the effects it had on the children such as violence, language and behavior. When I finally became comfortable with the kids, it was incredible to feel the amount of love they could give to someone who was a stranger from a different country.
What were some of the benefits and challenges of doing service while abroad?
I was very challenged at my placement from the very beginning. Having a language barrier was among the toughest, yet the cultural difference was there as well. I felt overwhelmed at a site with many children that I couldn’t just use my voice or authority to calm down because I would either forget how to say something or it was difficult for them to listen. As I created a relationship with them, it was easier to communicate and share amongst us a force of kinship. It took a long time to reach this point because frustration and exhaustion would push me away from continuing to try but eventually I was able to form relationships that gave me more patience and understanding while working with the children at Santa Adriana.
Students are housed with carefully selected local families for the duration of the program, arranged through . The homestay option includes three meals a day and laundry service. It is important to note that homestay placements are located throughout the city of Santiago. Some students may have a 15 minute walk to campus while others will need to take the metro. Therefore, students should budget for commuting expenses.
The academic calendar is quite different from a semester at Saint Joseph's University. The fall semester begins in early July with a welcome breakfast and orientation program. Students then complete the three-week intensive Spanish program before starting regular University classes in early August. The semester ends in early December.
Spring semester students will arrive in mid January for orientation, take three weeks of Spanish immersion classes followed by an opportunity to travel throughout South America during the month of February. Students will then begin the regular Universidad Alberto Hurtado semester in early March. They will depart Chile after final exams at the beginning of July.
Students should consult the Budget Sheets at the top of this page for estimated program costs. In addition, before choosing to study abroad in another country for anywhere from three to six months, you should consider the exchange rate
of your host country as well as the cost of living
in the city where you will be.
Center for International Programs Study Abroad Grant
Please apply for this program before applying for the CIP Study Abroad Grant (due October 15th or March 15th). Use the 'Featured Program
' Search to apply to this grant.
Charles F. Shreiner ('50) Scholarship for Study Abroad in Latin America
The Charles F. Shreiner ('50) Fund for Latin American Studies is the gift of several generous alumni of Latin American Studies at Saint Joseph's University. Thanks to this endowment, the Latin American Studies Program can now offer 3 partial scholarships of $600 each to SJU students to support study in Latin America in Fall 2017. This might be in the form of a study tour, semester abroad, or internship abroad. Preference will given to SJU study tours to Latin America that are approved Latin American Studies courses. More information about eligibility requirements and the application process can be found HERE
. Applications are due March 15th.
Things to Remember Before Applying
- You must meet with a CIP advisor before beginning your application.
- Review the SJU Study Abroad Policy here.
- This program requires a separate application that will be provided to you through the CIP on-line application.
- If approved by the CIP, you will be required to submit a $300 Confirmation Deposit WITHIN 10 DAYS of receiving your approval notice.