Founded in 1928, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso is considered one of the most prestigious institutions of Chilean higher education. PUCV is located in Valparaíso, seventy miles from the capital of Chile, Santiago. Frequent and efficient public transportation enables visitors and residents alike to travel to many cities in Chile and also other South American countries. Millersville University and PUCV formalized their academic partnership in 1999. MU’s Office of Global Education and PUCV’s PIIE (Programa Internacional de Intercambio Estudiantil) Office have developed a close and highly successful relationship based on extensive professional contact, personal familiarity, and the highly active MU-PUCV student and faculty exchange program.
Valparaíso is Chile's coastal door to the Pacific Ocean, the location of the Legislative Assembly and the capital of the Fifth Region. Valparaíso boasts hundreds of passageways and streets with countless bends and curves. Endless stairways traverse Valparaíso's 42 hills facing the sea. These hills are dotted with colorful houses that overlook and are met by the Pacific at their base. To live in and to visit Valparaíso is always exciting - not only because of its location and landscape but also because of its charm. Valparaíso enchants like few places can.
To watch a short video about PUCV and the Study Abroad Program, click here.
Students may choose to study abroad either for a semester or for a full academic year. The PUCV academic year begins in March and ends in December of the same year. Before classes begin, study abroad participants will have a one week orientation program in country.
Fall Semester (PUCV's second semester): Late-July to End of-December.
Spring Semester (PUCV's first semester):
Early-March to Mid-July.
Homestay accommodations, arranged by PUCV, are the norm. Viña del Mar, where all students live with host families, is located about a 10-15 minute micro or metro ride away from Valparaíso, where the university is located. Viña, as it is often called, is a thriving resort town that is popular with Chileans and international visitors alike in the summer months because of its beautiful beaches and modern attractions. Viña is well maintained and beautiful year round. Most local families (as opposed to visiting tourists) live in apartments rather than houses.
As part of the homestay, students will receive 3 meals a day and their own room with linens (sheets, pillows, comforter and towel). Laundry is done approximately once a week with the family's laundry. One exchange student will be assigned to each host family. Students will complete a host family application to help the PIIE Office match them with families to the best of its ability. However, ideal matches cannot be guaranteed.
Students are encouraged to be flexible in adjusting to their new host family as they will be incorporated into an existing family system. Most students are fully satisfied with their host families and form life-long friendships. However, the placement can be changed if a student should feel unsafe or uncomfortable in their assignment for any reason. If a student plans to live with the host family for any period of time before or after the dates of the official semester, an additional "per day" rate will be charged. Alternative housing can be arranged when necessary; however, it is not directly affiliated with the program. Therefore, Millersville University will assume no responsibility for alternate accommodation arrangements.
Your host family will become your second family. At times it may seem as though they are smothering you. This is partially because of their culture and partially because they really want to get to know who you are. Spend time with them and make an attempt to attend family functions that you are invited to. If you have any problems, they are there to help. Use them for emotional support as well as a learning experience to practice your Spanish and understand the culture better. My host family helped make my experience in Chile even better.
Some host families take the opportunity to practice their English with the exchange students and although initially it may seem convenient to you, it will hinder you from learning and practicing your Spanish. You may want to set parameters with your host family with regards to when you are okay using English.
The meals and the times you eat are different. You should expect a range of possibilities from regional specialties to family recipes. It is important to be flexible because the family can have different meal times. Breakfast can be very early, lunch can be midday or much later, and dinner may be light or just an evening snack. Try to adapt to this and enjoy it. Generally, they do not serve alcoholic beverages with meals.
Chilean food is excellent. Tell your host family when you don't like something.They will not be offended. Make a point of eating almuerzo with your family. It is an important part of the day that should be spent with the family.
PUCV semester courses are offered to full-time students, in a blended immersion format, in which international undergraduate students attend some classes with other exchange students and the remaining classes with their Chilean peers. All classes are taught in Spanish.
Students can take many of the regular PUCV courses according to their academic needs and their Spanish proficiency level. In addition, all MU program participants are required to take as part of their academic load a 6 credit Chilean Communication and Culture class offered by the PIEE Office for exchange students. Students also have the option to take one additional Spanish Writing or Grammar class through the PIIE Office but no more than 9 credits total are permitted to be taken through PIIE. A minimum of 3 credits MUST be taken at the regular university and all students must be registered for at least 12 credits for the term.
During orientation at PUCV, students will be given a Spanish proficiency test (written and oral) to assess their current level. They will then be placed into beginner, intermediate or advanced levels for the PIIE classes only. The “regular” classes are full immersion and will be taught as if all class members are native speakers.
Exchange participants will create their academic schedules with their Chilean orientation leader during orientation week. It is important to arrive at PUCV with as many class options as possible because classes are spread out in university buildings over the greater Valparaíso area and students may not have enough time to go to different course locations between classes if they are in more distant parts of the city. However, the drop/add period at PUCV is approximately one month long, affording the students greater flexibility in ensuring they are taking appropriate classes.
To find a list of course offerings and descriptions, please refer to Global Education's step by step guide: PUCV Course Selection Guide
. Courses are broken down by faculty and semester. Students who will study abroad during the fall semester should look at Semester 2 (or 4, 6, 8) classes at PUCV, and students going in the spring semester should look at Semester 1 (or 3, 5, 7) classes, due to differences in the academic calendar.
The Spanish classes offered by the international office are very beneficial. The international office in Chile will provide help in choosing other regular courses at the University. If your Spanish level is lower, try to take basic courses with other exchange students to help you. Don't be shy, ask Chileans in your class to help you. They are always more than happy to help Americans. Classes are laid back and usually don’t require textbooks. Student participation is common. Be on time. Make sure the teacher knows who you are and that you are an exchange student so (s) he knows to be patient. Please note that Chilean professors do not have official office hours and it is not as convenient to contact a professor there as it is here.
|6.75 to 7.0
|6.25 to 6.74
|5.75 to 6.24
|5.25 to 5.74
|4.75 to 5.24
|4.25 to 4.75
Class schedules can appear chaotic to the U.S. student. The first week of class meetings will be irregular (check with the International Office); courses with varying credits may not last for the entire duration of the semester and classes will not meet during frequent official holidays. The drop/add period extends for several weeks at PUCV (check with the International Office for the exact period). Use this flexibility as an opportunity to determine the exact classes that will work well for you. Also, it is possible that some classes may be held in different buildings and different cities so take into account travel time when scheduling your classes. Computer access at the university is very limited but internet cafes can be found in many locations in Viña and Valparaíso at extremely affordable prices. You will not need to purchase any books for your classes, however; you will need to pay for photocopies of the learning materials.
PUCV Summer Program
Same as general study abroad (no Spanish language proficiency required)
Types of Classes Offered:
Beg./Int./Adv. Spanish Language, Chilean Conversation and Culture, Sociopolitical History of Latin America, Literature and Cinema. Also included are select organized excursions