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IPD Public Health in Chile 2012 - A Northwestern study abroad experience
by Natalie Holman, Kyle Kim, and Esther Kwak

IPD Public Health in Chile 2013 - Alyssa Villacres Reflects on Her Clinical Observations
by Aidan Hoie

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Karey Fuhs
Assistant Director, IPD Study Abroad
(847) 467-6953

Schedule Appointment

-Not open to non-NU students-

Location: Santiago, Chile
Institution: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, IES Abroad
Term: Summer Quarter (2014 Program Dates: June 23 - August 17)
Application Deadline: March 1, 2014
Fellowship Application Deadline: February 1, 2014
Language Prerequisite: None - all classes are taught in English
Academic Interests: Global Health, Pre-Med, Social Policy, Research, Cultural History, Spanish language


The Public Health in Chile program examines the current conditions of the Chilean health system and contemporary issues in public health through seminars, lectures, and hands-on public health projects. The program, including the Spanish and History & Culture courses, is administered by IES Abroad, while public health lectures, site visits, and projects are led by faculty at Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, a leading research institution. Organized excursions to historical sites in and around Santiago expose students to the various periods in Chilean history. Past excursions have included visits to Villa Grimaldi and the Museum of Memory; Ruca Mapuche, an indigenous community; and Isla Negra, the home of Pablo Neruda. Program courses are taught in English, but students will also be required to take intensive Spanish language classes.


Founded in 1888, Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Chile, or PUC, is one of Latin America’s most distinguished universities and Chile's highest-ranking university, specializing in engineering, political science, agricultural sciences, theology, arts, literature, and history.

IPD works with IES Abroad, a third-party study abroad provider, to administer and coordinate the Public Health in Chile program. Students will travel to the IES Abroad Center in downtown Santiago for classes and other activities.


Students on the Public Health in Chile program live with homestay families, where they are provided breakfast and dinner seven days a week, as well as packed lunches.


Students on this program will receive transcripts from IES Abroad, and courses will appear as transfer credit on their Northwestern transcripts. Students may petition for courses to count toward major, minor, or distribution requirements.

Public Health in Chile Seminar (1 credit)
This seminar consists of a series of lectures intended to provide a global vision of the Chilean health care system and the main issues and challenges associated with research related to health care and public health. Possible topics include: the health insurance system, childhood nutrition, maternal health, primary care, and mental health.

Public Health Project (1 credit)
Students will participate in a public health project while in Chile. Depending on students’ backgrounds and interests, students can select among three project tracks: 1) community health experiences at Educación Popular en Salud (EPES); 2) clinical observations; and 3) supervised research at Pontificia Universidad Católica. Project areas may include: HIV/AIDS, maternal health, nutrition, and geriatric care.

History and Culture of Chile (1 credit)
This course provides a general introduction to Chilean history and culture as a basis for understanding contemporary Chile. Lectures will offer a theoretical context, while field trips will provide direct encounters with Chilean history and culture. Past excursions have included visits to such sites as Isla Negra, La Moneda Palace, Villa Grimaldi, and various cultural museums.

Spanish Language (1 credit)
Four levels of Spanish classes will be offered, and students will take a placement test to determine their level. Emphasis will be placed on speaking and developing good conversational skills. All classes are entirely in Spanish. There is no language prerequisite to participate in the program.


Vina del Mar & Valparaiso
Students will travel to the Chilean coast to visit the sister cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso and experience the unique artistic and cultural legacies of these communities.

Ruca Mapuche
Students will visit the community of the Mapuche, an indigenous group in Chile with a distinct culture and language, in order to learn about the influence of modernization on the Mapuche lifestyle.

Museum of Memory & Villa Grimaldi
To contextualize the recent political history of Chile, students will visit this historical museum that highlights the atrocities committed by the military dictator Augusto Pinochet during his brutally repressive regime of the 1970s and '80s. Students will also visit Villa Grimaldi, a building complex that was a place of interrogation and torture of political prisoners by the Chilean secret police during the mid seventies. The complex has since been turned into a park and a memorial site.

Cementerio General de Santiago
As one of the largest cemeteries in Latin America, Cementerio General is a breathtaking place to visit. The grounds are filled with centuries old mausoleums and lush plants and trees. Many famous Chileans are buried here, including all but two of the deceased presidents of Chile. There is also a memorial with the names of all of the people who went missing during the Pinochet regime.

Isla Negra and the Neruda Museum
Students will visit la Isla Negra where the poet Pablo Neruda, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, once lived. At the museum dedicated to Neruda's life and work, they will learn about Chile's rich literary and cultural traditions.


Summer 2014 Program Fee= $7,200, which includes tuition, program-related excursions, housing, meals, and HTH Worldwide health insurance. Students should also budget about $1,600 for international airfare, $1,010 for fees, and approximately $2,600 for books and discretionary expenses, including additional meals, non-program transportation, personal travel, and incidentals.

Students applying to this program may be eligible for IPD Study Abroad Fellowships and for external funding opportunities. Students participating in this program are subject to Withdrawal Policies for Northwestern-Sponsored Programs.

For more information about billing, finances, and financial aid for study abroad, please refer to the Money Matters resource page of the Study Abroad Office website or contact Krista Buda Bethel in the Financial Aid Office.