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Chile: Spanish Language and Chilean Culture at ECELA Santiago (Winter)
Santiago, Chile (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Winter
Program Dates & Deadlines: Click here to view
Fact Sheet:
SUNY code: 1064
Program Description:

Spanish Language and Chilean Culture at ECELA Santiago (Winter) 

Chile cover


Program Information

UAlbany’s study abroad program with the ECELA Spanish Language School gives students the chance to experience rapid advancement in Spanish abilities while experiencing first-hand the Chilean culture in and around Santiago. As an intensive immersion course (Spanish classes within a "Spanish everywhere" environment), the program's goal is to give you several semesters worth of Spanish skill enhancement in only a few months. In addition to the 20 hour per week language course, you can also participate in cultural activities such as cooking classes, salsa dance lessons, Cinema Latino, and folklore shows.
Santiago, Chile has recently become a popular tourist destination.  During the week you can appreciate its cosmopolitan sophistication and thriving arts and cultural scenes.  On the weekend you can head east into the Andes mountains trails or west to the Pacific coast surf.    The city's modern metro system makes it easy to explore the many distinctive barrios.
The school in Santiago is in a converted classic mansion in a residential area close to downtown.  It's a comfortable building in a quiet location, but you'll still be within a short walk to dozens of restaurants and cafes - great for people-watching while doing your homework.
ECELA is dedicated to helping students get closer to Spanish fluency even if they are not "naturals" at picking up foreign languages. The 50/50 ratio of grammar and conversation, taught in separate sessions, ensures you of balanced progress. The extra small classes (capped at only 8 students) are intimate enough that you will comfortably join the discussion, even if you normally resist raising your hand. Finally, the "demanding yet understanding" teachers and staff push you to do the necessary work so you will vastly improve your Spanish.
ECELA schools attract students from many walks of life. They come from 42+ countries and have an array of personal and professional interests. You’ll bond with them in your classes, in the refreshment breaks in between them, and in our many social and cultural activities after them. For many of our students, forming a new set of very diverse relationships is a real treasure and an unexpected highlight. While you may come to ECELA alone, you are quickly plugged into an instant social life.


Our program is open to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors with a 2.5 GPA.

Program Video:



1The best way to master a language is with native, college certified teachers using a proven curriculum in a small class environment. Classes at ECELA are capped at 8 students per instructor allowing students to have individual attention resulting in dramatic language skill improvement within a short window of time. Students can participate as a total beginner or with many years of speaking the language.

The program offers daily scheduled activities in and around Santiago. Participating in these activities is an excellent way to practice your new language skills in a fun and exciting environment.

Weekend trips are also offered where you can discover Chile's fantastic landscapes and outdoor sports. Historical landmarks and experiencing the arts and culture that make Chile so unique are integral parts of this program.

Students choose to take either a Spanish language class or a Chilean Culture and History class (offered in Spanish) during the 3 week wintersession for a total of 3 credits. 
Other elective courses (i.e.- Medical Spanish, Business Spanish, Legal Spanish, and Spanish Composition) may also be available for an extra fee- please contact for more information.  Full course descriptions can be found in the ECELA course catalog (listed below).

Course Descriptions:

Please click here to see ECELA's course catalog: 2
ECELA Course Catalog for SUNY Albany.pdf

Elective Course Equivalents for UAlbany students:

Programa de Cultura y Historia de Chile:
International Perspectives GenED + ASPN 317
Language Course Equivalents for UAlbany Spanish Credit:
1. Students who complete Beginning level 1 = ASPN 100
2. Students who complete Beginning level 2 = ASPN 010
    [does not count towards Spanish minor]
3. Students who complete either intermediate level= ASPN 101
    [counts towards Spanish minor, may come in as 010 if student already has 101]
4. Students who complete either advanced level = ASPN 103
    [counts towards Spanish minor, may come in as 010 if student already has 103]

Credits from the host university will be converted to SUNY credits as follows:
1 SUNY credit per every 15 hours completed
48 hours = 3 credits
64 hours = 4 credits

Grades from the host university will be converted to SUNY grades as follows:
100%  - 93% = A
90 - 92% = A-
87 - 89% = B+
83 - 86% = B
80 - 82% = B-
77 - 79% = C+
73 - 76% = C
70 - 72% = C-
67 - 69% = D+
63 - 66% = D
60 - 62% = D- 
59 - 1% = E

General Education Information for UAlbany students: credits earned on this program will automatically satisfy the International Perspectives requirement. Three credits of foreign language study will satisfy the Foreign Language requirement. No additional approval is required for you to earn these General Education credits.

Support Services

4Our program in Chile offers support at every step of the way. The program director and staff assist students with any concerns or questions they may have throughout their stay. Faculty and/or staff will accompany the students on all activities and outings and provide superb assistance to students throughout their stay.  The staff will also arrange excursions for students, some of which are included in the cost of the program.  More info on these excursions will be given to students by the staff at ECELA. 

Living with a host family also provides an additional layer of support. A local host family assists our students with learning the best ways to get around the city, what regional cuisine to try, what sites to visit in the city and beyond, and how to find the best deals in Santiago.

The staff at the University at Albany's Study Abroad Office also provides support to students wishing to participate on this program. We will assist students during the application process, in their preparation to travel abroad and once they are in Chile if necessary. 

Trips and Excursions:
The activities included in the cost of the semester-length program include: a welcome BBQ with Cueca dancing, a Santiago city tour, a wine tour at the Concha y Toro winery, a “Volunteer Day,” a cooking class, and a weekend beach trip to Viña del Mar and Valparaiso.  These activities are included in the cost of the program.  Other activities (dance classes, rafting, bike tour, etc…) are also available for an extra fee.


6Housing is provided with local Chilean families. Living with a family is one of the most effective ways to improve language skills and learn about the local culture. All of the families are warm and welcoming and experienced at making students feel at home within their house. All host families are located within an easy commute to the school and are in a safe and lovely neighborhood.

The families are chosen with the utmost care and go through extensive screening and training before being accepted as host families for our students. Their passion in educating our students about their language and culture goes above and beyond many other language and culture programs found elsewhere. The families make every attempt to accept our students as part of their "Chilean family" during their stay in Santiago and after.


Please click the link for the most up to date cost estimate for our option in Chile: 
ECELA (All Locations) - WI 1516.pdf

Click here for more information on Program Costs and Financial Aid


Student Testimonials:
Curious about what other students have to say about their experience at ECELA's school in Santiago?  Click here to view testimonials from past participants.
Top Activities and Excursions in Santiago:
Note: only some of these activities and excursions are included in the cost of the program with UAlbany.  More information on this will be included in your acceptance packet. 
City Tour– See Santiago’s most important sites and learn more of the history, culture, and politics, from Colonial times to the return of democracy.
Wine Tasting – Sample several different Chilean wines with matching appetizers.
Cooking Classes – Learn to prepare typical Chilean plates such as ceviche, carne mechada, cancato y cazuela.
Cueca – Learn the traditional Chilean dance, often with a live band.
Cabalgatas  -  Spend an afternoon in the Andes mountains horseback riding followed by a Chilean “asado”.
Viña del Mar / Valparaiso –  City tour of UNESCO site, Valparaiso, plus a boat tour of the harbor and a typical Chilean seafood lunch.
Pomaire / Isla Negra – Pomaire’s artisanal zone and traditional food, plus a stop at Pablo Neruda’s eclectic house at Isla Negra.

In Pictures: Santiago, Chile

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter 2015-2016 10/20/2015 ** Rolling Admission 12/28/2015 01/15/2016

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.