Chile is a South American country with a strategic location, West of the continental divide of the Andes Mountains. The government system is a republic, and the chief of state and head of government is the president. The economy is open and market-oriented and is based on the export of minerals, which account for about half of the total value of exports. The country’s population is approximately 17.8 million (2014 est.), comprising 89 per cent of non-indigenous and 10 per cent indigenous people. The official language is Spanish.
Over the past 10 years, Chile has been one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies. Growth has slowed down since 2014 as the global commodity boom came to an end (especially lower imports from China) and domestic demand decreased, affecting both investments and consumption. However, government spending growth continues, with GDP forecast to increase 2.2% in 2016 and 2.8% in 2017. Inflation increased 4.4% in 2014 and 2015 following several interest rate cuts, but in 2016 it is expected to get lower due to a tightening in the monetary policy.
Last year, the finance minister Rodrigo Valdes told lawmakers that the outlook for every economic indicator forecasted by the Chilean government has deteriorated, which means that the economy will grow more slowly than forecasted and the fiscal deficit will be wider than expected. However, economic growth is estimated to recover steadily as private-sector opportunities improve, gradually increasing growth to a forecasted rate of 3.1% in 2017.
In recent decades, Chile has shown steady improvement in the quality of and access to education – the educational system has a set goal that all students should finish secondary education once enrolled and is proficient in securing transition to tertiary education. A report, part of the OECD’s Better Policies series, states that the Chilean government has taken measures to further improve the quality and equity of the school system, and to carry out reforms in order to increase the fairness of the tax code and raise revenues for higher spending on education.
Although education standards at university level are often very good, the quality of education for the population as a whole leaves much to be desired. This fact, combined with the growing investment in higher education has led to an increase in the number of outbound students pursuing a degree from a foreign institution. In 2013 the number of students abroad was 8,937, and the outbound mobility is continuing to rise.
Student Mobility Trends
Students abroad in 2013: 8,937
Top destination countries:
- USA (2,248)
- Spain (1,316)
- France (743)
- UK (656)
- Australia (627)
- Germany (604)
- Brazil (371)
- Italy (342)
- Cuba (299)
- Canada (237)
International Education Cooperation Agreements
- USA: numerous cooperation programmes, including English language, exchanges, Fullbright fellowships and more
- Canada: various joint research programmes, collaboration and student/academic exchange agreements and memorandums of understanding
- Australia: under the Go8 Agreement Chilean students are able to enter masters, PhDs, postdoctoral, English and teacher training programmes
- Germany: direct cooperation between HE institutions with great focus on science and technology research projects
- South Korea: memorandum of understanding for research projects, postdoctoral mobility and undergraduate programmes
The scheme is part of a long-term initiative, financed by the Ministry of Education, with the objective to boost the economic, social and cultural progress of the country. It also strives to promote international cooperation and increase opportunities for training abroad in the professional and technical fields.
The programme provides financial support for international enrolment of Chilean students and is divided into the following three types:
- improvement of technical skills – specialisations in technical careers for seniors and professionals coming from the public or private sectors and/or academia
- education grants – for education professionals belonging to municipal and subsidized schools and student teachers who are in their junior or senior year of teaching English in Chilean universities. Students must apply for a university that has an agreement with the institution where they are studying at the moment of applying for the scholarship.
- postgraduate scholarships – they are valid for all areas of study, regardless of the sector (public or private) where they have been obtained. The financial support is intended for PhDs, masters degrees, postdoctorates (for those who already have the academic degree of doctor), doctoral internships, joint PhD programmes and medical subspecialties. For more information, check the official website.
Scholarships offered by other countries:
The organisation of American States has among its top priorities to promote and increase educational opportunities in the Western Hemisphere. The scholarships granted by the regular programme are intended for master’s degrees, PhDs and graduate research and are available to all students from the OAS Member States. They should apply and secure themselves a place at institutions across South and Central America, Canada and USA.
This is a very peculiar opportunity, granted by the Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad and available exclusively to young Japanese descendants, aged between 18 and 35. Applicants should be interested in promoting development of relationships between Japan and their country of residence and also engage in volunteering and social activities. Japanese language knowledge is required for attending lectures and general communication and if students would like to improve it, they have the opportunity to take lessons for 6 months to one year. The scholarship includes all areas of study and covers flights, tuition, course materials, life and travelling expenses and medical insurance.
New Zealand Development Scholarship
The New Zealand Aid Programme provides scholarships for postgraduates from several Latin American countries with preference to the following disciplines: agriculture development and renewable energy. Applicants should be no younger than 18 years old and must return to their home country for a minimum of two years after competing the degree. The types of courses funded are postgraduate certificates (6 months), postgraduate diplomas (1 year) and master’s degrees (1-2 years).
- Religion: Roman Catholics (89%), Protestant (11%)
- Divorce was illegal until 2004
- Lunch is usually the biggest meal of the day and dinner is light, like teatime with sandwiches
- Chileans avoid saying “no” and prefer “maybe” or “sure”
- Always use surnames and titles – wait to be invited to use someone’s first name.
- Chileans are very warm and expect visitors to reciprocate. They may be formal at first, but move to friendship very quickly.
- Chile has a relationship-driven culture so initial meetings should be used to build a relationship and establish trust. Devote time to non-business discussions and wait for the other party to initiate the change in topic.
- Decisions are not made at meetings so it is important to provide all necessary information during the meeting.
- While timescales and deadlines need to be set well in advance and reiterated carefully, it should be understood that these will be viewed as flexible. Successful cross-cultural management may require some degree of patience.
- It is good to have a wide range of contacts. Knowing the right person could sometimes help to save some time. Interpersonal relationships, including loyalty to family and friends, are essential to success in all areas.
Student Recruitment Tips
63% of Chilean students have the primary objective of getting quality education. Therefore, in order for an institution to be appealing to Chilean candidates, it should emphasise on reputation and excellent facilities by communicating with them in a formal way – through admissions representatives or professors. They also view the experience of current students as the most influential factor in choosing a country to study abroad so using testimonials, photos or videos to reflect moments from university life would be an appropriate way to engagement. Another good point to accentuate when presenting your institution is English academic excellence, given that 60% of surveyed adolescents have it as a primary aim to pursue in their future development.