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Participating cities from North to South

(Map of cities in IFMSA-Chile)

Languages Spanish, English
Currency (how much is a Bigmac?) Chilean Peso or CLP (Big Mac: 2.000 CLP ($4 or €3.1)
Time zone Winter time: GMT -4 / Summer time: GMT -3
Number of Doctors and beds per 1000 people 1,09 Doctors and 2,4 beds per 1000 people
Member of IFMSA since... 2003
Number of incoming students per year 330 (250 SCOPE & 80 SCORE)
Who are our NEOs 2014 (Heads of SCOPE) Eugenia Ossandón (Outgoings)
Felipe Cid (Incomings)
Who are our NOREs 2014 (Heads of SCORE) Consuelo Miranda (Outgoings)
Javiera Chávez (Incomings)
Our official website / Forum / Facebook group
Come for exchange!


Welcome Note

Satellite image of Chile
Satellite image of Chile
Chungará Lake and Llamas in the Andean Plateau (Altiplano), 4,517 metres over the sea
Chungará Lake and Llamas in the Andean Plateau (Altiplano), 4,517 metres over the sea
Atacama desert, the driest desert of the world
Atacama desert, the driest desert of the world
El Tatio Geysers
El Tatio Geysers
Atacama Salt Flat
Atacama Salt Flat
Astronomical observatories, Chile can be considered the astronomy capital of the world (by 2018 it will contain 70% of the global infrastructure)
Astronomical observatories, Chile can be considered the astronomy capital of the world (by 2018 it will contain 70% of the global infrastructure)
La Serena's lighthouse
La Serena's lighthouse
Third Millenium Cross
Third Millenium Cross
Elqui Valley
Elqui Valley
Moais at Easter Island
Moais at Easter Island
Viña del Mar's Flower Clock
Viña del Mar's Flower Clock
Viña del Mar's beach
Viña del Mar's beach
Overview of Valparaíso
Overview of Valparaíso
Overwiew of Santiago de Chile
Overwiew of Santiago de Chile
"El Colorado" Ski Center
"El Colorado" Ski Center
Your future aerial view when crossing the Andes mountains, the second highest range of mountains in the world
Your future aerial view when crossing the Andes mountains, the second highest range of mountains in the world
Medicine Arc in Concepción
Medicine Arc in Concepción
Salto del Laja
Salto del Laja
Conguillio National Park
Conguillio National Park
Puerto Montt
Puerto Montt
Petrohué Waterfalls
Petrohué Waterfalls
Carretera Austral
Carretera Austral
Ancud at Chiloé island
Ancud at Chiloé island
Torres del Paine National Park at Chilean Pagatonia
Torres del Paine National Park at Chilean Pagatonia
San Rafael Glacier at Northern Patagonian Ice Field
San Rafael Glacier at Northern Patagonian Ice Field
Pío XI Glacier at Southern Patagonian Ice Field,  the largest in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica
Pío XI Glacier at Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the largest in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica
Skyline of Punta Arenas
Skyline of Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas main square
Punta Arenas main square
Magellanic Penguins at Seno Otway
Magellanic Penguins at Seno Otway
Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego
Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. In the other side of the river (to the north) is Argentina
Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. In the other side of the river (to the north) is Argentina

Hello future exchange student!!! We are more than pleased to welcome you in Chile. Here we have a structured Organization that will help you althrought your exchange period. The clerkships are very well organized with really great tutors and we have an extremely good "Social Program" (that's what really sets us apart), so you better be ready for your BEST month abroad.


First to all, Chile is a country in South America placed in a long and narrow coastal strip wedged between the Andes mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage and Antarctica at the country's southernmost tip. With a coastline that stretches over 6,435 kilometres, Chilean territory extends to the Pacific Ocean which includes the overseas territories of Juan Fernández Islands (including Robinson Crusoe island) and the Easter Island located in Polynesia, among others.

Chile's unusual ribbon-like shape — 4,300 kilometres (2,700 mi) long and on average 175 kilometres (109 mi) wide — has given it a varied climates, ranging from the driest desert of the world —Atacama Desert— to the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the center, to a snow-prone Alpine climate in the south -Torres del Paine-, with glaciers, lakes and the Tierra del Fuego or Land of Fire. The relatively small central area dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources. This area also is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century, when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. The northern Chilean desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper and the southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.

Useful links about Chile

Why choose Chile in the Latin American context

Currently, Chile is one of the Latin American's most stable, prosperous and secure nations. Within the greater Latin American context it leads in terms of human development, gross domestic product per capita (at market prices and purchasing power parity), competitiveness, quality of life, political stability, globalization, economic freedom, low perception of corruption and comparatively low poverty rates and one of the highest security level, mesured by the Global Peace Index (GPI). It also ranks high regionally in freedom of the press and democratic development. Chile is the only South American country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Chile along with Uruguay are the only Latin American countries considered as high-income economies (but yet developing countries). Finally, Chile is the only Latin American country included in the Visa Waiver Program of the United States, so Chilean do not need a VISA to get in that country.

That's why too many exchange student choose us for a professional/research exchange, do a lot of tourism to the north/central/south of the country and some of them (and once they fit in the Latin American lifestyle) use Chile as a platform to visit many hot turistic spots in South America like Argentina (Buenos Aires), Perú (Cusco), Brasil (Rio de Janeiro), Bolivia (Salar de Uyuni) etc...,

Our health care system

The health care system in Chile is divided in two. In one hand you have the private service manage by the ISAPRES and public Service manage by FONASA (National Health Fund). More than 70% of the population is affiliated to the Public System. In the past years the Goverment has worked really hard in increasing the coverage of the Publich Health System which turn out in the creation of the called GES (Explicit Health Guarantees). The GES system is based in the the asurement of the diagnosis and treathment of the high morbility/mortality disease ranking from Hypertension to several kind of cancers. This means if a person is affected with one of this common diseases the treatment and the follow up are for free. Right now the goverment is working in increasing the number of diseases that are include in the new System. Even if you have ISAPRE you get the coverage for the GES. In Chile is mandatory to be part of a Health System, either public or private. If you have a salary is mandatory to pay the 7% of it, if you are affiliated to the private one you can pay the 7% for the basic plan coverage or more if you want to get more insurance. Homeless people are on FONASA and they get health attention for free. The patients of the public system suposed to be attend first in the "Consultorios" if is an emergency the can get attention in the "SAPU" and then they are sent to the Hospital where they can get a more specific treatment.

Our medical education

After finishing high school, all the Chilean students who want to continue studing in a University have to take a national test which is called PSU (University Selection test). And considering you score in the PSU and ones grades in the high school you may apply to each University in Chile (publich or private). We have a lot of faculties where you may study Medicine in the country. They are 26 in total and 14 are SCOPE active for incomings. In Chile we have Public and Private Universities in both you have to pay but the prices are differents; in a public one you pay around 3.500-6.000 Eur per year meanwhile in a private one you pay over 7.000 Eur per year. There are just a few students who have full scholarships and most of them ask for loans to the goverment or private banks. Medicine is the longest career to study in the country, it takes 7 years to get your Medical Degree diploma. The first 2 years are most theorical and since the 3rd year you start to go everyday to the Hospital. Most in the mornings and in the afternoon we still have theorical classes. This goes on until the 5th year. In the 3rd year you study Semiology. Then the 4th and 5th year we have internal medicine, surgery, gynaeocolgy, pedriatrics, ophtalmology, dermatology, OTN medicine, legal medicine, etc. The last 2 years, 6th and 7th, you work as an intern which include night shifts. In this last 2 years you has to pass in the differents Departments of the Hospital but the ones that take longer are Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics&Gynaeocology and Pediatrics. By the end of 7th year you have to take the National Medical test of knoweldge in Medicice to practice as a Doctor, when you do that, then you have different choices; you cmay work as a General Practioner, work in rural areas and gain points to get your residency paid by the Ministry of Health, or go with your grades, National Medical Exam scores, published work to a National Ranking Competion and choice the residency you can sign acording to your ranking.

QS Ranking of Latin American Universities

4 Chilean Universities in the TOP 10

  • #2 : Universidad Católica de Chile
  • #4 : Universidad de Chile
  • #9 : Universidad de Concepción
  • #10: Universidad de Santiago de Chile

And 30 in the top 250 Universities in Latin America, which has place it as the country with the highest "Top Universities per millions inhabitans ratio" in Latin America.

  • #1 : Chile (1,72)
  • #2 : Colombia (0,72)
  • #3 : Argentina (0,63)
  • #4 : Mexico (0,40)
  • #5 : Brazil (0,33)

Local & National transportation

In Santiago the Mass Trasportation is easy to get use to it. The Transantiago is the name of the Transportation System in the capital. It works combined with buses and the subway. The subway lines covers up most of the city but still remain a lot of residential areas where it doesn't reach up yet. But most of downtown and other areas are pretty well cover. The Metro in Santiago works really efficiently and is really fast and pretty much safe. It has 5 lines and by the end of 2009 and 2010 will cover more Districts of the capital. The bus system was changed just a few years ago and is getting better every time. The City is divided in differents areas and each area get a different color bus which drives around. There're also "Troncales" which takes from further points of the city. To get into the Trasportation System you must use a Bip! card which you charge with money and allows you to travel either in bus, metro or combined. You just pay once and you get 1 hour a half ticket to use metro, bus or both. Upon your arrival to Santiago the SCOPE team will provide you with the BIP card and a initial charge. Unfortunately you can't get the students' price because it takes a long time to get the Students' National Card and a month exchange is not enough. The other cities aren't as big as Santiago and the only one which has Subways is Viña del Mar which shares the line with Vaparaíso and other neighbors towns. In the regions you can ride buses which takes from one point to another is not that hard to get use to it and is not necessary to have the BIP card. Buses are the quickest form of public transport in Chile. Unlike Europe, train services are scarse and the journey take 2-3 times longer than by bus.

Santiago de Chile is a capital with more than 6 millions inhabitants so the distance from one point to another might vary.

The cities in the Regions tend to be small so the distances among differents points shouldn't be longer than 40 minutes by bus. The only cities where there is Metro is Santiago and Valparaíso-Viña del Mar.

by Bus

It is widely spread in the country the usage of buses to move between cities. Generally speaking we may say they are safe, fast and confortable. Here we drop a few bus lines operating in Chile, where you can check the prices and frecuencies (1 USD = 500 CLP).

by Plane

About how you get in the country, by plain would be the tipical option. Almost all the internacional flight arrive to Santiago Airport (SCL) and then make a stopover to another plain directly to your final destination (unless you choose to be in Santiago de Chile). If you are placed in Valparaíso - Viña del Mar or Talca, first you have to get in Santiago de Chile and after take a bus to your final destination.

  • Antofagasta: Andrés Sabella Gálvez Nacional Airport (ANF)
  • La Serena: La Florida Airport (LSC)
  • Santiago de Chile: Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL)
  • Concepción: Carriel Sur International Airport (CCP)
  • Valdivia: Pichoy Airport (ZAL)
  • Puerto Montt: El Tepual International Airport (PMC)

Here in Chile we have some airlines for domestic flights, they are really convenient at the time of looking for a good price:

Air lines operating in Santiago de Chile: Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Aeroméxico, LACSA, Copa Airlines, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Austral Líneas Aereas, TAM Linhas Aéreas, Avianca, TACA, Iberia LAE, Air France, Qantas Airlines. Soon: BQB Líneas Aereas, Alitalia, Turkish Airlines and British Airways.

Regular direct flights from/to:

  • Argentina (Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza, Rio Gallegos and Ushuaia)
  • Australia (Sydney)
  • Bolivia (La Paz and Santa Cruz)
  • Brasil (Rio de Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia and Sao Paulo)
  • Canada (Toronto)
  • Colombia (Bogota)
  • Costa Rica (San Jose)
  • Dominican Republic (Punta Cana)
  • Ecuador (Guayaquil and Quito)
  • Falkland islands/Islas Malvinas (Port Stanley/Puerto Argentino)
  • France (Paris)
  • Germany (Frankfurt)
  • Mexico (Cancun and Mexico city)
  • New Zealand (Auckland)
  • Panama (Panama city)
  • Paraguay (Asuncion)
  • Peru (Arequipa and Lima)
  • Spain (Madrid)
  • Tahiti (Papeete)
  • United States (Atlanta, Dallas/Ft.Worth, Los Ángeles, Miami and New york)
  • Uruguay (Montevideo)
  • Venezuela (Caracas)

Also there are flights to Eastern Islands which is considered as a Internacional destination because even if it is Chilean territory it is really far away.


Chile is a long country so the weather varies a lot from north to south but no matter how hard you try, you'll never find any tropical weather. Remember Chile is in the south hemisphere so we have the opposite seasons if you come from any country over the Ecuador. This mean if you're from Europe and you come here in July, it will be the middle of the winter and if you come in January, we're in the middle of summer (October - Spring and April - Fall). In Chile you can tell the change of every season. The summers are really hot and dry and winter is cold and it rains a lot. This might vary from north to south. In northern Regions the weather is milder and it doesn't get that cold and it doesn't rain that much during our winter months, specially in Antofagasta where never rains and there is a lot of sun. Although it gets quite cold specially during the nights. If you plan to travel to Atacama Desert which is up north is really cold during nights reaching temperature below 0°C even in summer. In the center of the country the weather is according to each season, in summer is really hot and dry with temperatures over 30°C and at night around 15-20°C. In winter instead is cold and rainy. In the mornings the temperature could be below 0° and during the day is rare to be over 15°C. It raind a lot, but you can have some sun also. Remember if you plan to do your exchange in Santiago de Chile, it is really near to the best ski resort, therefore be ready, Eventhough is close to the Andes is really weird to snow in Santiago de Chile, it does every 10 year or more. The south is colder in winter and you can get some snow if you plan to go really south. In winter it rains more often than Santiago and is clouder.

Cultural differences

Chilean identity is something to be discovered and experienced by visitors. You will no doubt observe distinct differences between the hurried residents of the big cities and the inhabitants of the valleys, coasts and mountains, where the pace of life is calmer and time seems to pass more slowly. Generally speaking, the people of Chile are friendly, open to foreign visitors (despite the fact that only 10% of them speak English with relative fluency), and have a strong sense of identity linked to rural Chile.

Chileans speak Spanish rapidly, often dropping the last letters of words including the plural-denoting "s". The vernacular includes a series of slang terms and invented words that is always evolving and reveals a healthy dose of humor and mischief. Visitors may feel a bit lost at first, but the locals are more than happy to explain the nuances of the Chilean idioms.

Accommodation & Boarding

The accommodation and boarding for exchange students are at Host Families. This will increase your cultural experience as a exchangee because it gives you the opportunity to realized how the Chileans actually live. Normally you will have your own bedroom or probably you might share it with another exchange student or someone of your Host family. At least 1 mail per day will be provided. Sometimes students don't study where they actually are from so they rent an apartment. In this case you might live just with one student or probably with other ones. The normal chilean family is with 4-5 members but also you will find families with more. We always try to place the incomings students near where they will attend their clerkships but sometimes is not possible.

Note: Contrariwise to other countries who work with students' hostels/residences as a acommodation to the incoming students, to find a host family to each exchange student requires a really hard and coordinate work of the National Exchange Team so you have to be aware that the details about your host family will be only provide once we recieve the Card of Confirmation and it could be given with a significant delay (even 1 week before your arrival). But don't worry, we never fail.

Social program!

The Social Program is a serie of activities organized to the incomings students of a particular month that aims in let them know more about Chile but also give them a good chance to know each other (between exchangees). This should be an important point to be considered when the to choose a country as a destination, because you won't be alone and on your own, you will be with a lot of other foreign students trying to fit in the local people and with company this process is easier.

We are happy to tell you that here we have a really organized Social Program for all the exchange students (professional and research). It has regular activities althrought the year (every month), and some special activities depending the month. Even if there are many Universities in a same city (Santiago de Chile and Concepción), we get them all together each weekend to have more fun.

The social program depends on which you were place, but the tipical are:

  • City Tour
  • International Dinner
  • trip to a close touristic city
  • Ski Centers in winter months (june-july-august)

Beside all the educational experience you will have in your clerkship you will enjoy all the magic of our country, because Chile is All Ways Surprising!!

Social life

Chile offers a great social life!! If you come during our winter or summer months, the social program is fully arranged. We like that all the students meet each others at the beginning of their month abroad. Usually there is an international dinner party, which all the incomings students prepare the typical dish from their country and also they bring the typical drink. We like to arrange ski trips during the winter, so everyone can enjoy the breathtaking landscapes of the Andes. In chile is common to go out at night usually on Fridays and Saturdays. The parties start later than in most countries, around 12:00-1:00 the people start going out and usually they last until 5:00. We like to take the incomings out, so they experience the Chilean nightlife. We'll be expecting you and prepapre yourself to be full of energy to enjoy our country and its people.

Skiing in the Andes

During the winter season, between the months of June and September, there are many option of practicing ski in Chile. There are 18 Ski Centers distributed between the Central Valley (Santiago de Chile) and southern Chile (Punta Arenas). The slopes of the Andes Mountains offer variety: quality hotels, a diversity of quality ski runs, equipment rental facilities, good restaurants, and warm cafeterias. Within what is available, there are very sophisticated winter centers that offer helicopter flights to land on mountaintops so experienced skiers can descend through virgin snow. Other centers offer snowmobile rides and open air hot springs under the falling snow.

Traditional skiers and snowboarders occupy an important position in the winter activities offered. Currently almost all centers have slopes that are exclusively snowboard use, with modern snow parks where DJs play music live to a backdrop of beautiful views of faraway valleys.

Even without skis or poles, the white-capped mountains under the sun is a reason enough to visit. And every summer, mountain centers are opened for horseback riding, trekking, spelunking expeditions, or biking.

[Map of Ski Centers in Chile]

Close to Valparaíso, Viña del Mar and Santiago de Chile

Close to Concepción

Close to Temuco

Close to Puerto Montt

Close to Punta Arenas

Tourist destinations in northern Chile

Tourist destinations in central Chile

Tourist destinations in southern Chile

Cities for Professional and Research Exchange

Map of the cities from North to South (Map of cities in IFMSA-Chile)


Antofagasta is a coastal city in the north of Chile where beautiful rock formations by the beaches are their main tourist attractions. The worlds largest telescope is being built in mount Paranal 200 km South of Antofagasta. This is the area with the clearest skies of the world, where only 20 days out of the year is there a cloud in the sky.

Coquimbo/La Serena

If you want a nice rest on a perfect beach, this is the place to go. The well named Pacific (meaning peaceful) Ocean waters are warm and ready to receive tourists from all over the world. Close to La Serena, there are beautiful valleys where the world famous Chilean grapes are grown.

Valparaíso/Viña del Mar

Located in the coast of the "Central" Chile, Valparaíso (which also includes Viña del Mar) offers a Mediterranean climate and Matorral vegetation. Coast range and Andes separates to the south, fertile intermediate depression.

Santiago de Chile

With a population of about 5 million people Santiago is the largest and most important city in Chile. Santiago has a modern subway system that make getting around this big city a lot easier. Find out what Santiago Chile has to offer.


Concepción area has a population of over 1,000,000. Concepción is near a sea port and not too many kilometers from the ocean. A flight to Concepción from Santiago is reasonably priced and takes a little more than an hour to get there. In Concepción you can find a nice place to stay, check out the city for a day or two and then rent a car and go on day trips, to the ocean, the national park, and the many other outside activities.


Temuco is said by many to be the gateway to the lake district. Rent a car here and take off for the lakes. Spend some time on the beaches, fishing, hiking in the woods, rafting and more


Located in the "Southern" Chile, Valdivia offers a Temperate oceanic climate and Valdivian vegetation. Coast range and Andes are low, intermediate depression near sea level. Glacial lakes, intensive volcanic and geothermal activity.

Puerto Montt

Puerto Montt is situated on the Bay of Puerto Montt. Puerto Montt is protected on the west side by the Island of Tenglo. You can cross from the main land to the island in a row boat for about 50 cents. On the Island you can hike to the cross at the top of the hill and see the deep blue bay, the city of Puerto Montt and several beautiful snow covered volcanos. You can take a boat ride through the Tenglo Canal which lies between the island and the main land. Puerto Montt is the beginning point to many of the cruises that take you to southern Chile. Puerto Montt is a good place to base yourself when in this part of Chile

Punta Arenas (Tours/ Torres de Paine, Glaciers, Penguins, Farm visits and more)

A city located at the southern end of South America, one of the few places in the world where you can snow ski while looking at the ocean. It is right beside the Magellan Strait where most ships use to travel before the Panama Cannel was constructed

Exchange Conditions

Exchange Conditions for Professional Exchange (SCOPE)

Exchange Conditions for Research Exchange (SCORE)

Departments available for Professional Exchange (SCOPE)

You may check them in our Professional Exchange Conditions webpage but we would like to clarify that we do not offer Tropical Medicine, because we do not have Tropical diseases because Chile is not a Tropical country!

Projects for Research Exchange (SCORE)

Link IFMSA Research Exchange Projects database in IFMSA-Chile]

Chilean slangs

  • Al lote = careless, untidy; too casual
  • Al tiro = Right away; immediately
  • Atinar = To react in the correct manner to a sitation. Suitable, appropriate.
  • Barsa = A guy who tries to take advantage of situations
  • Cachar (cachai?) = to understand (you get it?)
  • Cacho = a problem; a dificult person or situation
  • Caleta = A lot
  • Carabineros = Police
  • Carrete/carretear = party/to party
  • Chalas = sandals
  • Chato = fed up
  • Chela = beer
  • Chueco = crooked; not straight; dishonest
  • Copete = Alcoholic drink (usually piscola or beer)
  • Copucha = a piece of gossip
  • Cuico = rich snob
  • De repente = Sometimes
  • Embarrarla = Screw it up
  • Engrupir = to smooth talk
  • Filo = Nevermind
  • Flaite = Refers to people of lower classes, sometimes derogatory
  • Fome = Boring, lame
  • Guagua = Baby
  • Guata = belly, stomach
  • Harto = A lot
  • Jote/Jotear = Guy constantly trying to hit on girls/to hit on a girl
  • Lata/dar lata = Boring; Not wanting to do something
  • Lanza = a thief that snatches someones purse, necklace or cellphone from its owner
  • Luca = one thousand pesos CLP$1000
  • Meter la pata = to put your foot in your mouth; to stuff something up
  • Mula = fake; false
  • Onda = "Deal", "story"
  • Paco = carabinero (policemen)
  • Pagar el pato = to pay the consequences
  • Palta = Avocado
  • Pega = Work
  • Pelar = To gossip
  • Penca = Sucky
  • Pendejo = Child
  • Pilucho = naked
  • Piscola = pisco with coke
  • Plata = money
  • Po' = From "pues". Chileans tack this on to the end of almost every sentence. Sometimes it's reduced to just p' so, "sí" can be "sip"
  • Pololo/Polola = boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Poto = bum
  • Pucho = a cigarrette
  • Sapo = a noisy person
  • Taco = traffic jam
  • Tener mala pata = to be unlucky; to have bad luck
  • Trago = to drink
  • Tranqui = calm (down); don't worry
  • Weón = Familiar term among friends (very informal/vulgar); can also be used with a negative connotation (sort of like "idiot")
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