Healthcare and Education in Rural Chile

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Program Dates: Sunday, January 7 – Saturday, January 20, 2018*
*Students should arrive by the afternoon of January 6th, and depart in the evening on January 20th.

Application Deadline: Monday, October 9, 2017 at 11:59 PM

The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) Regional Office invites Harvard students to participate in the January 2018 program, DRCLAS- Universidad Mayor January Experiential Learning Program: Healthcare and Education in Rural Chile. This program is intended for Harvard undergraduate students interested in improving their Spanish language skills, while engaging in public service in rural indigenous communities. The program is limited to 14 undergraduate students with a minimum of an intermediate level of Spanish (at least two semesters of Spanish at Harvard or their equivalent).

Students who participate in this innovative program will experience full linguistic, social, and cultural immersion by working alongside 150 Chilean university students from Universidad Mayor (U.M.) from various fields, including medicine, dentistry, veterinary, and education. The DRCLAS Regional Office and U.M. have worked together to create a program that includes an intensive orientation in Santiago, 10 days of public service in a rural setting in the south of Chile, and a closing session in the capital city. Program activities include: workshops on healthcare and prevention given to the community, house visits to patients with limited access to healthcare, teaching English classes to elementary school students, and physiotherapy sessions, among others. Cultural and touristic excursions to surrounding areas (Pucón and Villarica) are also scheduled.

Program: Upon their arrival, students will be greeted in the capital city of Santiago by DRCLAS staff and will receive an orientation to the city and Chilean culture. After two days in Santiago, students will travel to Puerto Saavedra. This is a small town with an indigenous presence and community, and is located in the IX Region, about 400 miles south of Santiago.

One of the main purposes of the program is to provide underserved rural and indigenous communities with health services. Students serve a rural community for several days, living and working with Chilean university students. During their time in the community, students will be fully integrated into U. Mayor's Trabajos Voluntarios (public service projects), and will have the opportunity to rotate specialties on a daily basis, according to their interests. Some of the areas in which students can volunteer include holistic medicine, dentistry, education, agriculture, veterinary care, and construction, among others. After a full-day of community service, students will have the opportunity to spend their evenings participating in recreational activities with U.M. students that include sports games, team-building activities, talent shows and cook-offs. 

Activities throughout the duration of the program will be entirely in Spanish, resulting in a full immersion into the Spanish language, as well as Chilean society and culture. Participants will leave with an understanding of how health providers work in a setting with limited resources, and become aware of health disparities within different sectors of society.

To review the presentation from the Chile Info Session, please click here.

For photographs of the 2016 January Program, please click here.

Application Deadline: Monday, October 9, 2017 at 11:59 PM

• Harvard College students will apply using CARAT (Centralized Application for Research and Travel). The application is named David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies January Programs Application 2017. Click here for detailed instructions on how to apply through CARAT.

The following information is required in the application:
• Relevant personal statement (500-750 words)
• Current one-page resume
• Unofficial transcript
• Name/Contact Information of one Harvard Community Member who will serve as a reference (Example: TF, advisor, professor, etc.)

In addition, students will be asked to sign-up for a Skype interview during the week of October 16, 2017. Interviews will be conducted in Spanish. Sign-up here after you have submitted your application. 

Questions? Please contact Pilo Mella, Student Programs Manager.


Eligibility: This program is intended for Harvard College students with intermediate level of Spanish and an interest in the field of health. This program is held in a rural setting, participants must have an open mind and willingness to adapt to change.

The program is limited to 15 undergraduate students with a minimum of an intermediate level of Spanish (at least two semesters of Spanish at Harvard or their equivalent).

Program Cost: $2,200 (Accommodations, cultural excursions and some meals included. International airfare not included).

Cancellation Policy: A fee of $250 will be applied for participant cancellation after November 17, 2017. No exceptions will be made.

For additional information, please contact the DRCLAS Regional Office staff in Santiago, Chile: 
Pilo Mella, Student Programs Manager

For photographs of the 2016 January Program, please click here.

January 2017
Cameron Comrie
Ioana Dobre
Justin Fox
Marley Jenkins
Jessica Kim
Sufia Mehmood
Francesca Noelette
January 2016
Mikaela Esquivel
Edgar Garcia
Minyoung Jang
William Li
Emily Moya
Alannah O´Brien
Jasmin Salazar
Madeleine Stern
Arin Stowman
Jenna Zhang

January 2015
Alberto Corona
Alvin Gordian-Arroyo
Anthony Morgan
Bushra Guenoun
Caroline Ferguson
Cindy Zhao
Eleni Kovatsis
Emma Muresianu
Frances Ding
Jessica Li
Kaelyn Cummins
Lisette Candia
Noemi Urquiza

January 2014
Aisha Lee
Anne Mentzinger
Bernadette Wharton
Chinonye Imo
Christopher Rios
Jessie Wyatt
Jesus Moran
Neng Thao
Sarah Rose
Symone Isaac- Wilkins
Terresa Eun
Yael Stovetzky

January 2013
Aditi Hota
Akua Abu
Anthony Jason Wiggins
Aubrey Walker
Grayson Fuller
Julia Cohn
Leila Pirbay
Nicholas Gavin
Serena Hagerty
Sydney Karnovsky
Tanmaya Sambare
Valerie Bradley

January 2012
Madeline Holland
Micaela Cyr
Nora Abo-Sido


Getting Comfortable in Chile

On the ten-hour flight to Santiago, Chile, I flipped through my Spanish 30 notebook in a last-minute endeavor to review as much Spanish as possible. Up until that moment, I had never traveled internationally by myself, never been to South America, and never embarked on a journey in which I had honestly no idea what to expect.... Read more about Getting Comfortable in Chile

Trading Seasons, Part 2

Though Santiago is home to roughly one-third of Chile’s population, there’s a lot more to the country than just its capital. Thankfully, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies program—which has brought me to Chile—has also allowed us to experience the cultural and natural beauty of other parts of the country, in addition to those offered by Santiago.... Read more about Trading Seasons, Part 2