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New arrival of international students strengthens interculturality within a global campus

At present, we have received around 181 international students from 17 different countries for this second semester.

This past Monday and Wednesday, the university’s official activities were carried out for the exchange students that will join our classrooms this second semester of 2019. These activities offered guidance and advice on how to make the most out of their stay. Students from countries like Germany, Mexico, Spain, Austria, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, France, Russia, Uruguay, Argentina, Japan, and others, came together in these intercultural activities.

Fernando Olmos Galleguillos, coordinator of Student Mobility for the Department of International and Inter-University Relations is in charge of leading these activities, “which are tied to the university’s internationalization objective, as these students are an overarching support for connecting with Chilean students and learning about different realities and intercultural experiences,” Fernando says. Thanks to exchange programs with prestigious universities around the world, between 2016 and 2019, the University saw an increase in its undergraduate foreign mobility students from 252 to 360. This past year alone, young people arrived from over 50 universities in 21 countries from Europe, North America and South America.

As part of the activities, they receive a warm welcome from the “USACH without borders” monitors, Chilean students who accompany international mobility students during their stay. “We want them to know us as peers, who are there to provide support, advice and, of course, to have a good time. Afterwards, we gave them a tour of the campus,” reports program coordinator, Eugenia Aedo.

Intercultural Exchange

The international students are excited about this new experience, and for many of them, it is their first time in Chile and at USACH. From Europe, German students, Eva Hirschberg and Laura Burkhardt of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, had already participated in exchange programs within their continent, but they wanted to learn about new cultures. “We did a semester at another university, and then we wanted to do the same, but outside Europe. We wanted to come to South America because it’s the unknown, different people, a different culture. We also wanted to improve our Spanish and visit Chile, and places like Valparaiso or Torres del Paine. 

On the other hand, students from the University of the Basque Country, Mikel Isusi, Lide Olaizola and Ainhoa Castresana, were surprised by USACH without Borders. “We really liked that the ‘buddies’ are prepared, and all of the information we have received regarding all of our questions. We've felt great support, and that's what motivated us to come here, because it’s a public university, and we knew classmates that had already come and highly recommended it to us.”

In terms of South America, most of the students come through the Association of Montevideo Group Universities (AUGM). Just last year, USACH received 37 students from these universities, highlighting among them one group of students that participated in research fellowships in our University’s graduate school programs. Santiago Villaraza and Araceli Buenar, both students from the National University of the Littoral, in Santa Fe, Argentina, were very excited, “we came here wanting to meet new people and experience the education system here in Chile, the culture, how they eat, study and what the classes are like her.” Representing Brazil, Felipe Paulino from the Federal University of Sao Carlos says, “the talks were very informative, and I'm more and more certain that this stay at USACH is going to be a great life experience for me.”