For many years, PUC has hosted significant numbers of Notre Dame undergraduates completing semester abroad in a robust and immersive program. Each year, approximately 40-45 students take part in the program. Noted among study abroad programs for its excellence in facilitating student immersion, the program begins with a three-week immersion prior to the academic semester. Organized and led by Cecilia Espinoza, Maryknoll lay missionary, the pre-program includes intensive Spanish classes, cultural activities and field trips and situates students in a rural setting, living with local families.
During their semester of study at PUC in Santiago, all students live with Chilean families and take up to five classes, all taught in Spanish. Students learn alongside PUC students in three of their classes. Particular to their program of studies, Notre Dame students enroll in a Spanish class, as well as the course “Politics and Society,” designed especially for them. Many students choose to enroll in the course “Poverty and Development” at Universidad Alberto Hurtado. Including a significant service component, the course facilitates students’ experience of the socioeconomic differences in Chilean society. The study-abroad program staff provide permanent support to the students and continue to develop the service, learning, research, and internship opportunities for all Notre Dame students in Chile.