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ECELA Spanish Language School in Santiago (Semester)

  • Santiago, Chile
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Study abroad in Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city. Surround yourself with 19th Century architecture mixed with modern towers surrounded by the beautiful Andes Mountains in the background. Art, theater, museums and plenty of restaurants and night life make Santiago a vibrant city to immerse yourself in South American culture. Remember to visit the Museum of Fine Arts and the Presidential Palace. Learn Spanish in this up-and-coming metropolis.

Application Deadline


Program Start


Program End


Partner University



  • Santiago

Program Term

  • Fall
  • Spring

Language of Instruction

  • English
  • Spanish

Internship Opportunity

  • Yes!

Program Details

Academic Program

The best way to master a language is with native, college certified teachers using a proven curriculum in a small class environment. Classes at ECELA are capped at 8 students per instructor allowing you to have individual attention resulting in dramatic language skill improvement within a short window of time. You can participate as a total beginner or with many years of speaking the language.

Course Descriptions and Syllabi

On the ECELA semester-length program, you can choose from the following:

  • Five Spanish language courses
  • Four Spanish language courses, One elective course
  • Three Spanish language courses, Two elective course

For elective courses, you can choose to take Culture and History of Chile or Foundations of Spanish and Latin America.

  • Culture and History of Chile: International Perspectives GenED + ASPN 317
  • Foundations of Spanish and Latin America: International Perspectives GenED + ASPN 316

Other elective courses (i.e. – Medical Spanish, Business Spanish, Legal Spanish, and Spanish Composition) may also be available for an extra fee.

Review Course Descriptions for more information regarding course offerings.

General Education Information for UAlbany Students

Credits earned on this program will automatically satisfy the International Perspectives requirement. Three credits of foreign language study will satisfy the Foreign Language requirement. No additional approval is required for you to earn these general elective credits.

Major/Minor Information for UAlbany Students

Courses may also satisfy major and minor requirements, upon approval by the department.


All courses taken abroad count towards UAlbany General Elective credits. Credits and grades will appear on your UAlbany transcript. You may file a request to have additional courses approved for equivalency as necessary. 


Housing is provided with local Chilean families. Living with a family is one of the most effective ways to improve language skills and learn about the local culture. All of the families are warm and welcoming and experienced at making you feel at home within their house. All host families are located within an easy commute to the school and are in a safe and lovely neighborhood.

In effort to provide you with the best, families are chosen with the utmost care and go through extensive screening and training before being accepted as host families. Their passion in educating you about their language and culture goes above and beyond many other language and culture programs found elsewhere. The families make every attempt to accept you as part of their “Chilean family” during your stay in Santiago and after.

Living with a host family also provides an additional layer of support. A local host family assist you with learning the best ways to get around the city, what regional cuisine to try, what sites to visit in the city and beyond, and how to get the best experience in Santiago.


You will be living in a homestay with a family. Many meals will be provided by the homestay. Get ready to eat amazing Chilean meals. You will also be able to eat out, if you want. Experience the foods around you and enjoy yourself.


Review this program’s Estimate of Costs.  Note, there may be several tabs in the Estimate of Costs. Please be sure that you are reviewing the tab for your anticipated semester abroad.

More Information

Click for more information on Program Costs and Financial Aid.

Remember to speak with the Office of Financial Aid at your home campus to determine how your aid package could apply towards your program abroad.

Academic Requirements

This program is open to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors with a 2.5 GPA. You do not have to have Spanish experience but taking at least one Spanish course prior to the program will help.

Experiential Learning

The program offers daily scheduled activities in and around Santiago. Participating in these activities is an excellent way to practice your new language skills in a fun and exciting environment. Activities and Excursions may include the following:


  • City Tour – See Santiago’s most important sites and learn more of the history, culture, and politics, from Colonial times to the return of democracy.
  • Wine Tasting – Sample several different Chilean wines with matching appetizers.
  • Cooking Classes – Learn to prepare typical Chilean plates such as ceviche, carne mechada, cancato y cazuela.
  • Cueca – Learn the traditional Chilean dance, often with a live band.


  • Cabalgatas – Spend an afternoon in the Andes mountains horseback riding followed by a Chilean “asado”.
  • Viña del Mar / Valparaiso – City tour of UNESCO site, Valparaiso, plus a boat tour of the harbor and a typical Chilean seafood lunch.
  • Pomaire / Isla Negra – Pomaire’s artisanal zone and traditional food, plus a stop at Pablo Neruda’s eclectic house at Isla Negra.

Internships may also be available at an extra cost. Here are some examples of internship areas: 

  • Marketing
  • Agencias de Publicidad (Advertisement)
  • Turismo (especialmente en una agencia de turismo, atención de público) 
  • Idiomas (Escuela de Idiomas) (Language schools)
  • Exportaciones (Exportations)
  • Productoras (Production)
  • Migraciones

Note: The details (length, credits awarded, etc) of the internships are determined during the application process. 

Most financial aid and academic awards will apply to semester programs.

External scholarships, listed on our website, are a good way to partially fund your study abroad experience. In addition, the Center for International Education and Global Strategy offers two scholarship programs for UAlbany students studying abroad on UAlbany or 4-year SUNY programs.

More information on applying to these scholarships is located on the Scholarships web page.

Program Advisor

Curry, Mark

About the City

Why learn Spanish in Santiago? With over 6 million residents, Santiago is the largest city in Chile, making it a central hub for a wide range of outdoor sports and activities. As Chile’s capital, it’s a great place to begin your travels and gain an understanding of the country’s culture. Plus, other parts of the region, such as Pomaire and Los Andes, are easily accessible for further exploration.

Santiago, Chile has recently become a popular tourist destination. During the week you can appreciate its cosmopolitan sophistication and thriving arts and cultural scenes.  On the weekend you can head east into the Andes mountains trails or west to the Pacific coast surf. The city’s modern metro system makes it easy to explore the many distinctive barrios.

ECELA’s “School Hopping” Option:

During the semester and summer length programs at ECELA, you have the option of dividing your time between ECELA’s many locations in Lima (Peru), Cusco (Peru), Mendoza (Argentina), Viña del Mar (Chile), and Santiago (Chile).  This is a great way to experience various other countries and cultures, while still being able to take your desired courses at other ECELA locations.

Please note that you will be responsible for the travel costs between locations, and you must notify ECELA and UAlbany of your intention to transfer at least two weeks in advance of your intended transfer date.  The basic costs of the program paid to UAlbany (consult the cost estimate listed above) will remain the same though, regardless of the locations that you choose.  If you are interested in the multi-location option with ECELA, please contact with your request. 

Travel Documents

A valid passport is required to participate in this program. A Tourist Card will be issued for a stay of up to 90 days. An extension of stay for another 90 days is possible upon payment of an extension fee at the Chilean Immigration Office. More information regarding the visa application process is available upon acceptance to the program.

Application Availability

Applications become available online one semester before the program start date, based on the following timeline:

  • Spring/Winter/Spring Break programs: July
  • Fall/Year/Summer programs: December

Program Dates

Fall 2020

08/10/2020 to 11/28/2020

Spring 2020

01/19/2020 to 05/09/2020

About the Program

UAlbany’s study abroad program with the ECELA Spanish Language School gives you the chance to experience rapid advancement in Spanish abilities while experiencing first-hand the Chilean culture in and around Santiago. As an intensive immersion course (Spanish classes within a “Spanish everywhere” environment), the program’s goal is to give you several semesters worth of Spanish skill enhancement in only a few months. In addition to the 20 hour per week language course, you can also participate in cultural activities such as cooking classes, salsa dance lessons, Cinema Latino, and folklore shows.

The school in Santiago is in a converted classic mansion in a residential area close to downtown.  It’s a comfortable building in a quiet location, but you’ll still be within a short walk to dozens of restaurants and cafes – great for people-watching while doing your homework.

ECELA is dedicated to helping you get closer to Spanish fluency even if you are not “naturals” at picking up foreign languages. The 50/50 ratio of grammar and conversation, taught in separate sessions, ensures you of balanced progress. The extra small classes (capped at only 8 students) are intimate enough that you will comfortably join the discussion, even if you normally resist raising your hand. Finally, the “demanding yet understanding” teachers and staff push you to do the necessary work so you will vastly improve your Spanish.

Program Orientations

Upon acceptance to the program, you will be required to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation. During this time, you will have the opportunity to meet other program participants, discuss in-depth the details of your program, and prepare of the overall education abroad experience. The fall semester pre-departure orientation will be conducted the Saturday before the end of Spring UAlbany classes and in late November/early December for the spring term abroad.

Upon arrival to the ECELA program, you will attend a mandatory program orientation. This is an important and informative set of sessions organized by International Office of your host university.

Support Services

UAlbany’s Office of Education Abroad staff assists you during the application process, in your  preparation to travel abroad, and on-site if necessary.

The ECELA staff serve as an experienced resource for resolving issues that you may encounter in while abroad.