ECELA Spanish Language School (Vina del Mar)
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Soak in the sun at Viña del Mar on Chile’s coast. Learn Spanish at this resort beach city. Visit historic castles while studying abroad in a city full of life. Famous for its scenic nature and beautiful parks, Viña del Mar is called the Garden City. Surround yourself with a city full of picturesque architecture and palm trees as you study. Visit some of the many museums and enjoy the vibrant night life of Viña del Mar.
The ECELA Vina del Mar Language school offers you the opportunity to master the Spanish language with the help of 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 Viña del Mar summer program, you will take two courses. You will earn 3 credits for each course you successfully complete (you may earn up to 6 credits total for the summer program). You can choose option 1 or option 2
- Two Spanish Language Courses or
- One Spanish language class and either a Culture and History of Chile course or Foundations of Spanish and Latin America course. Both of these elective courses are taught in Spanish.
- Culture and History of Chile: International Perspectives GenED + ASPN 317
- Foundations of Spanish and Latin America: International Perspectives GenED + ASPN 316
On the ECELA Viña del Mar winter program, you will take one course. You will earn 3 credits for the course you successfully complete. You can choose to take one of the following courses.
- Spanish language class or
- Chilean Culture and History course (offered in Spanish)
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 Student
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 Viña del Mar 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 find the best deals in Viña del Mar.
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.
Estimate of Costs
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.
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.
The program offers daily scheduled activities in and around Vina del Mar. Participating in these activities is an excellent way to practice your new language skills in a fun and exciting environment.
- La Sebastiana – Experience the quirky museum/house of beloved Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda.
- Cooking Lessons – Learning to prepare food typical to the region, including empanadas and sopapillas
- Paseo en Lancha – Tour the coast in a small boat and visit important parts of the harbor.
- Asensores de Valparaiso – Explore the hills of Valparaiso by cable car! Experience the “Patrimonio de la Humanidad”.
- Salsa Classes – Learn to dance salsa to prepare for nights out in Viña or Valpo.
- Isla Negra – Visit Pablo Neruda’s famous house and spend a relaxing day on the coast.
- Cerro la Campana – Trek the beautiful Parque Nacional, one of the country’s most famous natural reserves.
- Viñedos – Tour of the area’s wine producing valley of Casablanca.
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.
About the City
Viña del Mar is located two hours northwest of Santiago and is considered one of the most essential tourist cities in Chile. Also a neighbor to the port city of Valparaiso, Viña del Mar is famous for its cable cars, museums, traditional Chilean restaurants and street art – you’ll get a taste of the city’s unique culture on every street.
Viña del Mar, Chile is one of South America’s prime beach resorts. Although it’s a major tourist destination (for Chileans and as well as foreigners), there are enough year-round residents to support plenty of cultural activity. In fact Viña del Mar and Valparaiso are bustling with young people due to the great number of university campuses in the area, making it a fun place to be year-round. Easy day trips from Viña include historic Valparaiso, vineyard tours, and national parks.
ECELA’s “School Hopping” Option: Semester and Summer Only (Not Winter)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
A valid passport is required to participate in this program. A Tourist Card will be issued for a stay of up to 90 days. More information regarding the visa application process is available upon acceptance to the program.
Applications become available online one semester before the program start date, based on the following timeline:
- Spring/Winter programs: July
- Fall/Year/Summer programs: December
06/22/2020 to 08/01/2020
12/29/2019 to 01/18/2020
About the Program
The school in Viña is just a few blocks from the ocean on a quiet residential street. It’s a comfortable building within a short walk to convenient restaurants, cafes, and shopping centers. It’s also a comfortable two hour bus ride from Santiago, which means Viña del Mar can be used as a stand-alone school or easily combined with our location in the capital.
ECELA is dedicated to helping students get closer to Spanish fluency even if they 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.
ECELA schools attract students from many walks of life. They come from 42+ countries and have an array of personal and professional interests. You’ll bond with them in your classes, in the refreshment breaks in between them, and in our many social and cultural activities after them. For many of our students, forming a new set of very diverse relationships is a real treasure and an unexpected highlight. While you may come to Ecela alone, you are quickly plugged into an instant social life.
UAlbany’s study abroad program with the ECELA Spanish Language School gives students the chance to experience rapid advancement in Spanish abilities while experiencing first-hand the Chilean culture in and around Viña del Mar. 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.
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.
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.