PONTIFICIA UNIVERSIDAD CATóLICA DE VALPARAíSO SPANISH LANGUAGE AND LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES ▶
PONTIFICIA UNIVERSIDAD CATóLICA DE VALPARAíSO CHILEAN CULTURE AND SPANISH LANGUAGE SUMMER ▶
UNIVERSIDAD TéCNICA FEDERICO SANTA MARíA INTEGRATED STUDIES ▶
API staff members guide students through the administrative processes of the pre-departure phase of study abroad, including applying to the host institution abroad and preparing for arrival on-site. Students and parents may contact API staff as often as they desire with questions about academics, on-site logistics, special needs, visa procedures, etc. API staff members, in turn, are frequently in touch with students regarding program updates, essential travel tips and recommendations for having a successful experience abroad.
@API ONLINE SYSTEM
All applicants have access to the @api online student account. This online system allows students to check the status of their application, download and complete post-acceptance forms, and verify that payments have been credited to their account.
ORIENTATION MATERIALS AND RESOURCES
All API students receive orientation information to help them prepare for their study abroad session. API students have access to a unique online service, the API Toolbox, which includes orientation materials, diagnostic exams, and language reviews. The Toolbox includes information on logistical details, cultural differences, what students can expect at their host university, health and safety concerns, travel tips, and more. Additionally, in certain locations API offers pre-departure orientation sessions for students and parents on the home campus.
API students in Chile receive a free phone (only the SIM card has to be returned upon completion of the session abroad) with discounted calling packages for students. Students order their cell phone online prior to departure, providing a credit card for billing purposes. If ordered at least two weeks before departure, API pays for the shipping and handling fees. The phones are mailed to students in the U.S. so that they have the phone and phone number before arriving in the host country. When in the host city most incoming calls are free for students. Some incoming calls outside of the host city and outgoing calls incur a per minute charge, and text messages also carry a fee per text. With these cell phones, parents, API Resident Directors, family and friends at home and abroad can communicate with students and more easily contact them in the event of an emergency.
The API Peer Mentors are former API students who are available to speak to future API students about their program of interest. Peer Mentors have completed extensive training sessions with API and can answer questions students may have about the student experience.
API has created award-winning social networks for students to connect with each other and learn about API program offerings, including a Facebook page with student groups, a Twitter profile, a YouTube channel, a Flickr photostream, a Tumblr Blog, a Google+ page, an Instagram profile, a Pinterest page, and the API Blog. These networks provide students with the opportunity to communicate informally with past students, outbound students and API staff members, as well as to be notified of upcoming events and program developments.
API awards approximately $400,000 in scholarships annually, in amounts ranging from $250-$1,000 per student.
API students are met at the airport by API staff on the program start date. Students receive detailed flight instructions upon their acceptance into the API program and should wait to purchase a flight until receiving more information post-acceptance.
Students in Latin America benefit from highly qualified, trained and experienced English-speaking Resident Directors available to students throughout their session abroad. Latin American Resident Directors are locals from the host country in which students are studying and are ready to provide practical information, language tutoring and insight into the host culture. API Resident Directors greet students at the airport, introduce them to the ways of life in their host country, help students to register at the host university and support them throughout their stay. They are available in case of any personal emergency and are ready to implement the API emergency response plans if needed. Students (and parents) can sleep comfortably knowing that API Resident Directors are available to assist them.
The on-site orientation takes place during the first week of a student’s stay. API orientations include tours of the orientation city as well as practical information about life in the host city, including transportation, safety and local culture. The orientation is designed to minimize adjustment difficulties upon arrival and gives students a chance to get to know other participants in the program.
HOUSING AND MEALS
Housing is included in the API program fee. Semester and summer students living in Valparaíso will live with local host families. In Chile, API places one student per family, and all students have a private bedroom. Host families serve as an unique introduction to Chilean culture and may be made up of a retirement-age couple, a single woman with or without children, or a traditional two-parent household. Students are provided with two to three meals per day, as well as laundry service once per week. Generally, if student is at the university during the family’s lunch hour, the host mother will prepare a light meal for the student to bring to the university or lunch is saved for the student and eaten later.
A $250 security deposit is due by the final payment deadline for all programs. A fee of $75 will be retained from all security deposits to cover standard cleaning fees and general maintenance fees, including minor repairs and standard touch-up painting. The remaining $175 is refundable provided that: 1) no additional fees are assessed on-site for incidentals, damages or excessive utility usage; and 2) the API program fee has been paid in full. Housing for all year students during the period between the fall and spring semesters is not included in the API program fee. Most students take advantage of this time to return home to the U.S. or to travel around their host country. In most cases, API can arrange between-term housing for students in their host city for an additional fee. Refer to the city information sections for more specific housing information by location.
All programs include a fixed number of credits per term as part of the standard fee. The number of credits that a student can earn each session is detailed on each program page, and varies from 10-18 credit per quarter/semester session and 3-7 credits per summer session. Where available, students wishing to complete additional credits exceeding those included in regular program will be assessed an additional fee after registration has been completed (either prior to or after arrival on-site).
Language tutoring is available free of charge for all API students (approximately one hour per week for each student). Arrangements can be made with the API resident director. Should additional assistance be required, API directors can help students to arrange additional tutoring at their own expense.
LANGUAGE AND CULTURE TOOLS
Given that study abroad can lead to improved conversational abilities without a corresponding improvement in written competencies, API provides academic support throughout the student’s sojourn abroad through the following resources:
- A pre-program diagnostic language test to target areas most in need of review.
- Self-study activities to guide students’ language review before their program begins.
- A series of “action cards” and experiential learning activities, designed to give students ideas on how to engage with
- and integrate into the host language and culture.
- Individual tutoring for students requesting help with language classes at any point in their program.
- A post-program diagnostic language test to gauge students’ improvement at the close of their program.
MEDICAL AND LIFE INSURANCE
Medical and life insurance is provided for all students during the program term. This insurance coverage includes medical evacuation and repatriation, as well as 24-hour support services for medical issues.
During the program, students have the opportunity to broaden their classroom education through several organized excursions, which are included in the price of the program. Overnight lodging, breakfast, entrance fees and transportation to and from the excursion locations are included. To find out which excursions are included in the program and review their descriptions, visit the specific program page. Although excursions are subject to change depending on availability, weather and other factors, students are provided with an itinerary for their program excursions prior to departure.
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Students are offered monthly API-sponsored social and cultural activities, including outings to movies, concerts, theater performances, museums, cultural tours and more. All entrance fees are covered by API. Students also enjoy welcome and farewell group meals.
Each session, API makes several volunteer opportunities available to students. Volunteer opportunities are available at varying levels of involvement. Students can choose to participate in the API Gives Back Projects, one-day group service events with other API staff and students serving local communities. Students who are interested in making a greater commitment to serve have additional options available. All activities are specific to each location and are designed to allow students to give thanks and to give back to the communities that welcome them.
RE-ENTRY MATERIALS AND SUPPORT
Upon their return, API students are encouraged to use the API Toolbox to discover methods to more effectively integrate the skills and knowledge they have learned abroad into their professional and personal futures.
API places great value on post-program evaluation from students and their U.S. university faculty and administrators. At the end of each session, students have the opportunity to evaluate their program through online evaluation forms. These electronic evaluations are submitted directly to the API Texas office and ensure that students receive the best service possible.
Upon completion of the academic session, an official transcript with a letter of translation (if necessary) is sent to each student’s home institution. API encourages students to discuss their academic choices with home school advisors to determine how credits reflected on the transcript might be transferred toward their degree plan.
ALUMNI NETWORK AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Returning students have the opportunity to apply to become a Peer Mentor with API for an academic year. Peer Mentors serve as resources for outbound students, participating in their home school’s study abroad fair, serving as a study abroad advocate, giving presentations to student groups and the community at large, and helping API to keep its pre-departure information relevant and student-focused. Upon completion of their year of service, Peer Mentors may apply for an internship with API, a great résumé builder. Students are also encouraged to join our alumni groups on Facebook and LinkedIn for additional post-program networking opportunities and resources.