Duke in Chile

Language and Culture of Entrepreneurship in Latin America

Program Alert

The Duke in Chile program will not run in Summer 2022 but plans to relaunch in Summer 2023. Program details will be updated before applications open in November 2022.

Earn credit for Spanish 204 and 303 in one summer session

Apply Now

In this six-week, two course program in the cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Chile, students will complete the equivalent of Spanish 204 and Spanish 303 with an eye towards the development of linguistic skills in Spanish and cultural awareness related to entrepreneurial themes in Latin America. Valparaiso, whose historic quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a major educational center home to several universities and technology-based start-ups and social entrepreneurship ventures.


Location: Valparaiso, Chile

Term: Summer I

Dates: TBD

Application Deadline: February 1

Academic Theme: Language and Culture of Entrepreneurship in Latin America

Credit Type: Duke Credit

Prerequisites: Must have completed Spanish 203 or have the consent of the Director of the program.

Open to Non-Duke Students? Non-Duke students are welcome to apply.

Duke Affiliation: Duke Department of Romance Studies

Housing: Homestays

Physical Requirements: Ability to walk hilly terrain and take public transportation

GEO Advising: Request an appointment 

  • Students take a tour of Valparaiso during orientation

  • Valparaiso is known for its colorful murals

  • Located on the coast, the city is comprised of more than 40 different hills

  • The historic quarter of Valparaiso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • Chile's main passenger and commercial port is in Valparaiso

  • A container ship leaving the port of Valparaiso

  • Touring the bay near Valparaiso's port

  • Students learn how to make Chilean food, like pebre and empanadas

  • Students live with Chilean host families in nearby Viña del Mar

  • Students get paired with entrepreneurs to complete a 32 hour practicum

  • Students on excursion to Isla Negra, home to Pablo Neruda

  • Students take an excursion to the Chilean capital, Santiago

  • The program includes an excursion to the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile

  • The Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world

  • On the excursion to Northern Chile, students visit El Tatio geyser field in the Andes


You’ll enroll in one course worth two Duke credits. No pass/fail option or auditing is permitted. The course may be used to satisfy one course requirement toward the Spanish major and minor in the Romance Studies Department, and will also count toward the FL graduation requirement.

SPANISH 315A / I&E 315A
Language and Culture of Entrepreneurship in Latin America
(CZ, FL, CCI), 2.0 Credits
Instructor: Lisa Merschel

Pre-requisite: Spanish 203

The course focuses on learning culture through social and for-profit entrepreneurship in Latin America, and aims at developing students’ proficiency in Spanish through linguistic, social, and cultural immersion in Chile. The course builds on elements of the language acquired in Spanish 101 through 203. Therefore, students will continue to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills, improve the range and sophistication of grammar usage and vocabulary, and be exposed to an immersive Spanish-speaking environment in Chile by interacting with the entrepreneurial community. Students will be exposed to an immersive Spanish-speaking environment in Chile by participating in 32 hours of practicums at assigned entrepreneurial non-profit and for-profit businesses in addition to classroom and home stay experiences.


The program includes activities in Valparaiso, including tours of the city as well as visits to several entrepreneurial organizations. There will be a day trip to the capital of Santiago as well as a three-day, two-night trip to the northern region of Chile. An itinerary of the program’s activities will be provided to students during the pre-departure orientation at Duke.


During orientation, students will stay in shared-occupancy hotel rooms.  For the duration of the program, students will live with program-approved host families in single-family dwellings, one student per family. Students will have their own bedrooms, with a desk, good lighting, and a place to store their clothing (closet or wardrobe). Students may have to share a bathroom with other family members. Laundry service is provided once per week, and bedrooms and bathrooms are cleaned weekly. Internet access is provided.

Host families will provide three meals per day, except on days when students have program activities. On these days, host families will provide breakfast and dinner and the program will provide students with a stipend to purchase lunch. During orientation, the program will provide students and faculty with two lunches, two dinners and snacks. Additional meals will be provided on some group excursions.The program will arrange a farewell meal the last night of the program, to which two members of the students’ host families will also be invited to attend.



These costs are estimated based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.

Summer 2023

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition TBD TBD
Program Fee TBD TBD
Transcript Fee N/A $120
Other Costs Other costs Other costs
TOTAL (Estimated) TBD TBD

Explanation of Costs

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving institutional need-based grant aid are eligible for aid for this program; work-study funds are converted to grants. Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office.

Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information.


This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:


Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.

  • Arrival: TBD
  • Departure: TBD


You will make your own travel arrangements to and from the program site. You are expected to arrive on the arrival date cited above, which usually means departing the U.S. one day prior. Once you have a flight itinerary, log in to MyExperientialEd to update your travel registry.

Housing Before/After

You will need to make your own housing arrangements if you will be arriving before the program start date or leaving later than the program end date.



No visa is required of U.S. citizens to participate in this program. Non-U.S. citizens should pay special attention to the visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting the country embassy to find out if any visa restrictions are in effect.


All participants must have a valid passport. Make sure your passport has at least six months of validity beyond the program end date to avoid unintended disruptions. For instructions on obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport, visit passports.state.gov.

International Student Identity Card

An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is optional. ISIC is the only internationally recognized form of student ID, endorsed by UNESCO. If purchased in the U.S., the card also carries with it a supplemental insurance policy, which can prove to be very helpful in the event of serious injury. You may purchase this card through www.myisic.com. Processing of the card takes between 4-15 days. 


Program faculty director(s) can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the GEO representative listed.

Lisa Merschel

Senior Lecturer of Romance Studies

Abigail Grubbs

GEO Program Coordinator / Advisor


Deadline: February 1

This program has rolling admission. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis until the program fills; after that, qualified students are added to a waitlist and notified of openings. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered. Application opens November 1.

Priority: Priority is given to applicants who meet the language prerequisite and apply early.

Minimum GPA: There is no minimum overall GPA. However, students must have earned a minimum of a ‘B’ in Spanish 203 or previous level. 

Non-Duke studentsNon-Duke students are welcome to apply for this program. You must be a degree-seeking student in good standing at an accredited college or university. Consult your university’s registrar and/or study away advisor for assistance with transfer credit. Students who are not matriculated at a college or university are not eligible to participate in Duke’s study away programs.


Start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

Submit the following items using MyExperientialEd

  1. Online application
  2. Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended.
  3. A personal statement in Spanish, 1-2 pages (double spaced) including the following:
    • Explain why you are interested in the program, what you think you will contribute to it, and what you hope to gain from it.
    • Describe in detail your experience learning Spanish to date: how many years of Spanish, any tests taken (AP/SAT II) and their scores, what kinds of readings you have done in Spanish, and the length of papers you have written. You do not need to answer this question if you are currently taking (or have taken) a Spanish language course at Duke.
  4. Academic letter of recommendation, preferably from a Spanish language professor at Duke. If you have not taken a Spanish course at Duke, a letter may be requested from a professor who knows you well. Recommendation letters from high school teachers will not be accepted.


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