Spanish Center

In 2013 the UVM’s Spanish Center became an Associated Center of the Cervantes Institute, one of two in all of Chile.
Upon arriving to our center students are given an oral and written exam to determine their level. Based on their scores you will be eligible to take core Spanish classes and Spanish elective classes. Students with an advanced (C1) level of Spanish will take classes in the Literature and Linguistics department of the university.

Common European Framework for Languages

The Spanish Center uses the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages to place students in their appropriate levels of Spanish. The levels are:

A1: Beginner                                                              B2: Advanced Intermediate               

A2: Pre-Intermediate                                                 C1: Advanced

B1: Intermediate                                                        C2: Bilingual

To understand how the European Framework for Languages applies to a student’s current level we invite you to review the following chart with their Spanish professor to see what level they would have before arriving to the UVM. 

Course Offering

Regardless of their level, students are able to choose between the following core courses in Spanish:

Course Topics covered Contact hours ECTC US Credits
Communicational Spanish and Chilean Culture The overall objective is to increase the skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing in Spanish from a communicative approach. Learning takes place through geography, history and culture of Chile. Students receive overview that will allow you to analyze, understand, and compare a Hispanic country like Chile with their country of origin. 120 8 10
Communicational Skills: Grammar and Composition This course teaches Spanish through a communicative approach. Through various teaching techniques, students will be able to increase their skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. At the advanced level students will learn how to redact professional documents such as e-mails, formal letters, and their resumes. 96 6 8
Phonetics This course focuses on the development of oral language skills for the production of standard Spanish at every level. Students learn to analyze contrastive phonetic systems of Spanish and their native language to eliminate the interference of the latter. 42 3 4

Students with a high-intermediate level, or higher, can choose among the following electives that are dictated in Spanish for international students:

Course Topics covered Contact hours ECTC US Credits
Social-Economic Evolution of Latin America The course explores the structure of global power and argues that this resembles more and more like the Dark Ages. The increasing fragmentation of power and participation of non-state actors on the global stage to generate a land full of opportunities for the Latin American region possesses huge reserves of natural resources (water, oil, arable land, biodiversity). The course reviews the main authors of this in the field (Umberto Eco, Furio Colombo, Parag Khanna and Niall Ferguson, among others) and makes explicit the evolution of the capabilities and potential political, social and economic situation of Chile, and the region, as well as proposes “possible futures”. 64 4 5
Current Events in Latin America This course reviews and explains the political, economic, cultural, and security of individual Latin American states, highlighting issues such as governance, political organization, production, markets, income distribution and intra-and interstate conflict. The course also examines the similarities and differences between the Latin American region, the United States, Europe, and Asia. 64 4 5
Latin American Literature The course aims to give students an overview of narrative and contemporary Latin American poetry, along with a more complex approach on the work of Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Julio Cortazar, the Colombian author Alvaro Mutis, and Chileans Pablo Neruda and Vicente Huidobro, to provide as an example of formal and thematic diversity of the American creative field in Spanish. 64 4 5
Latin American Film Latin Americans seek their identity through art. This allows them to integrate their vision of themselves with their world. This course approaches the Latin American condition not only from the historical, but also from the cultural aspect and the film itself. Through film it is possible to see multicultural issues on the continent, taking into account each country to conform to Latin America has developed a distinctive culture. The cinematic approach, then, reflect this multiculturalism: films will be screened for Chilean, German, Danish and British directors to demonstrate the richness present in Latin America. 64 4 5
Cultures in Contact Additional hours: 24 hours of volunteer work+10 one hour workshops.

This course introduces students to international and Chilean intercultural communication studies focusing on the origin of the cultures to achieve greater understanding of differences and similarities of each culture. Students choose among the non-profit foundations with a relationship with the UVM to perform volunteer work, 2 hours a week. This course is unique because it is open for Chilean students to take as a part of the UVM´s offer of general electives.

32 4 5
Latin American Social Movements The objective of this course is to analyze collective action and social commitment to understand the special characteristics of Latin American mobilizations. The interest of the course is to learn about various social movements; how a global justice discourse is developed; as well as to evaluate how various social problems are. This will provide the opportunity to question the notions of “revolution “, “citizenship”, and “democracy.” Once students understand the basis of how social movements are created, students will learn to analyze contemporary issues that cut across Latin America. 64 4 5
Sociopolitical History of Chile in the 20th Century This course is focused on the socio-political evolution of Chile, from the civil war to the military dictatorship, taking into account the great revolutions in Chile, as well as considering the Mexican and Cuban revolutions, two of the most important revolutions in Latin America, in order to understand how revolutionary ideas began to circulate in Chile in the early twentieth century and how these revolutions began with people from the humblest walks of life to become large social movements. 64 4 5


No previous knowledge of Spanish is required for students to participate in the Spanish Center classes, as we offer courses starting from the beginner level. The UVM respects the home university’s requirements regarding the maximum and minimum courses a student should take while abroad.

We invite all students to talk with their academic advisors in their home universities about how many credits they should take while studying with the UVM in order to maintain their full-time student status. International students should also speak with their advisors to understand how their grades and credits will transfer back.

Semester in English

The ambition of the UVM with the Academic Semester in English program is to allow non-Spanish speakers students the opportunity to experience the Latin American and Chilean culture while earning academic credits in English-taught courses of their choice.

This program is designed for students enrolled, or interested in, one of the following academic areas: Business, Social Sciences, Humanities, Liberal Arts, and Environmental Studies. Each class has 64 contacts hours which are usually converted into 4 US credits/5 ECTS according to American and European standards.

In addition to the aforementioned English-taught classes, students are encouraged to take at least one Spanish Language and Chilean Culture course to discover specificities of Chile while improving their Spanish skills. The courses are offered at our in-house Spanish Center, which is accredited by the Cervantes Institute.

The following courses are available for students in the Semester in English Program:

Liberal Arts

Course Topics covered Contact hours ECTC US Credits
Travel Literature A land of encounter and finding, of retreat and loss, Latin America is the place where man finally stopped his wandering throughout the world. Finis Terrae, Land’s End. This continent has been described and recreated by many travelers, who along with giving a lucid glimpse of this region and its people; they also revealed much of their own selves. This course aims to approach these kaleidoscopic gazes of South America from a human scale: Latin America or a “nostalgia for the space”. 64 4 5
Post-dictatorship and Popular Culture in Chile This course is designed to offer the student a critical understanding of the complex trajectory of popular culture in Chile from the 70s to present day. This will be accomplished through the analysis of literature, art, and film, and music. The patterns of production and consumption of popular culture that this course treats can be divided into three general periods: The Revolutionary Period of Activist Art, The Allegorical Period of State Repression and Censorship, and the Period of Remembrance, Recognition, and Reconciliation. 64 4 5
Rebellion, Revolution, and Reconciliation in Latin American Literature and Political History Students in this course will learn to understand the political and literary history of Latin American rebellion and revolution arcing through Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, from Cuba to Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua and Peru. They will also learn, within this historical context, the enormity of the task of “reconciliation” before Latin America in general and (in Bolaño’s conception) Latin American writers in particular. Finally, they will be able to apply this understanding in thoughtful analysis of Bolaño’s novel to the independent investigation of a particular revolutionary (and/or literary) tradition in Latin America. 64 4 5
Latin American Regional Scenario in the 20th Century Define and explain the concepts of political power, totalitarianism, ideology, dictatorship, democracy and national interest, to apply them to the Latin American reality. Identify the socio cultural elements that shape the Latin American Identities in order to explain the evolution and outcome of political and economic models applied in the region during the twentieth century. Explain the historical differences and similarities among the Latin American countries in order to develop a vision different from the usual stereotypes. 64 4 5
Ethics and Developement This course will not be a theoretical or philosophical discussion about Ethics or its history, but an intensive individual and group practical reflection on personal and social behavior in order to say when can we qualify it of good or right, or of bad or wrong, for our great and common goal of being better and happier, that is, developed individuals and societies. A strong engagement of all participants in personal reading, elaboration of papers and above all sharing own ideas and respecting ideas from other participants is then required to achieve a significant and useful work and learning. 64 4 5

Social Sciences

Course Topics covered Contact hours ECTC US Credits
Gender and Minority Studies Analysis of concepts and definitions of Gender in the context of Latin American Feminism. Study of psychological, anthropological, social and political dimensions of gender and their relation with power and social inequality. Research on gender-related experiences in Chile. 64 4 5
Indigenous Peoples in Chile General and critical overview of the historical relationship between the Chilean State and the indigenous people, specifically, the Mapuche nation, through the analysis of topics such as culture, identity, people, nation, ethnic group, social movement, modernity, environmental racism, globalization, autonomy. 64 4 5
Human Rights in Latin America This class will cover the various aspects that drew Chile towards a situation of political, social, economic crisis that generated the coup d’état of September 11 of 1973 and a long military dictatorship. Students will learn, from historical and theoretical points of view, how the national institutions in Chile were destroyed in order to establish a policy of denial of human rights. An analysis of the different tools, most of them apparently legal that permitted the perpetration of human rights as well as the impunity of the wrongdoers will be performed. Finally, students will examine, one by one, the specific landmarks of transitional justice utilized to reestablish truth, justice, and democracy in Chile. 64 4 5
Latin American Social Movements From silent revolutions to violent conflicts, Latin American social movements have changed the balances of power, shaped group identities, and created new cultural boundaries. From a social sciences lens, we will dissect these collective actions and analyze their structures, discourses, identities and orientations in order to gain a deeper understanding of their impact. The cases will range from Gender movements in Mexico, to Student’s movements in Chile, and Anti-Corruption movements in Brazil, among others. As the final component of this course, we will learn how to transform this knowledge and reflections into viable research proposals for social science publishing. 64 4 5
Social Inequality, Exclusion, and Democracy This course is based on different theories and studies of the Modern Democracy and the effects that globalization has on Civil Society and the act of Citizenship. New technology has produced effects on equality and inequality, all this reflect on the social implications of the social and political exclusion and the new ways to build our identity. 64 4 5
Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development The poorest are the ones hardest hit with environmental issues as they often depend directly on natural resources for their daily needs and livelihoods (for firewood, food and building material, fishing). Desperate for employment, poor people suffer the most unhealthy work environments. Without much choice as to where to live, they are more exposed to disasters such as floods and fire, and to toxic dumps, and polluted air and water. As their quality of life declines and their health deteriorates, these environmental issues render them even less able to make a living. Far from being anti-development, environmental policies can actually be used to protect the health and livelihoods of poor people, and increase their political and economic power. 64 4 5
Latin American History of Ideas One way to explain Latin American History of ideas is by dividing it into two main conglomerates of currents. One current where the traditions are directed at how best to implement ideas from the center, mostly referred to either Europe or the USA. The other current being critical of the first one and defending that Latin America must find its own roots and lead itself. This separation represents at first sight a political and theoretical divide. But what is more interesting is that it represents a much deeper divide in the Latin American mentality, something visible not just in the history of ideas, but also in general experiences. Apart from a short introduction which presents both sides and the 19th century, this course will focus on the identity tradition in the 20th century, partly because most of the intellectual reflection on this divide is found here, and partly because this is where we find the most original distinction from the traditional western mentality. 64 4 5


Course Topics covered Contact hours ECTC US Credits
Multicultural Global Management With so many organizations operating in a multinational environment today, it is easy to assume that the increasing connection among countries, and the globalization of corporations, would result in cultural differences disappearing or diminishing. Yet, on the contrary, as economic borders come down, cultural barriers often go up, thus presenting new challenges. Learn techniques, through highly interactive methods, how you can excel, when you work for a global company or in a different country, with teams across continents. 64 4 5
Leadership: Essential skills to become an effective leader Leadership is a complex process by which the leader influences others to perform and achieve. This course provides the basis for understanding what leadership is and what leaders do to be successful. This is a highly interactive course based on the application of theoretical concepts of leadership to practical situations. Practical exercises, workshops and case studies will be used extensively during the course to develop the leader within each student. 64 4 5
Project Management People usually relate the word project management to the huge projects that most of the large companies run. This course will open a new door for you to think on. We shall discuss project management with a completely new perspective – with respect to our daily life. How can you become a master planner and execute flawless projects which can range from organizing a community event, to remodeling your house, to setting up a new business, to arranging for your mom-dad’s 25 anniversary. It is all about bringing out the manager in you! 64 4 5
Globalization Globalization made the world flat and the perfect example of this is the recent (2008-09) credit crunch and recession in the United States which demonstrated the extent of international economic interconnections. This course analyses the global economy – ‘Globalization’ in practice. It places the global economy in its historical context, and considers political and institutional factors. 64 4 5
Independent Patent Rights Knowledge of Intellectual property Rights (IPR) is a must whether you want to start your own business or climb the corporate ladder. No matter how good your business ideas or how good you are with your professional skills if you can’t protect your idea or skills they will turn into a waste. The course module is designed to introduce fundamental aspects of Intellectual property Rights (IPR) to the next generation students who are going to play lead roles in their respective industries. This course will cover important aspects of the IPR Acts, and real life case studies to demonstrate the application of the legal concepts in practice. 64 4 5
Globalization of Art and Its Marketing With the digital revolution, while on one hand everybody can create and show it to the entire world, on the other, in a globalized world, art is becoming like any other commodity or product exported and imported worldwide and plethora of other issues such copyright, intellectual property, loss of exclusivity, inter country laws et al have cropped up. In this course students will evaluate such issues and its effects on smaller artists and big art conglomerates. Marketing as “the” art form of the 21st century will be analyzed through the example of the artist Damien Hirst. Street art will also be one of the central topics of the course as an example of a counterexample of consumer culture, looking at both the renowned Bansky as well as the regional art in the form of the street art of Valparaíso. 64 4 5
Green Economy This course brings together participants from different countries and backgrounds, and provides opportunities for sharing experiences about sustainable development issues. It analyzes and discusses the main goals related to green economy, environmental education, and natural resource management. Participants will learn about different concepts and facets of these concepts, as well as challenges and opportunities to advance low-carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclusive development. 64 4 5
Management Skills, from Business Administration to Externalities & Crisis Management This course will explore basic concepts of psychology such as needs, thoughts, motivation, emotion and frustration in order to unveil the humane aspects of management. The concept of emotional intelligence and leadership which are central characteristics of a skilled manager will also be reviewed. This theory foundation will allow students to develop a holistic view of the management process. Strategies of crisis management will be learned and put into practice in simulation. 64 4 5
Negotiation Strategies Covering a variety of negotiation techniques used in business and personal life, the course aims to provide to students an understanding of what negotiation is and how it is practiced in Latin America. The course will incorporate a presentation of the general business context of Latin America and its communicational style. Students will get a better view of negotiation is made in the region, in particular in the areas of sensitivities and norms in offers & counter-offers. 64 4 5
International Marketing Strategies Understanding the Global Trade Environment through the development of skills on planning international marketing strategies. Developing soft skills to present international marketing projects. 64 4 5
Effective Business Communication Skills This course is designed to give students a comprehensive view of communication, its scope and importance in business. Will be addressed both verbal and written communication in applications such as telephone etiquette, email writing and building effective and persuasive presentations. Additionally, students will discover the cross-cultural factors and interpersonal skills that can modify the communication. 64 4 5


For students whose native language is not English, is required to include certification that they have an advanced level (B2). This certification can be a written letter from the English department of their home university addressed to our office.

The UVM respects the home university’s requirements regarding the maximum and minimum courses a student should take while abroad.

We invite all students to talk with their academic advisors in their home universities about how many credits they should take while studying with the UVM in order to maintain their full-time student status. International students should also speak with their advisors to understand how their grades and credits will transfer back.

In general, we understand that US students must take between 12-16 credits per semester, while European students normally have to complete 30 ECTS.

Politics and Human Rights in Latin America

For many years Chile was known to the world over due to the systematic violation of Human Rights by the military dictatorship. Today, after two decades of democratic rule, the country’s economic success and political stability seem to attract the attention of international analysts, scholars, and students alike. Furthermore, Chile has become an example for many as a country to look to with regard to the appropriate and responsible path towards development.

However, several questions arise: What is the cost of this apparent success and stability? Can one really talk of Chile as being truly democratic? Has this apparent economic success reached everyone? Have human rights violators been held responsible for their crimes? Are human rights respected today in Chile?

In order to attempt to answer theses, and other related questions, this program analyzes issues such as the country’s political history, the role of political violence as a part of our political culture, the transitional process, democracy, political participation, women’s rights, and indigenous rights among others.
This program uses an interdisciplinary theoretical approach to help students to understand those processes that have produced profound changes in the country’s social, political, cultural, and economic structures. This program will also have students examine a handful of Latin-American experiences to understand their own models of development and specific democratic regimes.

It is a program that has been designed by a team of international experts on the various topics of study, and will be conducted entirely in English.
The methodology used in this program is in-line with the VIRV’s goal to provide students with an experiential learning experience. By offering students the opportunity to observe what they are learning in the classroom, they will take various fieldwork outings to museums, the National Congress, and a Mapuche community among others. The courses offered will be intensive in nature, with the each course containing 30 contact hours that will be taught throughout 14 weeks. The students will be expected to write a minor research paper on a topic related to politics or human rights in Chile. Each student will also have to give a presentation of their paper to the group and a panel of their teachers for their final evaluation.

Students participating in this program are also expected to perform volunteer work.

Politics and Human Rights Course Offering

Course Topics covered Contact hours ECTC US Credits
Political Thought Socio-Historical Thought Concrete Democracies Political Theory and Praxis: Violence and Social Change Chilean Identity and Culture 35 4 2
Politics Democracy in Chile Democracy and Political Violence Chilean Transitional Justice Transition and Reconciliation Political Participation in Chile: Pre and Post Dictatorship 35 4 2
Human Rights International Human Rights Legal Instruments Human Rights in the Post War Era Militarism in a Historical Context Dictatorships and Structures of Repression 35 4 2
Economics Neoliberal Model: Fundamental Period The Economic Model: Then and Now 35 4 2
Society Social Dimension of Development Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Gender and Minorty Rights and Reality Social Movements 35 4 2
Reserch and Methodology Seminar Introduction to Methodology Research Design Field Study Techniques Final Research Paper Presentation 60 6 4
Volunteer work Volunteer Workshop 35 4 2

Students in this program are able to take at least one Spanish as a Foreign Language course as an audit course. The program’s courses are held Monday-Thursday.


This program is designed for students with at least two years of university experience.
For students whose native language is not English, is required to include certification that they have an advanced level (B2). This certification can be a written letter from the English department of their home university addressed to our office.

*There is a minimum number of 5 students needed for this program to be offered. If less than 5 students sign-up for any given semester, students will be notified via e-mail.

Politics and human rights in latin America