Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): Spanish UC: More than 30 years promoting the teaching of the Hispanic language

More than 30 years of experience teaching Spanish as a foreign language has the UC Spanish program , an initiative that seeks for international people who are at the Catholic University to learn this language, both in its Chilean and Latin American variants.

“We want them to fall in love with our language and our culture. That they have tools to better accept the challenges imposed by cultural difference, in such a way that this gap becomes an area that they like to explore and experiment with,” explains Gloria Toledo , head of the program and professor at the UC Faculty of Arts .

To achieve this goal, in the UC Spanish classes – which take place on the San Joaquín campus – students are introduced to the academic world in all its facets, starting from academic writing to relationships with classmates.

“We want them to fall in love with our language and our culture. That they have tools to better accept the challenges imposed by cultural difference” – Gloria Toledo, head of the program and professor at the Faculty of Letters UC

“For UC Spanish teachers, it is essential to provide guidance and guidance to our international students at UC,” says Professor Toledo, who adds that the teachers of the program are authors of the only texts of Spanish as a second language that exist in our country. : a series of five texts for levels A1, A2, B1, B2 and C1, published by Ediciones UC .

For the person in charge of the UC Spanish program, the difference between a student who goes through these classes compared to someone who does not have this linguistic support is considerable.

“The former show a better and more fluid academic performance in all areas, have a better attitude towards culture change and carry out better socialization, which translates into a better relationship with Chilean and Spanish-speaking classmates, more friendships with Chileans and more fluid communication with their teachers and their host families. Many times the experience of these people is so gratifying that they want to return to our country or extend their academic semester in Chile”, he comments.

One of the challenges for Español UC in 2022 is to return to participation levels before the pandemic. For this, they have implemented online courses for the lowest levels (A1 and A2) and once again offer face-to-face classes with open and closed agreements, for international students who come to spend one or more semesters at UC , as they also have special programs. for professors and doctoral students who are at the university.

“We want to promote immersion in our language, full of passion, history and tradition, through different face-to-face and online alternatives, which will allow them to have a harmonious approach to our culture, benefit from the experience of teachers and other students from different parts of the world generating a unique and positive experience”, mentions Cristián Bonilla, Coordinator of Special Programs & Liaison of the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs (VRAI) .

“We want to promote immersion in our language, full of passion, history and tradition, through different face-to-face and online alternatives” – Cristián Bonilla, coordinator of Special Programs & Liaison of the Vice President for International Affairs (VRAI)

Beginnings and projections
It was in 1990 that the Catholic University began to register an increase in international students, after the opening of the first exchange programs with North American universities. These students, who were non-Spanish speakers, needed support to have a better academic and social experience at our university and in Chile.

This initiative made the UC Spanish program the first program teaching Spanish as a second language in Chile and one of the first in Latin America. Through its classrooms, during these almost three decades, more than 4,000 students have studied.



As a projection, in June and November 2022, they will offer the first certificate of Spanish as a foreign language backed by the Catholic University. “We are super proud of that. As of this year we can offer a high quality certification, which caters to our local (Chilean) and regional (Latin American) variant”, says the head of the program.

These achievements –such as the production of texts to learn Spanish or the certification that will be launched soon– “make us the most important center for Spanish as a foreign language or second language in the country and we are aware that we must always keep ourselves updated and attentive, to offer the best linguistic and cultural experience for those who want to study with us at UC”, reflects Gloria Toledo.

Courses for diverse audiences
In addition to Spanish courses for international students, Español UC also offers Spanish classes to support extra-academic audiences, covering labor or diplomatic areas. Thus, since its operation began, several foreign companies and diplomats from different countries began to take classes in our program.

“We have private programs, individual or group, in which public outside the UC academic field participates. We offer, for all programs, courses in grammar, conversation, culture or for specific purposes such as in the areas of health, commerce, business, local and regional culture, among others”, says Toledo.

Comments are closed.