Chile: Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Community Empowerment

Educational Excursions

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Street vendors in Putre

Educational excursions are an important component of the Chile public health program and provide different contexts in which to examine healthcare delivery in Chile and Peru. Program excursions may include field visits to public health centers throughout Arica and surrounding valleys, including community medical centers, hospitals, public health centers, rural health facilities, mental health centers, and women's health centers.

Longer excursions include traveling to Tacna, Peru; the rural area of Putre in the Chilean Altiplano, where the Aymara population lives; and Temuco/Nueva Imperial in southern Chile, home to the Mapuche community.

Putre (Northern Chile)
An excursion to the Chilean highlands exposes students to the health practices and beliefs of the Aymara. The excursion introduces students to a rural health system, Chile's intercultural health system, alternative medicine, and the Aymara's cosmovisión. During this excursion, students experience northern Chile's impressive natural beauty through visits to Chungara Lake, Lauca National Park, and Lauca Biosphere Reserve.

Tacna, Peru
The excursion to Tacna allows students to observe some of Peru's successful health programs focused on improving healthcare in rural communities. Students examine specific health campaigns targeted to improve the healthcare of some of Peru's poorest communities. During the excursion to Tacna, students also visit meaningful historical and cultural sites such as the Museo de la Guerra del Pacífico, Peruvian craft centers, and colonial churches.

Temuco/Nueva Imperial (Mapuche Region)
Students experience the unique Chilean intercultural hospital located in the town of Nueva Imperial. Students explore health beliefs and practices of the Mapuche people, while considering issues of access related to alternative methods of health treatment. This excursion sparks debate on the topic of multiculturalism in relation to healthcare. Students have the opportunity to learn firsthand how policies and politics surrounding healthcare affect indigenous people in Chile. Students also have the opportunity to experience the region's beautiful volcanoes, valleys, and forests.


Costs Dates



Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Arica

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: Coursework in public health, development studies, community or social sciences, or other related fields; 4 semesters college-level Spanish. Read more...

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)


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