Built upon dozens of steep hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Valparaíso boasts a labyrinth of streets and cobblestone alleyways, embodying a rich architectural and cultural legacy. Nicknamed “The Jewel of the Pacific”, Valparaíso was declared a UNESCO world heritage site based upon its improvised urban design and unique architecture. Founded in 1536, Valparaíso is not only one of Chile’s most important port cities, it is also its third largest city. Valparaíso remains a source of inspiration for artists of all types, including the well-known Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. Students can visit Neruda’s seaside home in Valparaíso, as well as the Chilean Congress. Offering strikingly beautiful views from the top of its numerous hills, it is reminiscent of San Francisco. Valparaíso, or Valpo for short, is a city where students can amble away an afternoon exploring its steep and winding streets, peppered with colored houses and electric lines, and admire the sparkling Pacific Ocean below. It is also only a two-hour bus ride away from Chile’s capital city, Santiago.
API gap year participants in Valparaíso have the opportunity to participate in local community service projects promoting green initiatives and environmental awareness in the city, working with local non-profits, and teaching English through local community groups. Participants can also improve their Spanish language skills through the completion of a Spanish language and conversation course at a local language institute. One-month, two-month, and three-month placements are available.
“It was perfect in every way! I came to Chile with some personal goals, and I am happy I met them."