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Program Information:


Student by water in mountains
  • Earn 3 credits in 3 weeks studying the application of rural water supply systems in Chile

  • Travel to local communities and learn about rural water systems directly from the community members who run them

  • Engage and collaborate with local engineering students at the University Diego Portales

  • Live with a host family

  • Enjoy group excursions, museum visits, cooking class on traditional Chilean cuisine, walking architectural tours through Santiago and more

  • Participate in data collection for a case study of Chilean water systems


Missed the info session? View the presentation here!


Cerro San Cristobal view of Santiago

Located at the foot of the towering Andes Cordillera, Santiago serves as Chile's bustling capital city. Santiago has recently emerged as the country's cultural hub, and, due to strong economic development post-dictatorship, boasts a dynamic art scene, passionate history, leafy parks, and modern style.

Hot summers and mild winters make Santiago's residents extremely partial to the outdoors. Coupled with an explosive food scene, emphatic nightlife, and a diehard following of national team soccer (Chile is the current South American champion), Santiago's residents have reason to be some of the most enthusiastic in the world.

While Chile enters a period of economic prosperity, many parts of the country are still well-within the ranks of the developing world. Santiago itself, while on the economic rise, still exhibits high levels of inequality that is typical of the whole country. Its surrounding communities support this fact in full. Potable water systems, arguably the most important tool in the survival of rural communities, take many different shapes and forms according to the nuances and resources specific to each community.


All students live with a host family.

Homestays provide most meals for the duration of the program.


You are responsible for making your own transportation arrangements to Santiago and back (information about booking flights and on-site arrival details will be provided later).


  • Course: CVEN 4834 – Special Topics: Sustainable Potable Water Systems in Chile
  • Credits: 3 upper-division credit hours
  • Approved for: Fulfills an upper-division, technical elective requirement for Civil, Computer Science, Electrical and Environmental Engineering majors. It will count as an upper-division free elective for Aerospace, Engineering Physics, and Engineering plus. Also fulfills the the study abroad requirement and the upper-division, globally-focused course requirement for the Global Engineering minor.
  • Grading: This is a CU Boulder course, so you will receive letter grades
  • See Course Description

The program course is offered in conjunction with the University Diego Portales. The course will include class excursions and special guest lectures relating to the day's topics.


The program is directed by Dr. Karl Linden, a faculty member of the CU Boulder Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering. Dr. Linden's primary research area is water and sanitation issues, mainly in the context of developing communities. He Co-Directs the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities at CU Boulder and holds the Mortenson Professorship in Sustainable Development. He has traveled several times to South America, where he spent three years as the principal investigator of a project designed to connect U.S. students, local students and organizations working together on the topic of Sustainable Water and Sanitation Infrastructure.


  • Gilman Scholarship: For students currently receiving Pell grants as part of their federal financial aid.

  • Engineering majors: The College of Engineering & Applied Science is pleased to allocate summer scholarship money for credit-bearing programs through the Engineers' Global Summer Scholarship. Click the link for a list of eligible programs and further information.


Torres del Paine

Please note: By March 1 you must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the end of the program.

Program Reviews:
Summer 2017 Participant
The class is absolutely amazing. I learned so much, inside and outside of the classroom. Santiago has so much going on and the people are so welcoming and kind.

Summer 2017 Participant
I learned a lot in the class portion of the trip, more than I learn in most of my classes at the university here. The instructors were both top notch.

Ryan Michael Keliher, Summer 2017 Participant
As a first trip abroad with the university, the global seminar about sustainable potable water supply systems in Santiago, Chile provides me with the opportunity to dive right into a taste of development work. I learned first hand from local rural community leaders how they work with themselves, the government, and private water service providers to ensure a successful water service is provided to their communities. More so, living in Santiago provided me with the opportunity to get a taste of Latin America as well. The interactions with community members, the government, families, and friends was excellent and I gained an understanding of the politics that can be involved when doing development work in foreign countries. The ability to implement a case study while visiting rural communities to learn about their rural water system gave me a wonderful perspective into this field and I look forward to returning again for another adventure!

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline App Review Begins Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 01-MAR-2019 ** Variable TBA TBA

** Most programs’ applications are reviewed on a rolling basis (starting August 1st for Spring programs and January 15th for Summer and Fall programs). NOTE: Some programs start the admissions process earlier and fill before the deadline, and some programs’ applications aren’t reviewed until after the deadline. Check with Education Abroad staff for details.