Bags are packed

The unpacking and re-packing are finished.  I am finishing up the last minute details to get ready to leave tomorrow.  I am really excited to be on my way.  I checked the weather and it will be in the 80s in Santiago and 60s in Valdivia.  I packed a coat and umbrella.  After arriving home last night with five checked bags and two checked carseats, it seems almost surreal to pack only one suitcase and a backpack.  My days of traveling this light have been in the past.  I will miss my boys like crazy, but I am thrilled to have this opportunity.  I am even looking forward to the drive, the flights and the airports.  What an adventure this will be!

Last Chile Meeting

We had our last Chile meeting this week.  It was a great time to get together one more time and talk about our trip.  Each person shared about one of the three Universities that we will be visiting.  These are some of the things that I learned:

*Universidad de Chile– It is the oldest university in Chile.  It boasts that 61% of Chilean presidents have graduated from here.  They have an enrollment of 31,000 with 25,000 undergrads and 6,000 graduates.  Over 1,400 international students study there from all over the world.

*Universidad Catolica de Chile– It is one of 6 Catholic universities in Chile and was declared a pontifical university by Pope Pius XI in 1930.  It was ranked the best Chilean university in 2009.  There are approximately 22,122 students with 3200 as graduate students.

*Universidad Austral de Chile– It was founded in 1954 and gained independence from Universidad the Chile in 1968.  It is located in southern Chile and has an enrollment of 11,000.  It considers itself a research university and is ranked 5th in Chile.  There are 10 PhD programs and 24 Masters programs

How does Virginia Tech compare?

*Virginia Tech– Has over 30,000 students.  It also considers itself a research university and ranks 44th in the United States.  There are 150 Masters and Doctoral programs. Attached is a pdf all about Virginia Tech.  Virginia Tech facts_and_figures_2010-11

It is going to be a great trip!

Higher Education in Latin America

Earlier today I was thinking about information of importance to our PFP Global Chile group as we prepare for our visit. Before we depart we should gather knowledge of the Latin American landscape for higher education with a focus on Chile. We will visit three universities and gain specific knowledge of each but we must understand these in the context of the country and continent.

In searching for materials, I came across a book written in 2005 about Higher Education in Latin America. It is available online via The World Bank here. The book includes country specific information as well as general trends and challenges for Latin America. I recommend chapters 1, 2, 5 and 11. In preparation for our gathering on October 20, please review the chapters.

My first blog

So far blogging does not seem that hard.  It is almost like a journal or a diary where I get to share my thoughts with countless unknown people.  Why am I blogging?  Well, I have been give the opportunity to study higher education and research in Chile for a week in January 2012.  It is very exciting.  As I prepare for this adventure, I have been asked to blog.

My goal for this week was to search for faculty that are doing research similar to me.  We are going to spend a majority of time at Austral University.  Unfortunately, their website does not list the faculty and their research interests.  I have had to be creative in finding possible contacts.  I tried Endnote, narrowing my search with Chilean published journals.  I found some potentials for the University of Chile and the Catholic University, but I struck out on Austral.  I then tried google scholar and found an article co-authored by a VT graduate student.  I am going to contact her next to see if she can give me some good ideas.

I guess what I hope to gain from these faculty meetings is an opportunity to see how research is conducted in Chile and how it is similar and different to how we conduct research here.  I would also like to understand what topics are most relevant in research compared to the US.  For instance, obesity is a huge focus in the United States.  Would it be the same for Chile?  Lastly, I would like to learn more about their teaching load, funding requirements and service to the University.  How does it compare to the US?

My outcomes for the trip are to broaden my horizons and how I view higher education.  I want to experience a new culture and become a more global citizen in my professional and personal life.  –Angela