Despite geographic distance and cultural difference, Chile and Australia have a lot in common.
Both are “new world” countries that carry significant economic weight for their relatively small populations, blessed with vast reserves of natural resources along the Pacific Rim, and both escaped from the recent economic crisis relatively unscathed.
Over the last decade, Australia and Chile have signed a succession of bilateral agreements aimed at strengthening ties between industries and educational institutions, as both of the two countries seek to benefit from the other’s expertise and advantages.
One of those agreements is the Memorandum of Understanding that Chile’s National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (Conicyt) signed in 2007 with the University of Queensland (UQ) – the highest ranked university in the resource-rich state of Queensland – to facilitate collaboration in the areas of research and innovation cooperation, including human resources capacity development.
As part of that arrangement, a group of 14 high achieving Chilean engineering students in their final year of undergraduate studies are traveling to the Brisbane campus for an eight-week “Research Skills Training Program.”
Aside from improving their English, the students are given the opportunity to partake in UQ research programs, which are renowned for their strong industry links.
“The students were partnered with UQ research mentors for eight weeks from February to March 2012, to learn more about a range of UQ engineering research projects first hand and to undertake a mini-research project of their own,” said Phillip Fredericks of the UQ’s Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education (ICTE-UQ) about the 2012 Chilean students.
“They were also able to tour the inner workings of four of the university’s world-class research facilities and attend a series of workshops on how UQ has successfully commercialized its research activities to deliver real benefits to industry and communities around the world.”
Inversely, Chile offers Australian and other foreign students an opportunity to study at some of the best universities in Latin America, one of the world’s fastest growing economic regions.