Chile is a country on a mission – establishing itself as a leading economic and business hub in the region.
Already well-known for its dynamic domestic market, growing entrepreneurial spirit and superior infrastructure, the South American nation is looking to add another feather to its cap: fluency in the language of international business.
“Today we are awarding 6,000 English scholarships to students of every professional and technical degree,” announced Minister of the Economy Pablo Longueira, during a Santiago ceremony last week, “because the ability to understand English is increasingly necessary in order to grow… it is the universal language of business.”
Since 2008, the Ministry of the Economy and the Chilean Development Fund (Corfo) have jointly funded thousands of English scholarships. The project calculates that 12,000 Chilean workers and professionals have passed through a language training program thanks to a scholarship.
This year, the scholarships were both increased and expanded to include students in their final year of any type of professional education; university studies, technical institutes, and technical training centers, as well as students in post-graduate studies.
“We extended the program to include every degree, because we want to make Chile a more competitive and developed country,” said Hernán Cheyre, executive vice-president of Corfo, who also attended the ceremony.
“We want to give these scholarships to all Chileans, in order to breach the gap between the English language and our professionals.” Cheyre added.
The scholarships come in two sizes: one course of 100 classroom hours, and another of 200 hours. Applicants can choose the course based on their schedule allowances, and – if accepted – Corfo will pay 80 percent of the cost, leaving students to pay about US$200 or US$400, respectively.
Classes will be offered in each regional capital, as well as the following cities: Calama, Vallenar, Ovalle, Los Andes, Quillota, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Curicó, Chillán, Los Ángeles, Cañete, Angol, Villarrica, Panguipulli, Osorno, and Puerto Natales.