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  • Locations: La Serena, Chile
  • Program Terms:  
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description:
HWS  J-Term Faculty Led Program
Stargazers and Dreamers in Chile: Literature and Astronomy in Chile
Led by: Leslie Hebb and May Farnsworth

Country Description:
Chile’s dramatic landscape has captured the attention of scientists and fiction writers for centuries. The Atacama desert, where the arid climate offers the clearest viewings of the night sky, is especially promising for astronomers seeking to recover and reconstitute the universe’s past and to situate the human world within it. Nobel prize winning poets, Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, masterfully weave images of the vast night sky and the desert scenery into cantos about intimacy and struggle in the human experience. Authors of fiction and memoir in the post-Pinochet era, such as Ariel Dorfman and Isabel Allende, employ metaphors derived from nature in works focused on human survival, social justice, and mourning.

Course Description:
CHIL 155 Stargazers and Dreamers in Chile: Literature and Astronomy in Chile offers an interdisciplinary exploration of astronomy and nature, the human experience, and literary expression in Chile. Students will engage in astronomical observations, literary discussions, and cultural activities in three weeks of study in La Serena Chile. Field trips will expose students to diverse aspects of Chile's natural environment and cultural production and assignments will give students the opportunity to engage in astronomical study and literary analysis.

Themes and Focuses of the Course:
  • Experience astronomical observing in the peaks of the Chilean mountains
  • Learn about national literary production, including the works of Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, María Luisa Bombal, and Antonio Skarmata
  • Travel to parks and nature reserves in Chile, linking observations of the natural landscape with the poetic function of nature in Chilean literature
  • Participate in Spanish-language training
  • Experience day to day life in Chile -- buying food, shopping, taking the bus, going to parks and beaches, experiencing the Chilean culture
Faculty Directors:
Hebb HeadshotLeslie Hebb joined the department of physics at HWS in 2013. Her research interests include discovering and characterizing planets around other stars, measuring fundamental properties of low mass stars, and understanding magnetic activity on stars other than the Sun. Professor Hebb is an expert in astronomical observing. She has observed with telescopes all over the world in Hawaii, the Canary Islands, Europe, Arizona, and Chile. She has travelled to Chile about a dozen times since 2003. She will guide the students through taking the data with the telescopes and then analyzing it to obtain simple scientific results. Contact e-mail:

Fansworth HeadshotMay Farnsworth is a professor in the Spanish and Hispanic Studies department at HWS. May Farnsworth has experience traveling with HWS students abroad, having led the 2009 program in the Dominican Republic, where she led excursions to cultural sites and natural parks and taught a course on gender in Dominican literature. She teaches classes ranging from basic Spanish grammar to integrated courses on literature and culture in Latin and America. Contact e-mail:

Chile Flag
Travel Dates:
Tentative Dates: Dec 26 2017-Jan 14 2018.

HWS Info Session:
Sept 20, 7:30pm, Merritt Hall 100

Application Deadline:
Monday, October 31, 2016 by 11:59pm (Apply online).

Itinerary Highlights:
  • A 3-day/2-night trip to the Cerro Tololo Observatory in the desert mountain outside of La Serena
  • A half-day city walking/cycling tour of the history and architecture of La Serena
  • A half-day Museo Historico Casa Videla & Museo Arquelogico in La Serena
  • A day long excursion to the Fray Jorge National Park, a coastal cloud forest in Northern Chile
  • A day long visit to Reserva Natural Pinguino de Humboldt, an island nature reserve home to marine mammals, sea birds, and nesting penguins
  • A trip up the Paso de Agua Negra, a high mountain pass over the Andes with views of untouched alpine mountain scenery
  • A visit to the Observatorio Comunal Cero Mama Yuca and nearby Vicuna
Housing and Meals:
During time in La Serena, students will stay at a large hostel or in homestays within the downtown area. All meals will be included as part of the program cost. 
During the first week of the program, Professor Hebb will take students up to the Cerra Tololo observatory in groups of 8 students. Each group will spend 3-days and 2-nights on the mountain obtaining astronomical data for their science projects. There is a motel and several 4-person houses on the mountain along with a kitchen and dining room with kitchen staff. Students will stay in 2 of the 4-person houses and all food will be provided by the dining staff at the observatory.

Chile photo collage

Photos (from left to right): Main square downtown La Serena; Elqui Valley; Plaza de Armas

Group flights will be arranged by the CGE and accepted students will be notified of the cost and booking info for the flight once it’s available. Due to specific travel restrictions the group flight must be booked through our travel agency. The group flight will be MANDATORY for all students. No separate travel plans into Chile are possible at this time.
Passports and Visas:
All students will need a passport valid until at least 6 months after the return date. Non U.S. citizens should see Anthony Mandela in the CGE about potential visas as soon as you are accepted.

Chile does not present a noteworthy health risk. Nonetheless, Hepatitis A and typhoid immunizations are recommended for many travelers. Please check the CDC website to read more about the recommendations. If you choose to get immunizations, you can do this at a local medical clinic near your home - use this link to find travel medicine clinics  - or possibly with your home doctor or you can contact one of the Passport Health offices in Canandaigua, Rochester or Syracuse who provide travel immunizations. Their contact number is: (585) 275-8884.

III. Eligibility

Course Pre-requisities:
  • All accepted students will be required to attend a Readers College in association with this course the fall 2017. This course will meet once a week. All accepted students will need to register for this course in April of the previous spring semester.
  • Students will also be required to have the equivalent of one semester of Spanish or permission of instructor for the program. Students are encouraged to participate in Spanish conversations through the Spanish teaching fellows and the Reader's College.
Important note on Application Criteria and Course Credit for Short-term Programs.
Qualified first-years, sophomores, juniors and graduating seniors may apply. First-years, sophomores and juniors will have priority and seniors will be admitted on a space-available basis.
GPA Requirement:
Students applying for this program should have a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA. In the case of first-year students, we will have to wait until your fall 2016 grades are in before we can formally admit you. Provided there are spaces available, first years with successful applications may be given a conditional offer based on achieving at least a 2.5 gpa in the fall semester.

Course cross-listings and credit:
This course will be cross listed in Physics and Spanish & Hispanic Studies. The fall semester Readers College will count for a half credit, and the three week J-term course will count for one credit.   
The J-term course has been approved by the HWS Committee on Academic Affairs to fully satisfy Goal requirements #4—experience of scientific inquiry OR Goal #7—multiplicity of world cultures. It fulfills a major or minor requirement in Spanish, Latin American Studies, or Environmental Studies and also satisfies a minor requirement in Physics. Advisors in related fields may allow you to count the course for major/minor credit, but students should discuss this with their advisor and department chair in advance.


Program Fees:
Chile program fees are $2,900-$3,300. The cost will cover tuition, accommodation, most meals (with the exception of travel days and excursions), international mandatory health insurance, entrance fees, day trips and excursions and local travel in Chile.

Students should budget an extra $350-500 above and beyond the program costs for the any meals not included in the program fee. Students will also need to budget for round-trip airfare (JFK-Santiago, Chile) at approximately $1,100 - $1,300, books at $150, and a non-refundable administrative fee of $100 charged for all faculty-led short-term programs, and the cost of any desired or recommended immunizations. The administrative fee will show up as a separate charge (separate from the program fee) billed to your student account.

*Costs are subject to change based on currency fluctuations, changes in costs of services provided and the number of students confirmed on the trip.

Chile budget calculator: CLICK HERE (updated 10.3.17)
In an effort to assist students in financial hardship wishing to participate in a short-term program, there is a limited pool of HWS funding available. If you are accepted to this program, we will invite you to submit a funding application. Funding will be allocated on a need basis and we will contact the financial aid office to verify your need status. We will also contact the Student Affairs office and the Dean’s office to access your social/disciplinary records as part of determining your eligibility for funding. We will let you know whether you have been awarded funding before the deadline by which you are required to put down a deposit for your place on the program.

Payment Schedule and Program Timeline:

After applying and being accepted to the program, students will need to make a $500 deposit in person to the business office in Demarest Hall to hold their place in this program. This amount will be credited to your student account and will be applied to your program cost.
 Application Deadline  DUE: Oct 31, 2016  11:59pm online
 Decision Date  Nov 21, 2016  aid applications available at this time
 Funding/aid Applications  DUE Nov 30 2016  
 Funding Decisions Made  Dec 7 2016  
 Deposit Deadline  DUE: Dec 16 2016  $500.00
 Program Billing Date  Oct 03 2017  Balance charged to student account
 Final Payment  DUE: Nov 03 2017  Remaining balance due

Please note: Students must make the initial non-refundable deposit to the business office in Demarest Hall. Program fees for the remainder (lump sum) of program will be automatically billed to the student accounts separately. Installment payment plans may be worked out on a case by case basis with the business office.

Cancellation Policy:
The initial $500 deposit is non-refundable. Students will be responsible for additional expenses beyond the $500 if they withdraw from the program while it’s in progress or 90 days or less before the program begins. Specifically, students will be held accountable for any expenditures made by HWS on their behalf that the CGE is unable to recoup from any untimely withdrawal, such as housing deposits, non-refundable hotel reservations, excursion deposits, etc.

Questions? If you have questions about this program, please contact Anthony Mandela in the Center for Global Education at 315-781-3663 or


Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.