Santiago is flanked on the east by the lofty Cordillera de Los Andes with its snow-covered peaks, and on the west by the Cordillera de la Costa. It is a city of contrasts: its colonial vestiges and nineteenth-century buildings stand side by side with modern skyscrapers; its long shady avenues mingle with busy roads; and its plazas and parks are tranquil oases in the midst of the bustling metropolis. Although immersed in the hectic rhythm of this thriving city, its inhabitants maintain their hospitality toward foreigners. Leading Chile’s considerable cultural endeavors, Santiago boasts symphony orchestras, major dance companies, a host of professional theatre groups, a full slate of concerts and movie theatres, and attractive craft markets. Today Santiago has more than five million inhabitants, a third of the country’s population. Supplement courses with remarkable tour/field study trips to the north and south of Chile. Join cultural excursions to the houses of Pablo Neruda in Santiago, Valparaíso, and Isla Negra. Visit the attractive Pre-Columbian Arts Museum, Museum of the Memory, and Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center. Experience Santiago’s diverse cultural blend of Native, Spanish, and international residents. Take advantage of great opportunities for skiing, surfing, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Enjoy the benefits of a large urban city that has preserved the hospitality and accessibility of a small community.
Unnamed Road, Mount Abundance QLD 4455, Australia
Melbourne, Geelong and Warrnambool are all in the state of Victoria. Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state but has the second largest population, with approximately 5.2 million people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. It is a place of great contrasts—ocean beaches and mountain ranges, deserts and forests, volcanic plains and vast sheep and wheat farms. Victoria has national parks and forests teeming with wildlife; wineries, lakes and mountains offering climbing, hiking and skiing and the magnificent Great Ocean Road coastline, Australia’s premier surfing destination. The state has long been regarded as the cultural center of Australia, with a historic architectural elegance that characterizes the capital, Melbourne, and the regional cities. Victorians combine a strong cultural tradition with a contemporary and relaxed lifestyle, a distinct sense of community and a passionate interest in sports. Victoria also is the major center of education and research in Australia.
Bilbao is located in the north of Spain near the French border and has an international airport with direct flights to most large cities in Europe. Both Bilbao and Getxo (where most of the housing placements are located) are situated in an area of beautiful green mountains that face the ocean, making it possible to hike in the morning and go swimming in the afternoon. Close by, there are several picturesque coastal towns with great beaches that are easily accessible by public transportation. Bilbao is the poster city for successful urban renewal and the spectacular Guggenheim Museum of Art has ushered in an era of international tourism to the area; in urban renewal circles, the use of a revitalized cultural sector to kick start the renewal of a city’s economy is known as the “Bilbao effect.” Bilbao is home to some of the world’s most renowned architecture including: Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, the Euskalduna Music Hall and Convention Centre, Norman Foster’s Underground, Calatrava’s Bilbao airport, and other projects by architects such as Arata Isozaki and Cesar Pelli. Additionally, the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation has given its approval to expand around Urdaibai's Natural Reserve area. Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country with a population of approximately 350,000; the greater Bilbao region has just under 1,000,000 inhabitants. Bilbao was recently recognized by the Eurostat report as one of the top three safest areas in the EU. It is an extremely walkable city with a great transportation system that is efficient and safe. The city includes many pedestrian areas, including the old quarter with shops, restaurants, and coffee houses. There is also a bike path along the riverfront and through the main street of town. Getxo is a charming, coastal community popular for its beaches, lively nightlife, and diverse cultural activities. It is well connected to downtown Bilbao by subway (20-25 minutes away). Getxo is a relatively young town—80% of the population is below the age of 60—and it is not touristy, maximizing the opportunity for students to meet local peers. Getxo is known for its numerous outdoor activities and cultural events including: surfing, canoeing, hiking, rollerblading, paragliding, music festivals, a medieval market, and much more.