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Chile: Wild Patagonia - Fire and Ice (SFS)


Todd Heidt

Director, Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Patagonia is a land of fire and ice. Here, massive glaciers and active volcanoes form a wild landscape unlike any other. Spend a semester amid soaring peaks, narrow fjords, and fields of ice as you study the conservation and the impacts of climate change. For most people, the trails of Torres del Paine National Park are a sought-after destination, but for you, they’ll become classrooms for research and field work. Starting from our Center near Puerto Natales, embark on expeditions to the southernmost tip of South America and the volcanic lakes region of northern Patagonia to become familiar with the region’s full scope of diverse ecosystems. The semester ends with an extensive research project in the field.

  • Hike through the dramatic landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park, and take an expedition to neighboring Argentina and the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Cross the Strait of Magellan to Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost part of South America, where you’ll see penguin colonies and explore glacial fjords
  • Journey to northern Patagonia’s lakes region, home to the beautiful Valdivian forests, the active Calbuco and Osorno volcanoes, and massive blue whales

The Center for Climate Studies  is located near the town of Puerto Natales, gateway to the famed Torres del Paine National Park. Campus includes a number of shared bunk rooms, a dining hall and kitchen area, and lounge spaces for studying and relaxing.

This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in Chile.

Major academic themes include:

  • Climate change resilience
  • Glacial dynamics
  • Geology and volcanic activity
  • Penguin behavior and endangered species protection
  • Coastal and alpine ecology
  • Conservation strategy and practice
  • National park visitation and management

On the Wild Patagonia: Fire and Ice program, you will take three 4-credit disciplinary courses, one 2-credit language and culture course, and a 4-credit capstone Directed Research course. Courses are participatory in nature and are designed to foster inquiry and active learning. Each course combines lectures, field exercises, assignments, tests, and research. All courses are taught in English.

Learn more about the SFS Chile: Wild Patagonia - Fire and Ice program.

Credits: 4.5 Knox credits for successful completion of the fall semester (Fall only)

Advisor: Professor Katherine Adelsberger

Click here for more information about the application process, program selection, and more!

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Printed on Monday, May 23, 2022