World view: Conversations with our international students

World view: Conversations with our international students

By Kalsey Larson '08
News intern

Last fall, the University of St. Thomas enrolled 258 graduate students and 63 undergraduates from countries outside the United States. To help you get to know some of them, Bulletin Today presents a periodic column, "World view." Today's column profiles Chile.

Located in southern South America, Chile is bordered by Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and 6,435 kilometers of coastline on the South Pacific Ocean.

Chile was under Inca rule until the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. In 1810, Chile declared its independence in a victory over Spain In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile won its northern regions by defeating Peru and Bolivia. Chile has maintained sound economic policies and increasingly assumed regional and international leadership roles befitting its status as a stable democratic nation.    

Here are a few facts about Chile, courtesy of the CIA World Factbook:

  • Total area: 756,950 sq. km., slightly less than two times the size of Montana
  • Capital: Santiago
  • Currency: Chilean peso
  • National language: Spanish
  • Population: 16,432,674 (July 2006)
  • Government type: Republic
  • Literacy rate: 96.2 percent
  • Religion: Roman Catholic 89 percent, Protestant 10.9 percent and Jewish 0.1 percent

What you might not know:

  • In Chile, dinner is rarely served earlier than 9 p.m. and often runs as late as midnight.
  • Chile's No. 1 export is copper, and the world's largest open-pit mine is found at Chuquicamata in northern Chile.
  • Most peaches imported to the United States during the winter months come from Chile.

Diego and Claudio Jaque-Pino, brothers from a small town outside Santiago, Chile, are studying at the University of St. Thomas. Diego began studying in the United States through a high-school exchange program but didn't make many friends – except for a bus driver named Paul.

One day, Paul invited Diego and his brother on a tour of the Twin Cities. He took them everywhere, including a drive to see the beautiful houses on Summit Avenue. "I was so lost that I did not know where I was," Diego said. "Then we passed St. Thomas and I saw the architecture."

Diego asked Paul what those buildings were and was told that they were part of "a very well-known and prestigious university."

"From that moment on, I decided to attend UST. I began to do research about the university and, after my second try, I was accepted. I can say that I fell in love with UST at first sight."

Diego believes attending St. Thomas has been one of the best decisions he ever made. He has been encouraged to challenge himself and grow as a person, mentally and spiritually. "It has been wonderful to go to class knowing that I am going to learn something important that I can apply to my life," Diego said. "It has been awesome to meet people from around the United States and the globe."

Diego enjoys playing tennis and soccer and eating his favorite American foods – pizza and hamburgers – with the people he has met and with his brother. While he misses Chile's warm and predictable weather, ease of transportation and slower day-to-day pace of life, Diego has been very happy with his time at St. Thomas.

"Sometimes I see Claudio on my way to class, in the library or even at work," said Diego. "We talk for a while and find out how each of us is doing in school and other activities. It is great to have him here because we are the only two Chileans on campus."