Bridge News

BridgeEnglish in Denver Selected for Chilean English Language Initiative

 BridgeEnglish in Denver was recently selected by the Chilean government from among a competitive pool of language providers to host two very special young students, Bastián and Alonso, for three weeks of English language study and cultural immersion. These students were chosen as part of a pilot program for an innovative Chilean initiative, known informally as Pasantía Estudiantil en Estados Unidos (student internships in the U.S.), which is designed to increase English fluency within the country.

This forward-thinking program provides funding for various municipalities throughout Chile to send its most outstanding and innovative young people from across a range of disciplines to study or take part in internship projects in the United States. By going beyond English study programs, the initiative represents a new model in the country’s quest to improve the fluency of its students.

Unlike similar education initiatives undertaken by the Chilean government, such as BECAS Chile (study abroad scholarships) or English Opens Doors (teach abroad program), Pasantía Estudiantil en Estados Unidos also represents a marked shift in the way federal funds are typically allocated for such a project, by giving autonomy to local schools (school districts and school directors) to receive and distribute special funds from the federal government. The project that Bastián and Alonso took part in, for example, was promoted by Liceo Polivalente Juan Arturo Pacheco Altamirano, in their city of Chillán Viejo, and was financed by the local municipality using the federal funds received.

Schools that receive this funding are then tasked with designing innovative projects for students that meet the ambitious program requirements of demonstrating impact in education. Although some projects involve studying English in the U.S., as Bastián and Alonso did at Bridge, other projects focus on different aspects of educational innovation, such as impacting instructional methodology for teachers or learning outcomes for students, or improving managing skills for directors and educational leaders. Specific projects have included the creation of language labs, improvements in the infrastructure of elementary schools, and the construction of special gyms for students.

For these projects, local school leaders (director and head teachers) first have an internal competition at the school to select students like Bastián and Alonso. They seek candidates who are not only excellent students in English, but who are exemplary young people, demonstrating strong values, and acting as role models and leaders. Then, the municipality chooses a program in the U.S. from among the many who apply for the opportunity to host students. The municipality of Chillán Viejo chose BridgeEnglish.

Bridge was honored to be chosen through this process to be part of Chile’s Pasantía Estudiantil en Estados Unidos program and to provide this life-changing study abroad experience for Bastián and Alonso. As an organization with offices in Chile for over three decades, Bridge supports the Pasantía Estudiantil en Estados Unidos program as yet another aspect of the country’s well-established national policy of increasing English language proficiency and educational standards for Chileans.
 Read more about Bridge Education Group partnerships in Latin America to increase language fluency and bridge cultures: Proyecta 100,000 – Sharing culture and strengthening ties between the USA and Mexico