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2019 unrest more disruptive than Covid-19 in Chile

Social unrest in Chile led to more international students in the Latin American country changing their study plans than Covid-19, according to a new study published by Learn Chile.

Social unrest in Chile led to more students changing their study plans, than Covid-19. Photo: Pexels

"Some 778 international students responded to the study"

The Impact of Social Unrest and the Pandemic on Student Mobility in Chile study was carried out to determine the impacts of protests in the country and the global Covid-19 pandemic on student mobility.

“It is often said that crises also bring opportunities”

Some 44.8% of undergraduate or postgraduate foreign exchange students in Chile (in Semester 2-2019 and/or Semester 1- 2020) said they changed their study plans due to social unrest. By comparison some 27% of students changed their plans because of Covid-19. 

Source: Learn Chile

Researchers found that HEIs in Chile were actually better prepared for online teaching during Covid-19, because they had already had to adopt remote learning methods to cope with the unrest of 2019. 

“It is often said that crises also bring opportunities. The social unrest in 2019 led HEIs to take measures to facilitate continuity in the education of local and international students at home via online or remote formats, which were also rapidly implemented with the arrival of the pandemic,” the study read. 

Some 778 international students responded to the study, which was conducted by Learn Chile’s member HEIs and the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities

Researchers found that although a relatively small number of foreign exchange students did not change their plans due to Covid-19, a far larger number (64%) said that the pandemic had a high impact on their studies. 

Source: Learn Chile

The same number of students said that they had felt unsafe in Chile, at least some of the time during the pandemic. 

Source: Learn Chile

This study shows that despite the majority of students—both Chilean and foreign—indicating that the pandemic has had a high impact on their studies, this did not result in significant modifications to their study plans or their decision to remain in their destination countries and, therefore, on their learning experiences, according to the study,” the survey noted.

“This could be due to the fact that the vast majority of exchange students were able to continue with online programs, regardless of whether they decided to return to their home country,” the study read. 

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