Our first company visit to the Chilean American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Chile) was a great way to start off the week to get some background information on the country of Chile. Our company contact was John Welby who is an American that has been living in Chile for eight months. His role with AmCham Chile includes market studies and special projects, such as giving presentations to MBA classes like us.
Topics covered during the presentation included the stable Chilean economy, the relatively new democratic government, trade between the US and Chile, foreign direct investment in Chile, and education in Chile. Several questions were brough up during the meeting regarding public education in Chile because we heard about the large disparity between the upper and lower class. We heard that there is government funding available for higher education, but a lot of red tape to go through to obtain the money. Chileans seek out funds, but give up because the process is too complex and takes too much time. We heard a story regarding middle school students protesting for a better education, which shows that there is awareness even among the young students that improvements need to be made in the education system. Hopefully in their future, they will take action and seek out funds from the government for higher education and come back and help improve public education for younger generations.