Center for Climate Studies


In Chilean Patagonia, towering pinnacles clash with rivers of ice, and life persists in the face of challenging seasonal extremes. Penguins, foxes, sea lions, and guanaco are just a few of the region’s hardy wildlife. Situated in the Ring of Fire, Patagonia’s stunning, snow-covered volcanic range presents an unmatched opportunity to study complex geological and seismic processes.



Wild Patagonia: Fire and Ice

Spend a semester amid the soaring peaks, massive glaciers, and narrow fjords of Patagonia, where the trails of national parks like Torres del Paine become your classroom for research and field work. Embark on expeditions to the southernmost tip of South America and the volcanic lakes region of northern Patagonia to study climate change impacts, diverse ecosystems, and conservation in one of the world’s most iconic regions.
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15 Weeks
18 Credits

Spring 2023

Jan 26 - May 9

In The Field

Fall 2023

Sep 1 - Dec 12


summer session I

The Patagonian Winter

Spend your summer studying the biodiversity and fragile habitats of southern Chile. The trails of national parks like Torres del Paine and the expansive Patagonian steppe become your classroom as you explore the region from high-alpine forests to glaciers to the lower-elevation steppe. You’ll practice animal observation and census techniques on species like the guanaco, Andean condor, and elusive puma, and explore how nature adapts in extreme conditions.
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04 Weeks
04 Credits

Summer 2023

Jun 2 - Jul 2

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What Students Are Saying:

“Here at SFS Chile, mountains are not just a pretty backdrop. Forests are not mere scenery to gaze at. Parks are not boxes to be checked on a to-visit list. They are lecture halls and laboratories, sources of knowledge and reflection and inspiration. I have had unique opportunities to dive in firsthand and experience these landscapes for what they were, what they are today, and how they will continue to change.”
– Jack, Dickinson College

“There is a magic about Torres del Paine that makes even the steepest of hills at 5am bearable, when the stars shine overhead, the Torres lie before you, and a first peek of the sun is visible over the horizon.”
– Cayley, Mount Holyoke College

“This semester has flown by quicker than expected and I am honestly quite sad to return to the states. I am going to miss the constant field work and classroom time spent outside of the actual classroom. I love being able to learn about the ecosystem and then be able to spend time in it. A full circle.”
– Luke, North Carolina State University


Where You'll Be Living

Surrounded by the jagged peaks of Cerro Dorotea and the deep blue waters of the Señoret Channel lies the port city of Puerto Natales, the gateway to the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. Located in the heart of this tourist hub is the SFS Center for Climate Studies, your home base for expeditions throughout the region.

  • Up to 6-person, dorm-style rooms with shared bathrooms
  • Classroom and student lounge
  • Kitchen and dining room, and on-site cooking staff
  • Just a few blocks from the town square, shops, and cafes of Puerto Natales
  • Short walk to the Señoret Channel, a scenic fjord with views of the Andes
Click here to read stories from students, staff, and faculty on our blog


Program Costs

Study abroad is an investment in yourself – you’ll return home with new experiences, skills, knowledge, and friendships that will stay with you for the rest of your life. SFS program costs cover a variety of expenses, including:

  • Pre-program advising and on-site orientation
  • Tuition and research fees
  • Housing at the field station and on excursions
  • Daily meals and snacks
  • Airport transfers (for arrival/departure)
  • Field excursions and cultural activities
  • Student success and wellness team on site
  • 24/7 mental health and well-being support
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Official transcript processing

View the Chile Program Costs

Financial Aid

SFS Financial Aid: Need-based aid packages typically consist of a combination of scholarships, grants, and zero- and low-interest loans. SFS matches Federal Pell Grant funding for students applying to an SFS semester program.

Home School Aid: Be sure to ask your home school study abroad office or financial aid office what financial aid resources might be available to support your study abroad experience.

External Funding Opportunities: Organizations such as the Fund for Education Abroad or the Gilman International Scholarship Program award scholarships to students going abroad. These can be a great opportunity to reduce the cost of your program even more.
Learn More about Financial Aid




The research agenda at the SFS Center for Climate Studies mirrors the goals of the Chilean government’s 2017 national plan on climate change. This plan identifies four themes for action: adaptation, mitigation, means of implementation, and climate change management on the regional and communal levels. Students work with community members, NGOs, and local landholders to measure and observe vulnerable ecosystems as Patagonian climatic conditions continue to change.

Our research focuses primarily on the following themes:

  • Climate change impacts and resilience
  • Conservation policy
  • Glacial and freshwater dynamics
  • Aquaculture and aquatic ecology
  • Alpine and post-glacial ecology
  • Protected areas management

Environmental Issues

Our Centers are strategically located in regions facing critical environmental issues. Students and faculty study these issues and collect data to help facilitate sustainable responses. In Chile, we will be investigating the following issues:

Climate Change
Biodiversity Conservation
Land Use Change
Tourism Impacts
Natural Resource & Water Management
Sustainable Livelihoods
Learn More About the Issues


Puerto Natales, Chile

SFS is a newer member of the Puerto Natales community, where we have been based since Fall 2018.

We are in the process of establishing our program and building relationships with the community. In the past few semesters, students have participated in volunteer projects, assisted in local conservation initiatives, and played sports in town.

At the end of each semester program, we host a Community Research Night where select students will present their research findings to the community. SFS research data is shared with the community, local NGOs, and the Chilean government.

Read stories from students and staff

Meet the Chile Team

Paola Goich

Program Manager
Meet Paola

Shaw Nozaki Lacy, Ph.D.

Lead Faculty, Resident Lecturer in Patagonian Ecology
Meet Shaw

Sarah Cotter

Health and Wellness Manager
Meet Sarah

Paola Mancilla

Program Assistant
Meet Paola