Chile Exchange Program
by Julienne Grant
View of Valparaiso from Neruda's house, La Sebastiana
I was fortunate enough to participate in the Loyola Chicago School of Law's "Legal Systems in the Americas" seminar this spring. The seminar, which is team-taught by three Loyola professors, is part of the law school's ongoing exchange program with the Universidad Alberto Hurtado (UAH), a Jesuit university in Santiago, Chile. Four students and a professor from UAH visit Loyola each fall, and the Loyola seminar class travels to Santiago during spring break. I have been assisting students and professors on both ends of the exchange for the past three years, which led to my interest in participating in this year's course.
Chilean Law Introduction
Along with the spring break trip, the 2008 course featured two UAH guest lecturers, who each spent several weeks in Chicago earlier in the year. The UAH professors spoke separately to the class about various aspects of Chilean law, including criminal procedure reform, taxation, and the civil law tradition. One of the professors also guest lectured in my foreign and international legal research course where he discussed legal research in Chile. The UAH professors' talks collectively provided an invaluable introduction to Chilean law for those of us who travelled to Santiago over spring break.
While in Santiago, I accompanied the class to the U.S. Embassy, and to the Centro de Justicia building where we sat in on a pre-trial hearing, talked to the sitting judge, and visited the detention center. We also heard several lectures at the UAH campus, including a talk on Chilean business law, as well as a detailed description of Chilean legal education. Other features of the Santiago trip were a tour of the Palacio de la Moneda, Chile's Presidential Palace, and a visit to an organic vineyard. Students on the trip also visited Carey y Cia., the largest law firm in Chile.
During my stay in Santiago, I also had a chance to visit several libraries--the UAH main library, and the general and post-graduate law libraries at the University of Chile. At the UAH main library, I had a tour, and talked with Library Director Patricia Ortiz about Chilean libraries and the profession of librarianship in Chile. At the University of Chile, I met with Library Directors Nora Carrion and Mirtha Muñoz, and also had an opportunity to tour their beautiful facilities. I found these professional exchanges to be one of the highlights of my time in Chile, and I am very grateful to the UAH professors who helped arrange the meetings.
Along with the professional part of the trip, I had some time on my own to explore and sightsee. As a long-time student of the Spanish language and Hispanic literature, it had always been my dream to see the three Pablo Neruda houses in Chile. Luckily, I had time to fulfill that dream, and saw all three--La Chascona in Santiago, La Sebastiana in Valparaiso, and the most famous in Isla Negra. The Valparaiso and Isla Negra homes are situated on the Chilean coast in absolutely spectacular settings. I also got to the resort towns of Viña del Mar and Reñaca, part of the "Chilean Riviera," and had fun soaking my feet in the bitterly cold, but beautiful, Pacific Ocean. Santiago also had some noteworthy attractions, including the famous Mercado Central, and the wonderful Museum of Pre-Columbian Art.
My entire experience in Chile was extremely gratifying, great publicity for our law library, and a wonderful example of faculty-librarian cooperation. I am looking forward to continued involvement with the exchange program--now with a greater knowledge base and understanding of the Chilean legal system.