A delegation of ten architecture students and four academics from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand visited Universidad de La Frontera within the framework of a cooperation agreement with the Faculty of Engineering and Science.
During their stay in Chile, the delegation of academics and students of the Bachelor of Architecture and Future Environments of Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in New Zealand visited the Andrés Bello Campus and Pucon Campus of Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) and got to know some of the beautiful landscapes of the La Araucanía region.
The delegation, consisting of Dr. Yvonne Chan, the Director of Engagement of the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies; Dr. Charles Walker, the Head of the School of Future Environments; Dr. Ricardo Chacón Mestre, the International Partnerships Manager of the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies; Tessa Forde, a teaching assistant and PhD student; and ten students of the Bachelor of Architecture and Future Environments, visited the La Araucanía region’s lake area and the city of Temuco, getting an idea of the intercultural aspects that have defined the local and part of the national architecture.
Some of the points addressed in the meetings with university authorities of UFRO, such as the Vice-rector for Research and Graduate Studies, Dr. Rodrigo Navia Diez, and the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Dr. Jorge Farías Avendaño, were the collaboration in research, academic and student mobility in the areas of undergraduate and graduate studies, and the project proposal for a new Architecture study programme at UFRO.
At the same time, the students had the chance to interact with their peers of the Construction Engineering and Civil Engineering programmes at UFRO. These encounters made their five-day visit to the La Araucanía Region even more enriching.
In this context, it is worth mentioning that this academic trip, financed by the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Latin America (PMSLA), took place within the framework of the AUT “Study Tour” course, which allows the students from New Zealand to visit different cities in Latin America. In the case of this group, they selected Valparaiso in the centre of Chile, visiting the university Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, and Temuco in the south of Chile, visiting Universidad de La Frontera through its Faculty of Engineering and Science.
At the end of their visit, the students of AUT presented the conclusions of their stay in Chile and the projects they are currently working on in the fields of social housing, urban landscaping, incorporation of indigenous values and identity associated with public spaces, among others.
“We are very happy about this visit, which is part of a work plan that we are implementing in a very proactive and reliable way, to advance, among others, in the development of an architecture undergraduate programme at our faculty, and in matters of student mobility and issues related to interculturality. Visits like these allow us to complement our views and are a direct benefit for the students of both universities,” explained the Dean Dr. Jorge Farías.
The delegation from AUT also had a very positive impression of the work developed at UFRO during their stay. “New Zealand and the La Araucanía region have a lot of things in common, but there are also a lot of differences, what motivates us even more to work together, since it will benefit both universities.
Interculturality, for example, is one of the topics that truly connects both of our countries,” pointed out Dr. Ricardo Chacón.
“We are making progress regarding the partnerships with these two universities and we are excited to see that there are so many opportunities for creativity in Chile, with the additional element of indigenous values. In our architecture study programme, the Maori culture and others are very present and UFRO, in its project proposal for an architecture study programme, could add the worldview of its indigenous peoples, too. That is one of the aspects that motivates us for this collaboration, as well as the possibility of carrying out joint research,” added Dr. Yvonne Chan.
The student Cleo Arminglat from New Zealand was also very happy about this opportunity. “We really like the La Araucanía region, because it is very similar to New Zealand, even in its volcanic history. It was very interesting to talk to other students and to share our experiences of studying in different countries. I also improved my Spanish and learned a lot about engineering and architecture in Chile,” she explained.
The visit and activities were organised by the Internationalisation Unit of the Faculty of Engineering and Science of UFRO, through Susana Candia Palma, within the International Cooperation Agreement, which primarily focuses on the fields of undergraduate and graduate education, research, interculturality, gender and outreach.
Written by: Daphne Bormann Parada