Study and find schools in Uruguay
Uruguay is a small country of 3.3 million inhabitants on the Atlantic coast of South America, in between Argentina and Brazil. Though unremarkable in terms of its size and profile on the world stage, Uruguay is set apart from its neighbors by its prosperity, beauty, and overall stability. It has one of South America's most highly developed economies, and low levels of corruption and economic inequality has helped to develop a reputation as a small oasis of stability in the developing world. It is also known for being politically progressive, as it was the 1st country in South America to legalize same-sex marriage and commitment to a clean environment is considered to be a model for countries around the world. With its lush tropical rainforests, and busy urban centers, Uruguay provides a uniquely beautiful setting in which to pursue an education.
Overall, Uruguay has an effective education system, and its primary and secondary schools are significantly better than those in most neighboring countries in South America. Politically and culturally, education is seen as extremely important, and a high priority is placed on ensuring that children get the education that they need to succeed. Uruguay's literacy rate, at 98.3% is the highest in the region–an indication of the Uruguayan people's commitment to education. Recent developments have included the enactment of a “one laptop per child” program that seeks, as its name suggests, to place the cheap and reliable portable computer in the hands of every primary school student.
Primary and secondary schooling in Uruguay is good, but it is certainly not without problems. The main issue facing primary and secondary education in Uruguay is a severe imbalance in population density. Uruguay has a few large cities in which 80% of the population reside, while the rest of the country is extremely sparsely populated. The result of this is that urban schools are severely overcrowded, while rural schools serve only a few students at a time, and lack of funding, resources, and staff prevent them from meeting the needs of students. There are, however, programs going into effect that promise to address many of these issues by providing more adequate equipment for students and teachers in the country.
Education in Uruguay is free from kindergarten through the undergraduate level, and a college education is nominally available for every Uruguayan citizen. In practice, economic facts prevent many poor and working class students from taking advantage of the availability of higher education, but the efforts of the government to extend education to all citizens have nonetheless had a marked effect on the quality of higher education in Uruguay.
Of the 5 universities located in Uruguay, all are in the capital, Montevideo. Though they are few in number, they are diverse in terms of size, structure, and academic programs. With 4 private universities and one large public university, Uruguay's higher education sector has a number of options for domestic students and foreign nationals alike. Although most popular programs are prestigious professional specializations such as law, engineering, medicine, and economics, technical and vocational training is also available.
Study in Montevideo, Uruguay
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital and chief port of Uruguay, located in the country’s southernmost tip on the banks of the Rio de la Plata. As of 2011, Montevideo, which has a total land area of 200 square miles, had a population of 1.8 million people, or roughly half of Uruguay’s total population. This is a big difference from the population numbers of 1860, when the country had only 60,000 inhabitants, many of whom were of African origin who’d been brought to the region as slaves. It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century that Uruguay saw a huge surge in population—a surge that can be directly attributed to the massive waves of European immigration during that period.
In 1908, Montevideo’s population had soared to over 300,000, a number that would continue to grow exponentially during the course of the 20th century with the continued influx of both Western and Eastern Europeans. Today, people of Spanish and Italian heritages are the most prevalent group in the country, followed by French, German, Dutch, English and Irish from the West, and Polish, Greek, Hungarian, Russian and Armenian from the East. These Europeans (called “white” in the census) account for nearly 90 percent of the total population, and while the national language in Montevideo is Spanish, there are many ethnic neighborhoods in which other European languages are spoken regularly.
Montevideo was founded by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala in 1726, following a dispute between Spain and Portugal over the “platine region,”—the region along the banks of the Rio de la Plata—and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia de Sacramento. After changing hands several times, including being under British rule briefly, Uruguay and the city of Montevideo won independence from the Empire of Brazil in 1825. Significant historical events in Montevideo include the Battle of the River Plate in World War II; the Montevideo Convention of 1933 that established a treaty between 19 nations of the Americas, and playing host to the first round matches of the 1st FIFA World Cup Soccer Tournament in 1930.
For families or students planning to relocate to this beautiful city, if even for a short time, what you’ll find is the housing situation in Montevideo is much more favorable than it is in most Latin American countries, as construction is dominated by the public sector and financed by a large National Mortgage Bank. Low-cost quality housing, made from durable materials, is available for workers, pensioners and students—housing that comes complete with indoor plumbing and private toilet facilities. Because of these types of housing efforts, the percentage of home ownership in Montevideo is much higher than in other major South American cities, with 55 percent of the population owning a home versus 30 percent who rent.
Montevideo is a bustling metropolis, a place where you’ll find everything you need to be content, including hundreds of stores offering food, clothing, shoes, electronics and more. The city has well over a dozen banks, two spacious libraries, bars, nightclubs, activity centers and hundreds of restaurants where you can either get a quick bite or enjoy a leisurely 4-course meal. There are parks, movie theaters, fitness centers and soccer clubs to serve as diversions from your busy life, all of which are easy to get to thanks the excellent public transportation system in the city.
The Dirección Nacional de Transporte (DNT), which is an integral component of the national Ministry of Transport and Public Works, is directly responsible for the organization and development of Montevideo's transport infrastructure. The DNT offers a comprehensive bus service network covering the entire city, and is served by two large terminals and hundreds of convenient stops. Additionally, the State Railways Administration of Uruguay (AFE) operates three convenient passenger rails, the Empalme Olmos, San Jose and Florida, which shuttle passengers to and from Montevideo’s suburban areas and throughout the city’s downtown district.
Everything about the city of Montevideo makes it a great place to study, work and live, including its mild subtropical climate. The city’s southern location produces four distinct weather seasons, characterized by cool winters and warm summers, and its annual rainfall of 37 inches leaves plenty of time for enjoying the wonderful sights, sounds and tastes the city has to offer. Some of these attractions include the city’s magnificent architecture, ranging from colonial to Art Deco and influenced by Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and British immigrants; the Plaza de Independencia, a plaza that offers shopping, dining, the Solis Theater and the Palacio Salvo; the historically significant Gaucho Museum; and miles upon miles of white sandy beaches.
Montevideo is unique in that it effortlessly combines the activity and commerce of a large metropolis with the character and intimacy of a small community. Perhaps this is why the consulting group Mercer Human Resource Consulting recently named Montevideo the city with the highest quality of life in Latin America.