Venezuela, officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America. Venezuela is considered a state with extremely high biodiversity, with habitats ranging from the Andes mountains in the west to the Amazon Basin rainforest in the south, via extensive llanos plains and Caribbean coast in the center and the Orinoco River Delta in the east. Since the discovery of oil in the early 20th century, Venezuela has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil and has the one of the largest oil reserves.
Venezuela lies in the northernmost part of the continent of South America. Geographically shaped somewhat like the US state of Texas, it is one of Latin America's most urbanized countries. It has the longest coastline of the Caribbean sea. The exotic islands Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago dot the Caribbean sea in proximity to the northern shore. In fact, the shoreline here could pass for one of the Caribbean vacation paradises.
Venezuela is the sixth largest South American country and is bordered by Columbia to the west and Guyana to the east. It is bordered by the Caribbean sea to the north, and the country of Brazil lies to the south. It is home to the world's highest uninterrupted waterfall. Angel Falls cascades over the edge of the Auyantepui mountain in the Canaimi National Park. It is one of the country's biggest tourist attractions. Venezuela also boasts South America's largest lake, the Maracaibo.
Venezuela is a land of great biodiversity for plant and animal life. This is because of the variety of habitats that exist in the country. The habitats range from the Andes in the west to the Amazon Basin rainforest in the south. Los Llamos, or the "plains" runs east of the Andes to form a tropical grassland. The main river is the Orinoco, the second longest on the continent. The Cordillera de la Costa mountain range crosses from east to west.
Venezuela's proximity to the equator is responsible for a steady in climate that is steadily unchangable. The two main times of climate are basically hot or wet. On the Los Llamos, the climate is extremely dry during the dry season. During the wet season much of the area has to be traveled by boat. Average annual temperatures range from 95.0 degrees F. in the humid lowlands to 46.4 F. in the glaciers and highlands.
Strict currency controls put into practice cause the Bolivar Fuerte (BsF) not to be easily converted either in or out of the country. The current official exchange rate is 6.3 BsF's per USD. This is offered at banks and a few bureaux de exchange.
A Parallel Market exists that trades for higher rates closer to the true value of the BsF. Rates fluctuate on the unofficial black market depending on inflation and demand for foreign exchange. This is the rate that which most everything in the country is based on.
The black market should be avoided by tourists unless positive about the entity trading. The safest exchange is the Tourist Rate and is offered by hotel and posada managers. Care must be taken. Once Euros or USDs are traded, it is difficult to trade back. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most places.
Study in Venezuela
Higher Education in Venezuela
Higher education in Venezuela is free for citizens as declared under the 1999 constitution and receives 35 percent of the education budget. In 2002, more than 70 percent of higher education students came from the wealthiest of the population. To address this problem, the government established the Bolivarian University System.
The government decided to funnel money into the university system rather than concentrating on improving primary and secondary education. In 2002, there were 860,000 students enrolled in higher education, making up 11 percent of the total student population. The number increased dramatically to 2 million in 2011.
Originally created by President Huga Chavez, UBV is part of Mission Sucre, a government scholarship program. In an effort to democratize access to higher education, politicized study programs to the public with minimal entrance requirements were established. The UBV has campuses in at least 335 municipalities throughout Venezuela.
The higher education institutions are divided into universities and technical schools. Universities award students with titles that translate literally into Engineer (Ingeniero) after completion of a five-year program. Some may award Diplomados with the time to obtain one varying.
Technical students are awarded the title of University Higher Technician (Técnico Superior Univeritario) or Licentiate (Licenciado) after completion of a three-year program.
Post graduate work is awarded with master's and doctorate's degrees as in the United States.
Popular Universities in Venezuela
The highest ranking institution in Venezuela is the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV). It ranks 33rd in all of Latin America rising from 52nd in 2011. The Universidad Simón Bolívar is a close second at 35th highest ranking.
Also making Latin America's top 100 is the Universidad de los Andes Mérida and Universidad Católica Andrés Bello.
Tuition Fees in Venezuela
The cost of university study for International Students normally includes tuition and fees, housing, health insurance, books and living expenses. Students who have or need an F-1 or J-1 visa must show their funding support based on the estimated cost of one academic year. This is done on a Promissory Note of Financial Support form.
The current estimated cost of one year for undergraduate students is $29,253 and $33,790 for graduate students. It should be noted that these estimates also include the cost of meals and personal expenses.
Eligibility for Study Visas
A Venezuela Student Visa is available to non immigrants for those wishing to pursue studies in the country. This can be obtained through your local Consulate or Embassy. Check their website to find out what documents are needed.
Why Study in Venezuela?
Venezuela has an excellent university system. In addition to a top education, you will be immersed in one of the most beautiful and geographically diverse countries in the world. It will be the experience of a lifetime.