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In this comparative study abroad program based in Buenos Aires, you will rapidly improve your Spanish while exploring the current economic and social realities of the countries comprising the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR). You will visit three additional MERCOSUR member states during group excursions.
The program is based in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, where you will spend six weeks attending lectures by local university professors, visiting sites relevant to regional integration and development, and getting to know grassroots and community leaders.
In Buenos Aires, European traditions coexist with new Latin American realities. It is a city of marked contrasts, where wealth and poverty coincide. Argentina is well known for its very active civil society, which has given shape to the city’s vibrant history and current challenges. A landmark in the city is Plaza de Mayo, the crossroads for political, social, and human rights activism.
During the period in Buenos Aires, you will be provided with numerous opportunities to improve your Spanish. In addition to classroom instruction, the program offers varied situations in which you can maximize your practice of the language, including living with a local family. Lectures are delivered entirely in Spanish.
The program focuses heavily on firsthand experience. In Buenos Aires you will visit a variety of social actors, including representatives of grassroots movements, local government agencies, worker-run enterprises, and housing cooperatives. You will observe the consequences of Argentina’s 2001–2002 economic crisis on various aspects of life and the coping strategies that are being implemented. As you spend time in different MERCOSUR states, you will greatly expand your knowledge of the region’s history; recent political and economic changes; the significance and role of grassroots movements; and the economic, cultural, and social aspects of regional integration.
You will spend the last four weeks of the program focused on an Independent Study Project (ISP), pursuing original research on a selected topic of interest to you. The ISP is conducted in Buenos Aires or another approved location appropriate to the project.
Sample topic areas for the ISP include:
For me, my Independent Study Project is far more than a program requirement or a project I’m doing for a grade that will transfer back to my major — it’s the culmination of years of travel, my personal goals, and my academic interests coming together into one.
Antonia DeMichiel, University of Oregon
Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in sociology, political science, economics, or development studies, as assessed by SIT. Four recent semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent and the ability to follow coursework and assignments in Spanish, as assessed by SIT.
Using an interdisciplinary approach, this program explores key theoretical and practical aspects of economic integration on the development of MERCOSUR countries. Students examine the history of the region, learn about the region’s principal actors, and these states’ prospects for continued social and economic integration. By traveling to different MERCOSUR member countries, students experience the many contrasts and convergences for themselves.
Language study and independent research also contribute to students’ enhanced understanding of the region’s people and overarching socioeconomic issues.
Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.
The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
In the past, regional farmers across the MERCOSUR countries produced a variety of grains. Recently, this has changed because of rising soy bean prices and market demands. Today, MERCOSUR farmers produce mostly soy beans, and Argentina is the world’s third-largest producer after the US and Brazil. This transformation in Argentina’s agricultural structure has created social conflict and has also introduced potential environmental risks. You will learn about the introduction of genetically modified seeds and the social, environmental, and economic impacts of mono cropping. There are lectures and excursions on this topic at different parts throughout the program, where you will be presented with contrasting views around the production benefits of soy and potential risks for the future.
During the spring semester, the program spends five days in Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, a state in southern Brazil. During this period, you will learn about Brazilian history, politics, regional integration, and the construction of Brazilian identity. The excursion provides the opportunity to do the following:
Over the course of five days during the fall semester, the program will visit São Paulo, the financial center of Brazil and one of the most important cities of the Southern Cone. During this period, you will learn about Brazilian history, politics, regional integration, and the construction of Brazilian identity. The excursion will be conducted in partnership with the IIEP, a nonprofit organization that develops and participates in research and seminars on issues surrounding labor relations and education. The excursion provides the opportunity to do the following:
Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city, is home to the headquarters of the regional trade organization of MERCOSUR as well as the Association for Latin American Integration (ALADI). During a three-day visit to Montevideo, and after a series of lectures in Buenos Aires and Montevideo (Universidad Nacional de la Republica), you will come to understand the different discussions and challenges around regional integration in the South. You will visit both the headquarters of MERCOSUR and ALADI and gain insight into contemporary economic and political issues affecting the most equal and developed country within Latin America: Uruguay.
Paraguay faces important challenges in terms of political and economic sustainability, with indigenous communities, peasants, and women’s social movements persistently fighting for a more inclusive country where their voices and interests can be heard. In the capital city of Asunción, you will study and analyze issues around poverty, exclusion, and contemporary and past human rights violations.
Throughout this five-day excursion, you can take advantage of SIT’s local partnership with Centro de Documentación y Estudio (CDE), one of Paraguay’s most important research institutions. The group also visits memory sites related to past dictatorships in Paraguay and other Latin American countries.
Nuria Pena graduated from London Guildhall University in the UK with a major in political science and a minor in French. She later earned an MA in political science from Leiden University and an MA in development studies from Nijmegen University, both in the Netherlands. She is currently a PhD candidate in social sciences at IDES-Universidad de Sarmiento. While she was born in Argentina, Nuria has lived and worked 12 years abroad, mainly in London, Amsterdam, and Barcelona. Over the years, she continues to carry out consultancy work for international development agencies on issues relating to development with a focus on gender and development. She worked for Oxfam International for five years in various positions, where she carried out several missions to West and Northeast Africa and parts of Latin America, mainly Brazil and Nicaragua.
Prior to becoming the academic director for the Argentina: Regional Integration, Development, and Social Change program, Nuria was the assistant director and interim academic director of the Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights program.
Julieta Impemba joined SIT in 2012 and, as of January 2013, she assumed the role of homestay and student affairs coordinator. In 2013, Julieta worked together with program staff and students to publish a book about women’s rights entitled Desarrollo y Derechos de las Mujeres: Participación y liderazgo en organizaciones comunitarias. Currently, she is also completing her undergraduate degree in social sciences, humanities, and economics at UADE University (Universidad Argentina de la Empresa).
As program assistant, Pablo manages program logistics and helps oversee the program’s day-to-day activities. He also assists students with any daily issues that may arise. He has been associated with SIT since 2002. Pablo received his diploma in journalism from the Lomas de Zamora University and Taller Escuela Agencia (TEA). He has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of Argentine national newspapers such as Pagina/12, La Nación, Clarín and La Maga. During the 1990s, Pablo worked in the Press and Cultural Promotion Department of the Secretary of Cultural Affairs and was the host of a rock-and-roll radio show at FM La Boca. He is the co-author of Música y Dictadura – Porqué Cantábamos (Music and Dictatorship – Why We Were Singing).
Dr. Cerrutti is in charge of the thematic seminar’s module on regional migration. Dr. Cerrutti holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Buenos Aires, a master’s degree in social sciences from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO ARGENTINA), and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. She is an adjunct member of the National Commission of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) and a full-time researcher for the Population Studies Center. She has received a number of scholarships and fellowships from important institutions such as the Ford Foundation, the Organization of American States, the Population Council of the Texas University at Austin, the Mellon Foundation, the Fogarty Program, the Antorchas Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Jacobs Foundation, among others. She has been a consultant for international organizations such as CEPAL, CELADE, PNUD, and UNICEF.
Mr. Cussianovich directs the thematic seminar’s module on Argentine history. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Buenos Aires and has completed postgraduate studies in the UK and Spain. He holds a master’s degree in economic history from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a diploma in management of nonprofit organizations from the University of San Pablo CEU, Madrid. He is currently a professor at Torcuato Di Tella University, teaching courses on Argentine history and a seminar on the origins and evolution of the Peronist movement. Additionally, Mr. Cussianovich teaches a seminar on budget and taxation in the Public Policy Department at Torcuato Di Tella University. His current research is in the area of Argentine economic history with a focus on fiscal history and taxation. He has also worked as a teacher and researcher at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and as manager of governance and society at the British Council.
Ms. Perelman directs the thematic seminar’s module on social change in Argentina. Ms. Perelman has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Buenos Aires and holds a master’s degree in political science from San Martin University. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Buenos Aires. She specializes in labor markets, government regulation, and union intervention in social conflicts. She has worked as an external consultant for the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Germán Pinazo is in charge of the thematic seminar’s module on economic development. Mr. Pinazo holds a master’s degree in political economics with a focus on the Argentine economy from FLASCO (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales). He is a doctoral candidate in social sciences at the National University of Buenos Aires. Currently, he is a professor and researcher of political economics at the National University of General Sarmiento. He is the author of several refereed articles, such as “Desarrollo latinoamericano en el marco de la globalización” (2011), working papers, and other publications.
Mr. Soltz is in charge of the thematic seminar’s module on regional economy. Mr. Soltz has a bachelor’s degree in economy from the University of Buenos Aires and is currently a PhD candidate at the same university. He is a member of the Board of the National Commission of Foreign Trade (Ministry of Economy and Production). He is an adjunct researcher with the Globalization Study Program at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Buenos Aires. He currently teaches at different private and public universities.
Ivaldo Gehlen is the academic coordinator of the program’s seminar in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He is also a senior professor at Federal University of Rio Grande Do Sul (UFRGS). Dr. Gehlen holds a BS in sociology from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (1975); a master’s degree in sociology from UFRGS, Brazil; and a PhD in sociology from the University of Paris X, Nanterre, France. He specialized in adult learning and integral rural development at the Regional Center for Adult Learning in Mexico. Dr. Gehlen’s research areas are social movements and agrarian reform in southern Brazil, rural settlements, inequality and social differences, social training in rural areas, agro-industry, and assessment of social realities in rural areas. He has taught classes on planning and management of projects for rural development as well as social inequality in rural areas.
Daniel Morais Angelim is the academic coordinator of the program’s seminar in São Pauo, Brazil. He holds a BS in history and a master’s degree in anthropology. He currently works in the areas of migration and labor and labor and environment of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas. His areas of research have been related to environmental issues such as climate change, extractivism, and energy.
Alvaro Rico is the academic coordinator of the program’s seminar in Montevideo, Uruguay. Additionally, he is a senior professor and researcher at the University of the Republic Uruguay. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from Moscow State University, Russia. In recent years, he has been part of a major and groundbreaking research project on the disappeared, state terrorism, and human rights violations under the last Uruguayan dictatorship (1973–1985). He is currently working on a research project on ideology and social imagination in Uruguayan recent history.
Quintin Riquelme is the academic coordinator of the program’s seminar in Asunción, Paraguay. He has a master’s degree in development with a concentration in social anthropology and the environment from the National University of Asunción (Paraguay). He is a senior researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center for Rural Studies (CERI) and at the Center for Documentation and Studies (CIEE). He also serves as Department Chair for the Faculty of Philosophy at the National University of Asunción. He is the author of Without Land in Paraguay: Land Conflicts and Peasant Movement (2003), CLACSO.
For most of the program (12 weeks), you will live with a host family in Buenos Aires. Living with a host family gives you the perfect opportunity to improve your language skills and gain insight into urban Argentine life. Through the homestay, you will discover the habits, customs, and values of Buenos Aires’ residents. Host families come from middle-class backgrounds and work in many different fields.
Typically, host families live in apartments or small houses located in the Recoleta, Palermo, Caballito, Villa Crespo, Boedo, Nuñez, and Belgrano neighborhoods, all of which are relatively close to Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social, where many classes are held. All host families share a strong interest in having a valuable educational exchange experience with their SIT student.
You will have the opportunity to engage not only in your host family's daily routines — which could include shopping, family dinners, and visits with neighbors — but also in cultural activities. Many students join their host family in visiting museums, going to concerts, spending time at neighborhood street markets, attending sports events such as soccer matches, taking weekend trips, or enjoying family celebrations, including birthday parties and national holidays.
Other accommodations during the program include small hotels and hostels.
SIT Study Abroad alumna describes how her experience studying abroad in Argentina positioned her for future academic success, including receiving a Fulbright grant.
Studying with SIT in Argentina gave me the opportunity to understand development and social change at a personal level and provided me with links to real communities and people whose daily lives are deeply affected by global integration and development. Read more.
A diversity of students representing different colleges, universities, and majors study abroad on this program. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect back to their experience abroad with SIT. Learn what some of them are now doing.
Alumni from this program are also working for international NGOs, the Peace Corps, and development agencies and in finance, business, and migration.
The dates listed above are tentative. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.
Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.
Application Deadline: Nov 1, 2015
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.