Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights

Key Features

 Buenos Aires Madres Plaza de Mayo

This program provides firsthand experience with different types of grassroots organizations fighting for human rights and social welfare in Argentina. Students are exposed to the ongoing struggles of social movements working for justice and equality, including workers taking on factory bosses, peasants fighting to maintain their livelihood, and indigenous peoples organizing to retain their land and identity.

Program components
In addition to the in-country orientation and evaluation period, the program consists of the following components:

  • A six-week homestay in Buenos Aires during which time students receive intensive Spanish language instruction and begin the Research Methods and Ethics course and two thematic seminars on social movements and human rights. Students undertake short field visits around the city to social and human rights organizations.
  • Three weeks of educational field excursions throughout Argentina, a trip to Patagonia, a trip to the northwestern region, and a visit to the Bolivian border
  • A four-week Independent Study Project

Engage in service projects with members of the local community.
In addition to program coursework, students engage in hands-on community work. While in Buenos Aires, they can choose among a variety of volunteer opportunities including working at a shelter for women who are victims of violence, a cultural center for kids and muralists, a school, or a community health center. 

Students also participate as a group in one-day projects in diverse environments, such as helping in a soup kitchen in Salta, working with Mapuche women to build an indigenous community center in Patagonia, and painting a mural with underprivileged children at a daycare in a Buenos Aires shantytown. With an emphasis on giving back, community service components are integrated into the program's educational excursions to northwestern Argentina and to Patagonia, and as an optional activity during the time in Buenos Aires. 

Meet with an array of activists in social movements and human rights organizations.
Students engage with activists from a broad array of backgrounds including:

  • Traditional human rights organizations such as the Madres de Plaza de Mayo
  • Memorials of the dictatorship such as "ESMA"
  • Workers' cooperatives such as Chilavert
  • Neighborhood organizations such as La Alameda
  • Social movements such as the Movimiento de Trabajadores Desocupados (MTD)

*Note: The list of organizations the program visits may change depending on each semester’s calendar.

Rapidly advance your Spanish.
Students receive intensive instruction in Spanish through the program's three-credit language course. Based on in-country evaluation, students are placed in intensive  classes and obtain additional language practice during the homestays, lectures, and field visits.  Language courses are delivered in interactive, small-group formats; there are typically no more than seven students to a class. Additionally, students are encouraged to take advantage of the myriad daily opportunities presented by a Spanish-speaking environment which provides a source of constant learning. Students are encouraged to go to the theater and enjoy other cultural offerings in Buenos Aires.  

Independent Study Project
Students 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 them. The ISP is conducted in Buenos Aires or another approved location appropriate to the project.

Sample topic areas for the ISP include:

  • Labor rights
  • Environmental rights
  • The memory and memorialization
  • Indigenous rights and community
  • Art as a tool for social transformation
  • Issues of identity
  • Women’s rights
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Rights of migrants
  • Children’s rights

During the ISP, students integrate different components of the program as they conduct an in-depth investigation of a social movement or organization in Argentina. Students utilize their Spanish and cultural skills and apply the academic knowledge they have acquired while interacting with host communities.

The ISP is a unique opportunity to build a solid foundation for further research for a senior thesis, Fulbright fellowship, or graduate school.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Buenos Aires

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: 3 semesters Spanish and relevant coursework.


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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