Argentina: Regional Integration, Development, and Social Change

Examine the social and economic development strategies of South America’s Southern Cone countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

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Spring 2012 student Antonia DeMichiel (University of Oregon) combines personal goals and academic interests: Her ISP examines the gap between Argentina’s accessibility laws and their implementation, specifically within Buenos Aires. Read more.

In this comparative study abroad program, students can rapidly improve their Spanish while exploring the current economic and social realities of the countries comprising the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR). Students visit three of the four MERCOSUR member states during group excursions.

The program takes advantage of the many factors that make the region so fascinating to study at this particular moment in history. Through the distinct lens each country offers, students consider the social, political, and economic challenges and opportunities these countries are facing in light of domestic, regional, and global shifts and processes of integration. Topics of study include:

  • Social realities and changing political frameworks in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay
  • Debates surrounding theory and development practice from economic, environmental, and human perspectives
  • Debates around Latin American integration

While living in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires—where the program is based—students attend thematic seminar lectures, receive intensive instruction in Spanish, and share daily life with their Argentine host family.

During field visits to multilateral political and economic organizations within the MERCOSUR region, as well as to nongovernmental agencies and public entities, students will explore and discuss development strategies, political and social grassroots movements, and different cultural identities in the region. Students also gain insight into each country’s perspective on Latin American integration, including perceived benefits and challenges of membership in the MERCOSUR bloc.

Lecturers for the program are drawn from prestigious institutions such as:

Experience the profound transformations underway in South America’s Southern Cone.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, after more than ten years of widespread neoliberal models of development in the region, some countries within the Southern Cone —  particularly Argentina —found themselves in a profound economic and political crisis. The 2001–2002 Argentine crisis and its subsequent effects in the region sparked a profound debate on sustainable development and economic models.

This debate again led to a change of direction within certain countries in the MERCOSUR bloc, whereby new alternative governments came to power advocating a more inclusive model. The debate is ongoing, as present governments face challenges and a new economic and political direction. Within this context, and ongoing geopolitical transformation in the region, the program looks at questions and themes including:

  • Is regional integration a way to overcome political and economic crises?
  • What social and political changes are promoted by the region’s different social movements?
  • What development alternatives are available to countries in the region?
  • What can we learn from the way Argentina’s crisis unfolded?

Students interested in issues of regional integration, development, and social change will find the Southern Cone particularly compelling.

Nicole Najad Alumni Stories


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.

Fall 2012 student Isabel Evans (Harvard University) talks about her experience before, during, and after studying abroad in Argentina.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Buenos Aires

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: 4 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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