Examine the social and economic development strategies of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Spend six weeks in Buenos Aires.
In Buenos Aires you will attend lectures, visit relevant sites and get to know grassroots and community leaders. You will also visit three other cities: Asunción, Paraguay; Montevideo, Uruguay; and São Paulo, Brazil (fall semester), or Porto Alegre, Brazil (spring semester). All locations feature a full agenda of university lectures and seminars, interaction with civil society organizations, and visits to institutions important to present and past regional processes.
Rapidly improve your Spanish.
Lectures are delivered entirely in Spanish, and outside the classroom you will have numerous opportunities to improve your language skills, including living with a local family.
Explore economic and social realities of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) countries.
Learn about Afro-descendent and indigenous movements; women’s and LGBTQI struggles; the transnational movement of goods and people (south-south migration); and regional and global chains of production and reproduction.
Discuss similarities and differences among these four countries and important transnational and regional processes.
Through visits and lectures, you will 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. The program focuses on development models followed by each country and their environmental consequences, as well as transnational economic and political practices in the context of neo-extractivism (the expansion of soy exploitation, for example).
Learn about the introduction of genetically modified seeds and the social, environmental, and economic impacts of mono cropping.
In the past, regional farmers across the MERCOSUR countries produced a variety of grains. This has changed because of rising soy bean prices and market demand. Today, MERCOSUR farmers produce mostly soy beans. Argentina is the world’s third-largest producer after the United States and Brazil. This transformation in Argentina’s agricultural structure has created social conflict and 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 will be lectures and excursions on this topic at different points in the semester, where you will be presented with contrasting views around the production benefits of soy and potential risks for the future.
Choose between an internship or an Independent Study Project (ISP)
Choose to complete either an internship or an ISP during the final four weeks of this program. During an internship, you will work with a local organization or business in Argentina or Paraguay to develop professional skills and gain real work experience. For an ISP, you will conduct field research and write an academic paper that engages with your research. Read more about the internship and ISP.
Critical Global Issue of Study
Development | Economy | Inequality
Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in sociology, political science, economics, or development studies, as assessed by SIT. Three recent semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent and the ability to follow coursework and assignments in Spanish, as assessed by SIT.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- Social realities and changing political frameworks in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay
- Top-down transnational processes that include regional integration through state-led institutions such as MERCOSUR (Mercado Común del Sur / Southern Common Market), UNASUR (Unión de Naciones Suramericanas/Union of South American Nations) and others
- Grassroots transnational processes such as migration in the region and political and social movements.
- Theory and development practice from economic, environmental, and human perspectives.
The following syllabi are representative of 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.
- Transnationalism and Regional Processes in the Southern Cone – syllabus
- (LACB3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- This course provides students with a general overview of regional integration processes in Latin America by looking at some of its core institutions, including MERCOSUR (Mercado Común del Sur) and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), and examining them from the point of view of four countries of the Southern Cone. The course takes both an economic and international relations perspective, paying special attention to current transformations and development processes within southern countries and their implications for regional integration. This course also explores the way in which transnational social movements agendas sharpen national and transnational politics and uses Uruguay and Brazil as major comparative studies to examine such issues as public policies around Afrodescendent populations’ rights, and the right to the city. Transnational studies have consolidated themselves across the social sciences in an attempt to provide an analytical framework through which to look at processes beyond the nation state and in order to understand regional processes, migration, development models, inequality, and the construction of citizenship in its various dimensions. Analysis of topics can be as varied as the formation of global commodity and care chains, political practices and struggles for citizenship followed by transmigrants, or transnationalization of social and environmental protests. The course examines different conceptions of governance, redefinitions of the role of the nation state, the restructuring of the economy (including economic inequalities), and different strategies through which social mobilization operates. This course is carried out in three different locations: Buenos Aires; Porto Alegre, Brazil (spring semester) or São Paulo, Brazil (fall semester); and Montevideo, Uruguay. All coursework is conducted in Spanish with occasional readings in English.
- Development and Social Change – syllabus
- (LACB3005 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- In this seminar, students explore theories of development and models of social change from an interdisciplinary perspective. An emphasis is placed on comparing Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil. In particular, students examine the expansion of the soy model in the region, studying its benefits and potential risks in economic, environmental, and human arenas. Throughout the seminar, students inquire into how marginalized and at-risk populations (for example, unemployed workers, migrant groups, indigenous communities, and women) are affected by these development strategies. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.
- Spanish for Social Sciences and Development I – syllabus
- (SPAN2003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Spanish for Social Sciences and Development II – syllabus
- (SPAN2503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Spanish for Social Sciences and Development III – syllabus
- (SPAN3003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Spanish for Social Sciences and Development IV – syllabus
- (SPAN3503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- This course allows students to hone their speaking, reading, and writing skills through classroom and field instruction. They practice reading professional social science literature as they learn both formal terms and local expressions needed to discuss development issues, to conduct field research, and to interact in settings (such as nongovernmental organizations and grassroots associations) related to the program themes. Students are placed in small classes based on an in-country evaluation that tests both written and oral proficiency.
- Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
- (ANTH3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- This research methods course is designed to prepare students to organize and conduct an Independent Study Project or internship. Students study and practice basic social science methods through lectures, readings, and field activities, with a special focus on qualitative methods. They examine the ethical issues surrounding field research related to the program themes and are guided through the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review process, which forms a core component of the course. By the end of the course, students will have chosen a research topic or internship placement, selected appropriate methods, and written a solid proposal for an Independent Study Project or internship related to the program themes. All coursework is conducted in Spanish, with occasional readings in English.
In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:
- Internship and Seminar – syllabus
- (ITRN3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
- This seminar consists of a four-week internship with an additional week for preparation and reflection. The internship will be carried out in Argentina or Paraguay with a local community organization, research organization, or international NGO. The organization will focus on the following topics: economic and human development; gender and development; human rights and development; migration and transnational issues; regional integration. The aim of the internship is to enable the student to gain valuable work experience and enhance their skills in an international work environment. Students will complete the internship and submit a paper in which they process their learning experience on the job, analyze an issue important to the organization, and/or design a socially responsible solution to a problem identified by the organization. The internship will be conducted in Spanish.
- Independent Study Project – syllabus
- (ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
- Conducted in Buenos Aires or in another approved location appropriate to the project, the Independent Study Project offers students the opportunity to conduct field research on a topic of their choice within the program’s thematic parameters. The project integrates learning from the various components of the program and culminates in a final presentation and formal research paper. One of the many advantages of this program is the wide range of themes that can be explored through the region. Sample topic areas: bilateral government-owned development projects; immigration policy changes; development of corporate social responsibility; women’s political participation; changes in political participation; eliminating child labor; sustainability of agricultural export production; gender issues; challenges of indigenous communities; environmental issues in the region; women’s agenda; political party strategies; implementation of agro-ecological and organic models for production; comparative policies between countries of the Southern Cone; implementation of fair trade policies.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Porto Alegre, Brazil (spring semester only)
Spend five days in Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, a state in southern Brazil, to learn about Brazilian history, politics, regional integration, and the construction of Brazilian identity. You will:
- Visit a camp and settlement of the Landless Workers Movement (MST), a national movement of individuals struggling to obtain land for small rural family producers. The MST stresses cooperative and organic food production.
- Meet university students at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) who have overcome widespread opposition and indifference to win admissions quotas for Afro-Brazilian students.
- Discover how the culture of an indigenous community is influenced by globalization.
- Lean about the challenges facing the descendants of African slaves living in an urban quilombo. Originally the settlements of escaped slaves, quilombos were places of freedom where residents could resist oppression and inhumane living conditions.
- Lean basic Portuguese.
São Paulo, Brazil (fall semester only)
On a five-day excursion to São Paulo, the financial center of Brazil and one of the most important cities of the Southern Cone, you will learn about Brazilian history, politics, regional integration, and the construction of Brazilian identity. This excursion is conducted in partnership with a nonprofit organization that develops research and seminars on labor relations and education. The excursion provides you the opportunity to:
- Hear lectures at the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas from well-known professors at the University of São Paulo on themes related to Brazil’s recent history and current reality, as well as the changing regional and international agendas of Brazil.
- Visit an international human rights organization, CONECTAS, to discuss inequalities in urban settings and talk with representatives of the World March of Women.
- Visit a Homeless Workers Movement occupation.
- Lean to samba from Afro-descendent youth at an evening talk and samba show.
- Visit a Landless Workers Movement school and settlement in São José dos Campos where workers are struggling to obtain land for small rural family producers. MST stresses cooperative and organic food production.
Delve into contemporary economic and political issues affecting Uruguay, the most equal and developed country within Latin America. Visit the headquarters of the regional trade organization, MERCOSUR, and the Association for Latin American Integration, ALADI, during a three-day visit to the capital, Montevideo. Attend lectures at Montevideo’s Universidad Nacional de la Republica that focus on the different interpretations of and challenges to regional integration in the South.
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, Asunción, you will study and analyze poverty, exclusion, and human rights violations. Throughout this five-day excursion, take advantage of SIT’s local partnership with Centro de Documentación y Estudio, one of Paraguay’s most important research institutions. You will also visits memory sites related to past dictatorships in Paraguay and other Latin American countries.
Program in a minute-ish
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Nuria Pena, PhD candidate, Academic Director
Nuria 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. Prior to becoming the academic director for the Argentina: Transnationalism and Comparative Development in South America program, Nuria was the assistant director and interim academic director of the Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights program. Nuria was born in Argentina and has lived and worked abroad for 12 years, mainly in London, Amsterdam, and Barcelona. She works as a consultant for international development agencies with a focus on gender and development. She worked for Oxfam International for five years, including several missions to West and Northeast Africa and parts of Latin America, mainly Brazil and Nicaragua.
Julieta Impemba, Homestay and Student Affairs Coordinator
Julieta completed her undergraduate degree in social sciences, humanities, and economics at Universidad Argentina de la Empresa. She joined SIT in 2012 and the following year assumed the role of homestay and student affairs coordinator. In 2013, she 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.
Pablo Morgade, Program Assistant
Pablo manages program logistics and helps oversee day-to-day activities. He has been associated with SIT since 2002. Pablo received his diploma in journalism from the Lomas de Zamora University and Taller Escuela Agencia. He has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of Argentine national newspapers including 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 host of a rock-and-roll radio show on FM La Boca. He is the co-author of Música y Dictadura – Porqué Cantábamos (Music and Dictatorship – Why We Were Singing).
Faculty and lecturers typically include:
Marcela Cerrutti, PhD
Marcella is in charge of the thematic seminar’s module on regional migration. She 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, 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 scholarships and fellowships from institutions such as the Ford Foundation, the Organization of American States, the Population Council of the University of Texas at Austin and others. She has also been a consultant for international organizations.
Ernesto Cussianovich, MA
Ernesto 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 a professor at Torcuato Di Tella University, teaching courses on Argentine history and seminars on the origins and evolution of the Peronist movement and budget and taxation. His research is in the area of Argentine economic history with a focus on fiscal history and taxation.
Alvaro Hugo Rico Fernández, PhD
Alvaro Rico is the academic coordinator of the program’s seminar in Montevideo, Uruguay. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from Moscow State University, Russia, and is a senior professor and researcher at the University of the Republic in Uruguay. 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 working on a research project on ideology and social imagination in Uruguayan recent history.
Ivaldo Gehlen, PhD
Ivaldo is academic coordinator of the program’s seminar in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He is a senior professor at Federal University of Rio Grande Do Sul (UFRGS) in Brazil. He holds a BS in sociology from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul; a master’s degree in sociology from UFRGS; 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. His 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.
Daniel Morais Angelim, MA
Daniel is academic coordinator of the seminar in São Paulo, Brazil. He holds a BS in history and a master’s degree in anthropology. He works in the areas of migration and labor, and labor and environment with the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas. His research relates to climate change, extractivism, and energy.
Laura Perelman, PhD candidate
Laura directs the thematic seminar’s module on social change in Argentina. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Buenos Aires and 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 and the United Nations Development Programme.
Germán Pinazo, PhD candidate
Germán is in charge of the thematic seminar’s module on economic development. He holds a master’s degree in political economics with a focus on the Argentine economy from 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, including “Desarrollo latinoamericano en el marco de la globalización” (2011), working papers, and other publications.
Quintin Riquelme, MA
Quintin 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 in Paraguay. He is a senior researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center for Rural Studies and at the Center for Documentation and Studies. 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).
Hernán Soltz, PhD candidate
Hernán is in charge of the thematic seminar’s module on regional economy. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Buenos Aires and is a PhD candidate at the same university. He is a member of the board of the National Commission of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Economy and Production. He is also an adjunct researcher with the Globalization Study Program at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Buenos Aires. He teaches at several private and public universities.
My Independent Study Project is far more than a program requirement or a project I’m doing for a grade
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.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
Live with a host family in Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires.
Living with a host family in Buenos Aires for most of the program, you will have the opportunity to improve your language skills and learn firsthand about urban Argentine life. Host families come from middle-class backgrounds and work in many different fields. Typically, they live in apartments or small houses located in the Recoleta, Palermo, Caballito, Villa Crespo, Boedo, Nuñez, and Belgrano neighborhoods, which are all relatively close to Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social, where many classes are held.
You will have the opportunity to engage in your host family’s daily routines such as shopping, family dinners, and visits with neighbors, as well as cultural activities such as 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.
Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project
You have the option to spend the final 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. The project integrates the various components of the program and culminates in a final presentation and formal research paper. One of the many advantages of this program is the wide range of themes that can be explored through the region. Sample topic areas for the ISP include:
- Bilateral government-owned development projects
- Immigration policy changes
- Development of corporate social responsibility
- Women’s political participation
- Changes in political participation
- Eliminating child labor
- Sustainability of agricultural export production
- Gender issues
Students on this program represent a wide variety of colleges, universities, and majors. Many of them have gone on work in areas that connect back to their experience abroad, including international NGOs, the Peace Corps, and development agencies and in finance, business, and migration.
Positions held by alumni of this program include:
- Fulbright scholars in Asia and South America
- Research associate in Tamil Nadu, India
- International education specialist in Washington, DC
- Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Santiago, Chile
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
- History and politics of Argentina and the Southern Cone
- Development, regionalization, and local production strategies
- Social change and recent trends on social conditions
- Regional issues and concerns
- Research Methods and Ethics course and Human Subjects Review
- Intensive language instruction in Spanish
- All educational excursions to locations such as Rosario, Argentina; Porto Alegre, Brazil (spring semester only); São Paulo, Brazil (fall semester only); Asuncion, Paraguay; or Montevideo, Uruguay, including all related travel costs
- Independent Study Project or internship (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $3,945
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, in the program base (Buenos Aires), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project or internship, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
- The homestay (12 weeks in Buenos Aires)
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.
Estimated Additional Costs:
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.
Visa Expenses: $320
Books & Supplies: $ 70
International Phone: Each student must bring a phone with them to their program.
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.
If you choose to complete an internship during the final weeks of this program, you will be placed with a local community organization, research organization, or international NGO in Argentina or Paraguay where you will gain work experience and develop professional skills. Many of these organizations are leaders in key development issues in the country or the region. Their work focuses on indigenous rights, LGBTQI rights, women’s development projects, migration, and transnational impacts. You may help in fundraising activities, social media, and/or in daily activities such as helping mothers and children in soup kitchens.
In addition to completing the internship, you will submit a paper that addresses your learning experience and analyzing an issue important to the organization. You may also choose to design a socially responsible solution to a problem identified by the organization.
Topics and placements vary according to each institution. Examples of internship placements and topics include:
- Centro de Análisis y Difusión de la Economía Paraguaya – Macroeconomy; international economy; poverty and employment; entrepreneurship; micro, small, and medium businesses; and regional development
- Centro de Documentación y Estudios – Sustainable development, women’s rights, transnationalism, chains of care and sexual reproductive rights, political participation
- Grupo Sunu | de Acción Intercultural – Intercultural relations
- Conamuri Paraguay – Peasants’ and indigenous women’s rights, agroecology, transnational social movements