Latin American Studies CCCU

CCCU Off Campus Study (10 - 12 credits plus 6 credits in one of four tracks)

Based in San Jose, Costa Rica, the Latin American Studies Opportunity introduces students to a wide range of experience through the study of the language, literature, culture, politics, history, economics, ecology and religion of the region. Through service learning and living with local families, students become a part of the day-to-day lives of typical Latin Americans. Students also take part in a service opportunity and travel for three weeks to nearby Central American nations. Students participate in one of four concentrations: Latin American Studies (offered both fall and spring terms); advanced language and literature (designed for Spanish majors and offered both fall and spring terms); international business: management and marketing (offered only in fall terms); and environmental science (offered only during spring terms). Depending on their concentration, students travel to nearby Central American nations including Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba and Panama. Students in all concentrations earn 16-18 semester credits.

Course Descriptions

Business Seminar and Community Immersion/Internship

3, 3-F only

International Business: Management and Marketing Concentration required courses. Students address fundamentals and application of international business. They experience the political, social, and economic realities of Latin America. Students will meet Latin American business and government leaders, visit plantations, cooperatives, maquilas, and local businesses as well as participate in a hands-on case study/ internship project. Presentations are delivered in English and Spanish, most required readings are in English. Prerequisite: Course background should include macro-/micro-economics and introductory-level management. Satisfactory completion of this program (grade C or better) fulfills the internship requirement for students majoring in business administration at Houghton plus students earn six business elective credits.

Core Seminar: Perspectives on Latin American History, Contemporary Issues


Required Core course. This seminar introduces the social, historical, political, economic, philosophical and theological currents that constitute Latin American society and culture. The course includes personal discussions with Latins and field trips to various sites. This seminar is designed to introduce students to the: • Historical development of Latin America, including selected case studies. • Variety of analytical perspectives from which Latin American reality is explained and understood. • Character, past and present, of U.S. policy in the region. • Nature and influence of the economic reality in the region.

Environment Science Seminar and Field Research Practicum

4, 2-S only

Environmental Science Concentration required courses. Participants in this concentration explore the natural sciences in a tropical setting and study their influence on the process of sustainability. Students are immersed in a variety of ecosystems: dry forests, lowland rain forests, mountain cloud forests, volcanic regions, as well as beautiful reefs. Costa Rica serves as a natural laboratory. Required prerequisites: One semester of zoology or an applied laboratory science. Recommended prerequisites: One semester of general chemistry or physics.

Language and Literature Seminar and Community Immersion/Internship

3, 3-

Advanced Language and Literature Concentration required courses. This concentration focuses on the social, cultural, political, economic and religious issues of Latin America in the target language. Students examine how Latin Americans view their neighbors to the north. As a part of this concentration students examine Latin America through its literature, using it as a means to examine society and culture. Designed for Spanish language majors with a minimum of one year of college or university intermediate Spanish and one semester of advanced Spanish conversation and/or composition.

Responses to Third World Reality Seminar and Community Immersion/Internship

3, 3-

Latin American Studies Concentration required courses. This concentration is interdisciplinary by design. Students are challenged in a seminar that includes diverse perspective, broad readings and group presentations which respond to scenarios drawn from the contemporary scene. Participants also gain valuable first-hand experiences in related service opportunities. In recent semesters, these have been organized in neighboring countries throughout Latin America. Prerequisite: Equivalency of one year of college Spanish.

Spanish Language Study


Required Core course. Students come to Costa Rica with varying degrees of fluency in Spanish, so LASP places them in the Spanish course that corresponds to each participant’s level of oral proficiency based on a placement exam and interview during the orientation. Students study grammar, conversation, phonetics and/or literature based on the results of their tests. Classes are taught by Latin Americans, which means participants hear and learn the language the way it is spoken in Latin America. This is reinforced during everyday interaction with Spanish-speaking host families.

Travel Practicum


Required Core course. The LASP group travels to several countries in Central America during the semester. The travel practicum component is not a vacation trip; it is an integral part of the learning process. Among other assignments, students will be required to attend conferences and maintain a journal of ideas and perceptions developed throughout the trips.

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