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Social Change in Central America: Peace, Justice, and Community Engagement
Experience the life and culture of the peoples of El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica, including indigenous populations, immigrants and refugees to Costa Rica from El Salvador and Nicaragua. Learn with and from grassroots community organizations dedicated to work on issues related to conflict, foreign policy, gender, and economic and social justice. The unique histories and lives of the people not only inspire, but also challenge students to think about their role as agents of change.
- Learn about diverse approaches to environmental conservation, sustainability, economic issues, and social justice.
- Frequent guest speakers, excursions, and hands-on active learning to immerse you in the community and culture.
- One-on-one Spanish language class with native Spanish speakers. All Spanish levels are welcome, from beginners to native speakers!
- Participate on a program run by an organization dedicated to social justice, which uplifts the voices of underrepresented and marginalized peoples in all programs.
- Host family stays with welcoming and friendly families in each country.
- Travel to three countries in one semester - El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica, with additional travel within each country.
Courses are taken on a block schedule (one course at a time). All students will take the following courses, completing 16 Augsburg University credits during the semester:
- Spanish – up to 12 course choices available from beginning to advanced
- Latin American Liberation Theologies and Social Change (Religion 336)
- Citizen Participation with a Globalized Economy (Political Science 310)
- In the Aftermath of War: History, Memory and Transitional Justice in Central America (History/Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies 355)
Students will spend a total of seven weeks living and learning in Guatemala. One-on-one language classes provide unlimited opportunities to practice Spanish. Students will live with families and take Spanish language courses in Panajachel, situated in the stunning Lake Atitlan region. In addition to Panajachel, students will travel and experience other areas of Guatemala, such as the Colonial City and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Antigua, and additional rural areas throughout the country. Students will stay in a mixture of lodgings and with families throughout all of these excursions.
Upon departing Guatemala, students will travel to El Salvador. Students will travel throughout El Salvador for their Latin America Liberation Theology course, learning from local experts, visiting various churches and other historical sites.
In Costa Rica, students’ center of operation is the Latin American Biblical University, which serves as a space for classes and as a residence hall before moving in with families for the remainder of the semester. Students will stay with local families in the Cedros de Montes de Oca, a diverse middle class neighborhood, located just outside the capital city of San José.
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