Program Site: School for International Training (SIT) in Managua, with study trips to the Caribbean coast, northern Nicaragua, and El Salvador.
Eligibility: Minimum 3.0 GPA and at least three semesters of college-level Spanish (four or more semesters are preferred, as students must be able to follow coursework in Spanish).
Description: SIT is a pioneer of experiential, field based study abroad. Students learn from a variety of sources, including small seminars and discussions with academics, policymakers, and field professionals which offer a comprehensive perspective of local, regional and global issues, including Latin American political and social movements. The program offers the opportunity to conduct an independent research project. Students participating in this program are encouraged to consider a minor in Latin American Studies, offered through the Department of Spanish & Portuguese.This program is not designed to meet the academic needs of Spanish majors and minors.
Academics: Students take an intensive Spanish language course (3 units); two interdisciplinary seminars entitled Beyond Revolution: Encountering Globalization (3 units) and Identity and Social Transformation in Nicaragua (3 units); Research Methods and Ethics (3 units); and spend the last month of the program working exclusively on an Independent Study Project (4 units). All courses except Research Methods and Ethics are conducted in Spanish. The interdisciplinary seminars cover topics such as political and economic history, social movements and civil society, coastal culture and identity, the El Salvador experience, and peaceful democratic transition. As part of the course, students visit a rural area and live with a family that is part of an agricultural cooperative.
The Research Methods and Ethics course focuses on the concepts of learning across cultures and from field experience. Students receive an introduction to the Independent Study Project, and topics covered include project selection and refinement, field study ethics, developing contacts and finding sources, and data gathering, organization and communication.
Students conduct their Independent Study Project (ISP) during the last month of the program and produce a substantial research paper. Recent topics from USC program participants include: "Sostenibilidad y Autogestión en Programas de Seguridad Alimentaria en Nicaragua", "In Between Borders of Distance and Time: Salvadoran Emigration, Transnationalism and the Social Impacts on Those Left Behind”, “Shipping Out: Reason, Realities, and Ramifications for the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua” and "The 2008 Municipal Elections According to Nicaraguan Women: Nihilism, Hope, and Pragmatism."
Course load and Credit: Students take five courses for a maximum of 16 USC units.
Activities and Other Program Features: Though based in Managua, students embark on several educational excursions. They include a five-day trip to Bluefields on the Caribbean coast to meet representatives of the Creole and Garífuna communities and discuss issues of autonomy and indigenous rights, and a week in El Salvador to compare the two nations’ experience.
Accommodations: Students live in homestays in Managua. Other accommodations during the semester include small hotels, private homes and hostels.
Dates: Fall or Spring. Fall semester runs from late August to mid December. Spring semester runs from mid/late January to mid May.
Estimated Semester Cost:
Cost Updated: 12/12/11
Text Updated: 08/08/2012
*Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student). USC financial aid, scholarships, and tuition remission may be applied to program costs. Please visit the Office of Overseas Studies for more detailed cost information.