Transnationalism & Comparative Development in South America

Video and Photos

Students in Uruguay
Students in Uruguay
Students riding bicycles
Students riding bicycles
Iguazu Falls in Paraguay during excursion
Iguazu Falls in Paraguay during excursion
Students in class in Buenos Aires
Students in class in Buenos Aires

About

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

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.

You can choose to complete an internship during the last four weeks of this program. For this internship, you will be placed with a local organization where you will gain real work experience related to the program’s theme and develop professional skills you can use in your career.

Highlights
  • Spend six weeks in Buenos Aires.
  • Rapidly improve your Spanish.
  • Discuss similarities and differences among these four countries and important transnational and regional processes.
  • Learn about Afro-descendent and indigenous movements; women’s and LGBTQI struggles.
  • Customize the program to meet your goals by choosing between an internship or independent research.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 9 reviews
  • Academics 8.8
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.1
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 9 of 9
Default avatar
Lucy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

4 Wonderful Months in the Southern Cone

I truly cannot speak highly enough of this program. The Transnational and Comparative Development program that SIT offers is absolutely incredible. Unlike other SIT programs, this one has international travel built in, and we had the opportunity to visit Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil in addition to getting to know our home city of Buenos Aires. The structure of the program allows for a really distinct and enriching learning experience where students get an idea of the region's history and current political issues through not only traditional lecture-style classes with various professors, but also through site visits in the four countries. We had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of regional institutions like ALADI and MERCOSUR, to speak with activist and indigenous groups, and to visit important political institutions. Additionally, this program offers students to perform independent research or do an internship in the final month of the semester. I chose to do a research project and was able to conduct interviews and work one-on-one with a professor associated with the program.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice for future students is don't worry too much about the language barrier. Aside from the immersion experience, the Spanish professors and program staff are so helpful to students in improving their Spanish abilities and gaining confidence in operating in another language. Your language abilities will certainly improve by the end of the program, and it's not worth being too hard on yourself for small vocabulary or grammar mistakes.
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Quentin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly-Recommended, Unforgettable Experience

Argentina: Transnationalism and Comparative Development in South America was, in my experience, a life-changing program packed with unforgettable moments. I studied with a small group of 12 other students from U.S. universities. Group projects and the program's many excursions and visits provided ample opportunities to get to know my classmates. The program directors were absolutely incredible and willing to help us however they could over the course of the semester. I constantly found myself excited to get the most that I could out of every moment. I learned in firsthand ways that I never had before and reshaped my perspective on the world.

The program is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and students spend most of the semester there, starting with orientation during the first week and culminating with Independent Study Project (ISP) and internship presentations during the final week. Students take courses in the program's core content, transnationalism and development, and social science field research methods and ethics in el Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social (IDES) in Palermo, Buenos Aires. They also take a Spanish language course in la Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) in the center of Buenos Aires. All courses are in Spanish. Students live with a homestay family during the semester and engage with Argentinian culture firsthand.

The program includes incredible excursions that greatly enhance students' development of transnational and comparative perspectives and generate experiences that, while certainly cross-cultural, emphasize shared struggles and regional integration with regard to social, political, economic, and cultural organizations and movements. Meetings with organizations, groups, and communities allow for an unparalleled understanding of the way people are impacted by, and themselves shape, political and economic changes. Students, through these experiences, lectures, and assignments, get a sense of the way local communities, nations of the Southern Cone region, and the world are interconnected.

In Argentina, in addition to living in Buenos Aires, program participants visit La Plata. They also leave the country on program excursions that feature more visits with local groups, lectures on program content specific to the places visited, and opportunities to explore new cities and world-renowned landmarks. Students stay in Asunción, Paraguay; see the binational dam at Itaipú; tour the powerful Iguazú Falls; explore Río de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil; and study in Montevideo and Colonia, Uruguay.

During the last month of the program, students either put together an ISP or participate in an internship. An ISP student, I was able to study the social construction of collective Argentinian memory by way of three memory sites in Buenos Aires that functioned as clandestine centers of detention, torture, and extermination during Argentina's military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. I observed the sites, went on official tours/visits, and interviewed employees at each one to gather my own data in the places themselves where history and memory have been shaped, an experience completely irreplaceable.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I recommend getting involved in some way with the local community. Program visits, your homestay, and other aspects of the program will immerse you in the culture to an extent, but taking the initiative to venture into aspects of the local community unexplored by your SIT group of U.S. students is worth it. I went to a local church on Sundays and got to know the people there. I went to a tango workshop at a memory and human rights site where I conducted research. These experiences added a compelling dimension to my experience studying abroad.
Read my full story
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Neve
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spring 2019 - One for the Books!

My time studying abroad with SIT has influenced the person I am today. I returned to the U.S. with so much valuable and applicable knowledge that even my family and friends commented on the growth I made as an individual, socially and academically. SIT provided every resource for me to delve into a foreign environment and capitalize on the beauty and knowledge South America has to offer. From traveling to Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and other areas of Argentina to connecting with political leaders to connecting me with an internship with a grass roots organization that provides resources for migrant and refugee women, SIT helped make this an unforgettable study abroad experience!

Gracias a SIT, Nuria, Julieta y Pablo por hacer esta experiencia inolvidable! Un gran abrazo!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My greatest piece of advice for future travelers to to get connected with residents of the community you are in! The best way of getting to know the environment you are in, the museums you are visiting, the food you are eating, the news you here in media is by asking a local. Don't be afraid to ask questions or to simply introduce yourself.
Default avatar
Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic, unique study abroad program and experience!

I participated in the ‘SIT Argentina: Transnationalism and Comparative Development in South America’ program during the spring of 2018. I had a fantastic experience with the program overall and would recommend it to students who want to gain a well-rounded perspective on the current and past political, economic and social issues facing Argentina and the Southern Cone region in general. My classes were small and taught by experts in different fields, which allowed us to gain different perspectives on the issues we were learning about. Our classes often included experiential components: they included field trips to different NGOs and social justice initiatives in Buenos Aires and beyond. The program directors in Buenos Aires (Nuria, Julieta and Pablo) are some of the kindest, most supportive people I’ve met and made me feel comfortable and supported at all times.

One of the best parts of the semester, and the thing that separates this program for other SIT programs, was that students get to travel to three surrounding countries (Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) as part of our curriculum. During these excursions, we took classes, went on site visits to the MERCOSUR headquarters and local NGOs, and spoke with local activists and academics in order to better understand various issues facing the Southern Cone region as a whole. We were able to do some tourism on these trips too, which was incredible! These international excursions really complimented my learning and experiences in Buenos Aires and were definitely some of the highlights of my semester. Most SIT programs do not incorporate international travel, so this one is particularly unique in that way.

Buenos Aires is very exciting, bustling city to live in and there is always something to do. I lived with a wonderful host family and was able to improve my Spanish while living with them and through my classes. If I could go back and choose this program again, I absolutely would!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Based on what I've heard from friends, this program is more academically rigorous that some other study abroad programs in Buenos Aires, but I found it to be well worth it given how much I learned.
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Grace
6/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great program, but not a good fit for me

There is very little that this program could have done to make my experience better! The staff support when I was there with Nuria, Pablo and Julieta was really incredible-- they were always available to help talk through any issues with academics, homestay, language learning or just general social/emotional learning. As study abroad programs go, this one was also pretty academically rigorous as well-- all coursework in Spanish and biweekly presentations/paper.

However, I personally didn't have the greatest time, though I believe the rest of my cohort really enjoyed themselves. Here are a couple of the reasons why:
- The program travels a lot (Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil!) which grated on my ability to acclimate to one area and really form long-term relationships. Still really cool experience though to experience such a diversity of places though, and definitely a good fit for folks who love travel!
- Buenos Aires for young people has a strong nightlife (boliches, bars) and feria scene, which wasn't super my jam, but could definitely be yours! I don't think I realized that I didn't love cities before and prefer a more suburban/nature-y/laid back vibe. Buenos Aires is a really bustling place.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I think most people in the Global North have never seen slums of the scale that exist in Global South. So while it was probably problematic that I was able to engage in such "slum-tourism"-- it was still definitely eye-opening to see what poverty can be world wide.
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Elizabeth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great team, great experience

My time in Argentina was unique, fun, and I learned so much. Just a few reasons to consider this experience:

1. The staff are wonderful. Even before I landed in Argentina, the staff were communicating with me about everything I needed to know. Throughout our excursions to other countries, I had full confidence in them. When I had a family emergency occur back in the US, the staff helped me manage those logistics. Overall great leadership, which made it possible for me to focus on the learning and fun.

2. I learned a ton. Going to other countries meant I had a comparative mindset from the start. We had well-balanced and engaging lectures, and great field visits that left me thinking more deeply about the issues of development and transnational processes.

3. I had so much fun. I can't believe we packed in so much over the semester. Our field visits were relevant to the classroom experience. I also benefited from recommendations and must-sees in Buenos Aires. My host family took me to experience the city, and I bonded with them as if they were really my family. SIT did a spectacular job in placing me with a homestay.

I would absolutely recommend that future students select the Argentina: transnationalism and comparative development program.

Bristow
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A wonderful and approachable opportunity to learn and travel

I had a wonderful time in my experience with SIT. The language situation was approachable and they were flexible with different levels of Spanish. The classes were interesting, with frequent varied guest speakers that gave us perspectives from government officials, academia, and non-profit organizations. My host family was attentive, caring, and helped me learn about opportunities in the city so I could grow in my autonomy and security exploring alone or with friends. If anything, sometimes I felt the classes could be a little easy; students could get by without doing *all* of the reading and the classes weren't very high-stakes. I also spent more time with the US students and less time meeting Argentine students my age than I'd hoped. If you're confident about your Spanish and want very rigorous courses and more dynamic socializing, perhaps local enrollment would be right for you. In the end, I think this program was great for me. Plus, the traveling part of the program was wonderful! It wasn't only tourism; we got to learn from people and local organizations that I wouldn't have hear from otherwise.

What would you improve about this program?
Students should go out of their way to seek social connections and community organizations. The administrators of the program would be glad to connect you with a community choir, athletic club, or other social/skill-based institution, they could be more proactive about it.
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Jesse
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This program changed my life

This Spanish intensive program based in Buenos Aires changed my perspective and attitude towards experiential learning. Small program size creates an intense and intimate learning experience. Through homestays, learning service, Spanish immersion, independent research projects and extensive international travel on program (we visited Asuncion, Montevideo and Sao Paulo), I was challenged to learn and grow in ways that a traditional college experience could never have provided. Program coordinator Nuria is extremely knowledgeable, approachable, fun to be around and always put students first throughout our time together. This program is centered around authentic learning and immersion. Do not take this program if you just want to take a break from the standard 4 year campus experience in the US. Come prepared to learn and you will leave a different person than when you started.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish it were longer. Classes in Buenos Aires flew by! An extra couple weeks of class would make a huge difference in absorbing all the information.
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Jamie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Good Challenge for those looking for a Different Study Abroad Experience

SIT Regional Integration very clearly has worked hard over the years to develop a program which is challenging, and which integrates the students into various aspects of society. While unfortunately the program is subject to change on a semester by semester basis, the opportunity to visit important social movements, communities, and international institutions is invaluable. This is absolutely not the program for you if you are not looking for a challenging semester. While it was certainly less work than a typical semester, it was not a vacation. Speaking of which, opportunities to travel outside of the program are somewhat limited, though definitely possible. It is not a program where you can just jet off for a week. That being said, the program does have a few rules about homestay and travel, so be prepared to work around those.

This program definitely helped me develop as a student and a global citizen, but you get there through work.

What would you improve about this program?
I would say that while I understand the difficulties and liabilities associated with letting students travel on their own, I think SIT should be more amenable to letting students travel. This is not necessarily a reflection of this program in particular, but rather part of SIT as a whole.