Learning Abroad in Chicano Studies

Learning Abroad in Chicano-Latino Studies

This advising resource highlights some of the study abroad programs that fit well for the Chicano & Latino Studies major or minor. Many options are open to you.

Consider a study abroad program that includes structured experiences outside the United States. While our curriculum focuses on the Mexican American experience within the US borders, we have always had a transnational perspective. Our history is filled with stories of conquest, colonization, and migration. Chicanas/os came into being through US empire-building processes. Because the wealth and power of this nation is in part the result of socioeconomic exploitation, the Chicano Studies curriculum values experiential knowledge, community engagement, and critical thinking. Students who study abroad often gain insights into cultural dynamics, social and political processes, and the historical significance of diverse peoples’ unequal relationships to (and within) the US.

Learning Abroad Process

Familiarize yourself with the Learning Abroad Process. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.

Academic Planning

Review the following suggestions from the Department of Chicano & Latino Studies before beginning your study abroad research.

Align study abroad with your personal, academic, and professional goals

Choose your study abroad experience wisely

Work on your Chicano & Latino Studies major or minor

The Chicano & Latino Studies program focuses on the particularities of Mexican American experience, history and culture. But it also has a transnational component as well as a central interest in social justice issues. 
Many universities and study abroad programs in other countries offer courses that may be used to complete your major requirements even though they do not focus on life within the US borders.  The key is to identify courses that have a historical, social, political, economic, cultural, or media content that would allow us to count them as part of your major. Though each course is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, please consider the following recommendations before starting your research:

Consider timing and length

Seek cultural immersion

Pay special attention to program type

Fulfill Liberal Education requirements

Once You Have Selected a Program

While You Are Abroad

After You Return

College/Department Scholarships for UofM Students


Although most Chicano & Latino Studies students are likely to choose Mexico, or at least a Spanish-speaking country, for their study abroad, there can be good reasons for studying in a different region. For instance, one student may wish to do a comparative senior paper on countries with similar colonial experiences or immigrant histories; another might seek a program that works well for both Chicano & Latino Studies and a second major (consult the advising page for that major as well.) Each sample program listed here has at least one of the following characteristics: it includes relevant course options; it focuses on cultural diversity or ethnic relations or social justice; or its price is especially attractive.

In addition to the recommendations in the Academic Planning section on this page, consider general factors in Choosing a Program when selecting a study abroad program.


Africa and the Middle East


SIT Morocco– Migration & Transnational Identity

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Rabat-based program focused on factors driving internal and international migration, particularly in Morocco and elsewhere in North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Useful for comparative study with US.
  • Includes structured field experiences locally, field trip to meet Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands, visit to the Morocco-Spain border zone, and an independent research project.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Arabic or French is required. Fall or spring semester.

South Africa

CIEE South Africa service-learning

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program combining classroom work on the University of Cape Town campus with community service and research in marginalized townships on the outskirts of the city.
  • South Africa is a fascinating place to reflect on the relationship among race, language, class, and political and economic power. Comparison can teach much about role and meaning of race and ethnicity in US.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of African languages required. Fall or spring semester.

SIT South Africa—Education & Social Change

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program based in Durban, on Indian Ocean. Includes field study assignments; visits to schools, NGOs, local communities, & government offices; and field trip to Johannesburg.
  • Examines history of education in South Africa and attempt to transform system since fall of apartheid. Instructive parallels and contrasts to US experience provide rich insights.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an African language is required. Summer.

University Study in South Africa: University of Cape Town 

  • Program type: University Study
  • Still struggling to emerge from the nightmare of apartheid, South Africa is an interesting place to examine another society defines and deals with issues of race, ethnicity, inequality, and civil rights.
  • This large university is among the top in the country. Offers considerable strengths in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of African languages required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.



Latin America—Countries Vary

  • Program type: University Study (usually mixed with some Study Abroad Center)
  • University of Minnesota affiliations provide access to over 25 universities in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Peru, and Uruguay, in addition to the listings below under Mexico and Puerto Rico.
  • Most university study options are through CIEE (look mostly under programs that have Liberal Arts in the program name), and  ISFA-Butler.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; usually four to six semesters of prior Spanish is required. Fall  or spring semester, academic or calendar year.


IES Argentina

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (and University Study)
  • Three different tracks in this flexible program in Buenos Aires can accommodate students at any level of Spanish proficiency from none to advanced.
  • All three tracks offer language courses, a wide range of area studies courses, and internships and service-learning; the two more advanced tracks also offer access to university courses.
  • Instruction in the lower track is in English, in the two more advanced tracks in Spanish. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Study Abroad in Buenos Aires

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Very cost-effective UofM program open to all but aimed especially at students interested in Latin America but with insufficient Spanish language skills to take courses taught in Spanish.
  • Argentina’s economic collapse in the 1990s foreshadowed US crisis a decade later; similarities and differences are instructive. Curriculum offers language, area studies, and service-learning.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Spanish is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or summer.


SIT Bolivia

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Three highly experiential program options in a country with a long history of popular movements, and now the first indigenous president in South America’s history.
  • Latin American Revolutionary Movements & Conflict Resolution (semester) and Lens on Latin America  (summer) are both based in La Paz, and Multiculturalism, Globalization, & Social Change in Cochabamba.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Spanish, Aymara, or Quechua is required. Fall or spring semester.


Universities in Santiago or Valparaíso (available through CIEE Chile—Liberal Arts programs)

  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • The CIEE Santiago and Valparaíso programs give access to four of Chile’s top universities, three in Santiago and one in Valparaíso. On the CIEE website look under Liberal Arts programs.
  • In addition to regular university courses, participants take an advanced Spanish language course plus at least one other center course.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; 6 prior semesters of prior Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

SIT Chile—Public Health, Traditional Medicine, & Community Empowerment

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program based in Arica, near the borders with Peru and Bolivia. Provides first-hand experience with Chile’s health system. Includes field trips in Peru, Chile, and Argentina.
  • Examines different conceptions of wellness and healing, including traditional beliefs and health practices and how they interact with formal health care system.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Spanish language study is required. Fall or spring semester.

Dominican Republic

CIEE Dominican Republic—Santiago Liberal Arts

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Based in Santiago, the Dominican Republic’s second city, this program offers a range of language and area studies courses supplemented by opportunities to take university courses.
  • Multi-disciplinary curriculum focuses on the Caribbean context of Dominican realities. An optional service-learning course offers practicums in health, education, or neighborhood assistance.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year. Students may combine a semester with a semester in Santo Domingo or in the Santiago service-learning program.

CIEE Dominican Republic—Santiago Service-Learning

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around structured service placements in or near Santiago, a trade and agricultural services center and the Dominican Republic’s second largest city (population 1 million).
  • Includes classroom work, community placement, community-oriented research, and additional Spanish instruction. Excellent option for students interested in social justice issues
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall pr spring semester. Students wishing to study for a full year may combine this service-learning program with another CIEE program in Santiago or Santo Domingo.


MSID—International Development in Ecuador

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program providing deep cultural immersion through grassroots internships, homestays, and research. Ecuador is Minnesota’s second-largest source of Spanish-speaking immigrants.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, fishing or handicraft cooperatives.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.
  • Other MSID programs are available in Kenya (taught in English, no language prerequisite) and in Senegal (taught in French, 2 years required).

Universidad San Francisco de Quito (available through Exchange in Ecuador)

  • Program type: University Study
  • The University of Minnesota selects one student annually for this scholarship.
  • USFQ offers an American Studies minor, some of whose courses are delivered in English.
  • Most instruction is in Spanish; at least two years of prior language study or equivalent required. Academic year only. Similar scholarship offered annually for Iceland.


CIEE Mexico—Guanajuato Liberal Arts

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (and University Study)
  • Guanajuato-based progam offering specially designed, socially oriented CIEE courses in migration, literature of the revolution, Mexican history, and language.
  • Students also take regular University of Guanajuato courses; fields available include Art History, Art Theory/Critique, History, Literature, Spanish Language/Linguistics, Studio Arts.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; four prior semesters of Spanish are required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Study Abroad in Mexico

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Extremely affordable UofM-sponsored program based in Cuernavaca. Permits students to accelerate their Spanish language learning at an astounding rate.
  • Each 3-week module yields a full course. The four back-to-back May/summer terms permit completion of the CLA language requirement from scratch. Semester option yields three courses.
  • No prior Spanish is required. Three-week modules offer Span 1001 through 1004; semester program also offers 3015 and 3016.  Fall or spring semester, winter break, May term, or summer.

Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida (available through ISFA-Butler Mexico)

  • Program type: University Study (semester/AY) or Study Abroad Center (summer)
  • Top departments in this university, located close to some of Mexico’s finest Mayan archaeological sites, include Anthropology, Archeology, and Latin American Studies.
  • ISFA-Butler supplements university courses with a mandatory Spanish course and two optional courses including one on Mayan history and culture. Summer: special courses only.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.


SIT Nicaragua—Revolution, Transformation, & Civil Society

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential Managua-based program that includes extensive field study, field trips to other Nicaraguan locations and El Salvador, and a research project.
  • Useful as a source of insights into the US role in Central America, as well as peace and conflict issues.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Spanish is required. Fall or spring semester.

Puerto Rico

Study in Puerto Rican universities (available through National Student Exchange Puerto Rico)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Seven different Puerto Rican universities are available through NSE, an extremely cost-effective option coordinated on campus by CLA’s Off-Campus Study office.
  • Because participants take regular courses alongside degree candidates, good Spanish language proficiency is required. Participants earn transfer credit rather than resident credit.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; summer options are available at a few institutions as well.


Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (available through CIEE Peru—Lima Liberal Arts or ISFA-Butler Peru)

  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • Founded in 1917 and located on a 90-acre campus in Lima, PUCP is Peru’s oldest private university. For course descriptions in the online course catalog, look under Sumillas.
  • Both CIEE and ISFA-Butler supplement university courses with required courses: an advanced Spanish course and a course on Peruvian Social Reality.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; five prior semesters of Spanish required for both ISFA-Butler and CIEE. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

United States

Exchange study in US universities (available through National Student Exchange)

  • Program type: University Study
  • NSE, coordinated at the UofM by CLA’s Off-Campus Study (OCS) office, offers an extremely cost-effective means of studying for a term or a year at another US institution.
  • Over ten participating NSE institutions are members of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; more than fifteen have a Chicano Studies program. OCS can help you identify them.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; summer options are available at some institutions as well. Participants earn transfer credit rather than resident credit.

Asia and Oceania


SIT China—Chinese Culture & Ethnic Minorities

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program based in Yunnan Province, home to 25 of China’s 50-plus government-recognized minority groups, including Hmong and Tibetan.
  • Includes travel to several minority areas as well as an independent research project that could lend itself nicely to comparative study incorporating Chicano Studies themes.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of Chinese or of local minority languages is required. Fall or spring semester.



Study Abroad in Montpellier

  • Program type: University Study (there is also a Study Abroad Center track)
  • Two-track program permitting a mix of special language and culture courses and regular Université Paul Valéry courses in a proportion suitable to each student’s language proficiency.
  • Montpellier is a major center for immigrants from North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. Parallels and contrasts to Latin American immigration to US are instructive. Internships available.
  • Instruction is in French; one year of prior French required for center track, two for university track. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or a summer intensive language program.


HECUA Divided States of Europe: Globalization & Inequalities in the New Europe

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Oslo-based program combining field study, classroom study, and volunteer placements to explore the European Union’s development and recent eastward expansion, including immigration issues.
  • Program questions whether the EU is in fact globalization with a human face. Includes comparative field study in  Poland and other Scandinavian locations.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Norwegian is required. Spring semester.


Study & Intern in Toledo

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • UofM language/humanities/social science program located in Spain’s former capital and one of Europe’s most picturesque cities—a living museum of medieval and Renaissance architecture.
  • Crown jewel for Chicano Studies students is an excellent service-learning course on immigrants to Spain, which includes explicit comparison to the US case.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; four prior semesters of Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.

United Kingdom

HECUA Democracy & Social Change in Northern Ireland

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program examining historical, political, economic, and religious roots of conflict in Northern Ireland and prospects for long-term reconciliation—all from multiple perspectives.
  • Program brings students into direct contact with people on all sides of the conflict. Half-time, 8-credit internship could easily focus on a topic of comparative relevance to Chicano Studies.
  • Instruction is in English. Spring semester.

University of East Anglia (available through IFSA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • East Anglia arguably has the best American Studies program in the UK. Program core is literature and history. Many courses focus on ethnic minorities, civil rights, and inter-group relations.
  • US-focused courses are also offered in art history, cultural studies, ethnic studies, film studies, gender studies, international relations, music, political science, and others.
  • Besides detailed coverage of European art, curriculum includes offerings on arts of Asia, Africa,
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Additional Options to Consider

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Work on your CLA language requirement or on a language minor while immersed in the language
  • Complete two, three, or even four semesters of language in a semester or a summer.

Global Seminars

  • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over Winter Break or May Session.
  • Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic! Check out this year's offerings!

Freshman Seminars

  • Freshman Seminars Abroad combine on-campus instruction during spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break.
  • Seminars are 3 credits at the 19xx level and most fulfill a liberal education requirement.
  • Seminars are designed specifically for first year students as an introduction to study abroad.
Non-Credit Opportunities
  • Non-credit  opportunities can be a great option for students who do not need academic credit but want to gain skills and experience abroad related to their field of study.  


Student Experiences

Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.