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

This is the basic process you'll complete in order to study abroad. 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, consider the following recommendations before starting your research:

Consider timing and length

Seek cultural immersion

Pay special attention to program type

Format and teaching approach are every bit as important as location and length. Consider your learning style, your educational and personal goals, and department advice.

Field Study programs

Learn through doing. Programs built around internships, service-learning, field research, interview projects, etc., may work especially well for experiential learners.

University Study programs

Become a temporary foreign student at a host university. Seek locations offering indigenous studies methodologies, theoretical perspectives, or courses different from ours.

Study Abroad Centers

Take classroom courses tailor-made for non-native students. Many such centers also offer opportunities to engage in field study and/or to take courses as a local university.

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

South Africa

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, Peru, and Uruguay. 
  • Most university study options are through IFSA.
  • 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.



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).


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.

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 IFSA 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.
  • IFSA supplements 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 IFSA. 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.



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 United Kingdom)

  • 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.