Students begin southward journey

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Officials at the University of Diego Portales have been working closely with Wake Forest University’s Center for International Studies and Latin American and Latino Studies Program to prepare for the arrival seventeen Wake Forest students and one Wake Forest faculty member in Santiago, Chile. The delegation will be the second group of Wake Forest students to participate in the university’s Southern Cone program.

Last Spring, Dr. Luis Roniger, Reynolds Professor of Latin American Studies, set off to Argentina and Chile with a group of ten students, who spent their entire semester living in and exploring Latin America’s Southern Cone. The students came from a wide array of backgrounds. Amongst them were business, Spanish, political science, psychology, economics, and anthropology majors. They studied Latin America’s economic development, indigenous poetry, and Chilean art and they heard lectures by some of region’s most renowned scholars, including the acclaimed Chilean poet, Raul Zurita. They traversed Argentina and Chile, climbed Patagonia’s mountains, and explored the mysterious stone statues of Easter Island. Some even got to scale Machu Picchu. The trip was a remarkable success and the students left the Southern Cone having gained valuable experiences and created invaluable memories.

This year’s students will begin their journey just as the last group did in Buenos Aires, where they will immerse themselves in the bustling Argentine capital for a month. The students will then head to Santiago, Chile, where they will spend the remainder of the semester taking classes alongside Chilean students at the highly prestigious Diego Portales University (UDP). Students can enroll in a wide array of art, communications, political science, history, Spanish, and theater courses offered by the university to its regular students. They can also enroll in either of the two business courses to be taught this year by the group’s faculty leader, Dr. Clay Hipp, Senior Lecturer in Business.

The program will include two educational excursion trips, one to Easter Island, a World Heritage UNESCO site, and one to San Pedro de Atamacamo, a small Chilean town overlooking the Licancabur Volcano.

This year’s group is just a diverse as the last. Nearly twice as big as last year’s groups, this year’s group represents a wide spectrum of majors and campus communities.

Though the program made its debut last year, Dr. Peter Siavelis, Professor of Political Science, Director of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, and Wake’s resident Chile expert, began planning the establishment of a study abroad program in Latin America many years ago. The program came together last year with the assistance of Mrs. Jessica Francis, Senior Study Abroad Advisor in Wake’s Center for International Study, and Mr. Gabriel Libedinsky, Director of International Relations at the Diego Portales University.

Students interested in participating in a third trip should contact Dr. Siavelis or Mrs. Francis as soon as possible. The program typically runs from February through July and is only open to Wake Forest students. No prior Spanish is required, though it is highly recommended. Students are housed with host families in both Argentina and Chile.

You can continue to follow our students along their journey via Facebook and Twitter as well as on the LALS home page, where sporadic updates will be posted. .

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