NMU will increase its presence in Latin America through recently signed cooperative agreements with Universidad del Salvador in Argentina and Centro Tinku, an organization that facilitates study-abroad programs in Peru.
“With global engagement being a key theme and a major commitment in NMU’s ‘Road Map to 2015,’ these partnerships are especially valuable,” said Susan Koch, NMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “They will provide faculty and students with remarkable opportunities for study and research in culturally rich and economically strategic regions of the world. The experiences will help prepare students to be more competitive in a global job market that demands intercultural skills.”
A group of NMU students will spend two semesters in Latin America: one in Argentina studying Spanish; and one in Peru taking native culture and history courses. Another group of advanced Spanish students will spend a month in Argentina. They will study the language in a totally immersive Spanish-speaking environment, participate in cultural events and visit archeological and industrial sites of interest.
Koch said Universidad del Salvador’s Buenos Aires location will allow students to experience the Argentine culture in a vibrant urban center that is relatively safe and aesthetically pleasing.
The Northern delegation will also make site visits to various businesses and cultural institutions, and tour the city’s dynamic art scene. A four-day trip to Salta and Tucumán in northwest Argentina, an indigenous region with farms and archeological sites, will effectively complement the metropolitan experience.
In Peru, students will be based in the southeastern city of Cusco, near the Andes mountain range and the pre-Columbian Inca site, Machu Picchu. Koch said students will reap a triple educational benefit from this single location. They will learn about Cusco’s origins as the historic capital of the Inca Empire, its transition to a major cultural center in the wake of the Spanish conquest and its contemporary issues such as poverty and emerging economies. The Centro Tinku organization will handle all of the logistics for language and cultural study in Peru – from classrooms and housing to tours.
The opportunities in Argentina and Peru build on connections already established by Marcelo Siles, director of international programs, in his previous position at Michigan State University.
“Our goals for future growth in Latin America include faculty/student exchanges and research collaborations,” Siles said. “We are trying to develop a strong presence in Latin America for several reasons. Latinos represent the fastest-growing ethnic group in this country, so there is added motivation to study their language and culture. Also, Latin America offers diverse international experiences close to home and it is relatively affordable.”
– NMU News Bureau