Latin America is a diverse region full of tensions and contrasts. It has an extremely rich culture that is often undermined by stereotypes, including narco-trafficking and gang violence.
While it is one of the most unequal regions in the world and acknowledging its struggles is important, studying this area will also reveal its beauty.
A frequent misconception is that in this course, you will approach Latin America from a Western perspective that will present the area as undeveloped. However, the tutors and lecturers are from the region and provide a fresh perspective that the region suffers from dependency rather than being undeveloped. This contributes to the in-class discussions on current affairs because students get to explore a topic in an interactive and fun way, and with many different perspectives present.
What is important to note is that instead of looking at single countries, we mostly focus on general themes and recurring issues. This means that bigger players like Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina are mentioned more frequently. Additionally, the involvement and role of the US are also explored.
Based on the most discussed countries, the two languages available to study are Spanish and Portuguese. The best thing about Spanish is that it is spoken in so many different countries, thereby granting access to telenovelas, different music, and great job prospects. Portuguese, on the other hand, is great because you learn a lot about Brazil along the way. People often underestimate the number of Portuguese speakers, and job prospects are great because not that many people learn the language. Both languages are quite easy to learn and offer lots of interactivity, which makes classes extremely fun.
If you aren’t interested in how foreign policies shape the developments of an entire region or if you want to focus on just a few countries, this region is not your best fit. However, if you want to learn more about how past events affect current politics or if you are just curious about Latin American culture, this is the perfect region for you. Latin America is so diverse that there surely is something you’re interested in. I hope to see you in class!
by Anna-Lena Berger
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