Service-Learning in Argentina
For the past three years the Graduate School of Education’s (GSE) International Service-Learning trip to Argentina has been a great way for students to improve their Spanish, learn about the culture, and gain unique teaching experiences while spending time abroad. An information session for the 2014 program will be held January 29, 2014 at 7pm for individuals who are interested in learning more about the program and meeting past participants.
Under the directorship of Dr. Nydia Flores,GSE and Rutgers students travel to Rosario, Argentina to participate in a three-week program that offers authentic insight into Argentinian tradition and culture, rigorous graduate-level coursework, and exposure to social issues that affect Argentinian society. Past participants have extensively documented their travels and observations via individual and group blogs. Writing allowed students to reflect their personal and shared experiences, and create vivid memories.
As part of the 2013 program, students attended four seminars hosted by Universidad del Centro Educativo Latinoamericano (UCEL) and taught by professor Dr. Graciela Tomassini, who Nathaly Jaquez described enthusiastically in her blog post detailing the last seminar.
In addition to traditional ways of learning, students also engaged in hands-on learning. Last year they embarked on several cultural experiences, including a day-long visit to an estancia, an Argentinian cattle ranch, a professional tango show in the country’s capital of Buenos Aires, and a visit to the Museo de la Memoria, a museum that commemorates those that went missing during the Dirty Period in Argentinian history. Yesenia Infante reflected on the impact of the museum trip in her blog post.
The organized home stays in Rosario were critical to increasing students’ knowledge of Argentinian culture, and presented them a rare opportunity to understand Rosarino lifestyles from the local perspective. In one post, Bailey Irelan describes a day she spent kayaking along the river with a member of her host family.
Considered an international service-learning program, last year’s program offered students a service component that placed them within the Argentinian education system. Specifically, they participated in teaching activities at La Paz Elementary School (K-7), a local grade school located in the impoverished neighborhoods of Rosario. This experience familiarized students with teaching children of low-income status, taught them about teaching practices, and allowed them to employ Spanish as a medium of instruction. In 2014, the program will expand to teaching in a high school setting.
The 2013 instructional theme was related to home and community violence (Violence, Abuse, and Secrets), and the materials Rutgers students took on the trip engaged this content. Students were primarily responsible for assisting teachers and raising awareness about issues related to the theme. One of Maxwell William’s blog posts illustrates the first day he taught a lesson to the energetic second graders of La Paz.
While the greater part of the students’ blog posts detailed the rush of each day, and reflected on the multitude of activity, Jill Maged’s final post in Rosario reflects the impact this trip has beyond the classroom.
Through reading the individual and group blog posts, one can see this program cultivate much more then the traditional international experience.
Click here to view photos from the summer 2013 trip.
To learn more about the program, click here. The application deadline is March 1, 2014.