The University of Iowa

Latin American Studies

Students in the Latin American Studies Program are strongly encouraged to pursue an “in-depth Latin American cultural experience.” Study abroad not only provides firsthand experience of the culture and language of a Latin American community but is also a valuable distinction when applying for graduate school and jobs in international career sectors such as business, non-profits, government and education.

To aid the coordination of study abroad with certificate requirements, this page offers advice about when to study abroad (see the "Timing" tab), how to fulfill academic requirements abroad (see "Academics"), and a list of relevant study abroad programs (see "Programs"). 

There are many study abroad options available to Latin American Studies students. From short-term programs to semester or yearlong enrollment in an international university, there are plenty of opportunities for students to pursue their academic and extracurricular interests in Latin America.

Studying abroad in Valparaíso, Chile

Studying abroad in Valparaíso, Chile
Visiting temples in Mexico

The timing of when to study abroad will be an individual decision, there is no single best time for Latin American Studies Certificate students to study abroad. Just keep in mind that students must take LAS:2700 Introduction to Latin American Studies and LAS:4700 Latin American Studies Seminar at the University of Iowa, and that it is recommended to take LAS:2700 as a first-year or sophomore and LAS:4700 as a junior or senior. Also note that LAS:4700 is offered during spring semesters only.

Major requirements will likely dictate when students choose to study abroad more than the Latin American Studies certificate requirements, so be sure to consult the major advising page corresponding with relevant major(s) as well.

In general, plan early! We encourage students to be in touch with advisors for the Latin American Studies Certificate and in Study Abroad well in advance of their departure date.

Moray, Peru

There are many opportunities for students pursing a Latin American Studies Certificate to fulfill academic requirements abroad. In general, courses taken abroad can be substituted for UI courses with approval from the appropriate UI department/program. Students should consult with a study abroad advisor to learn about the process for getting courses approved for UI requirements. Once a student has selected a program of interest, their advisor will give them a Credit Approval Form to complete with the Latin American Studies academic advisor.

Latin American Studies Certificate Requirements

The Latin American Studies Certificate requires 18 s.h. of coursework, a minimum of 12 s.h. of which must be completed at the University of Iowa. Both LAS:2700 Introduction to Latin American Studies and LAS:4700 Latin American Studies Seminar must be completed at UI. This leaves the following two options for the 6 s.h. of certificate coursework for which students may find equivalents abroad:

  • 6 s.h. of approved Spanish or Portuguese language study (any level), or
  • 6 s.h. of additional approved coursework (excluding Spanish and Portuguese courses), in the areas of Latin American history, politics, health, human rights, environment etc.

Students should be sure to meet with the Latin American Studies Program academic advisor for prior approval of study abroad coursework for the Latin American Studies certificate.

Other Academic Requirements

Students are also encouraged to find overseas equivalents for their major(s) and General Education requirements while abroad. Be sure to consult with relevant academic advisors when planning a study abroad experience. If there is a Study Abroad major advising page corresponding with the major(s), students might consult that as well.

A General Education Program advising page is also available.

General Electives

Study abroad can be a great opportunity to explore topics and/or build language proficiencies beyond required coursework. While students will not receive credit towards major or certificate requirements for general electives taken abroad, it is possible to receive credit hours towards graduation. Talk to an advisor in Study Abroad for information about earning credit for general electives completed overseas.

We recommend choosing either a study abroad program that is UI-sponsored or another reputable, accredited program that will provide basic infrastructural support (e.g. housing, access to public transportation, embassy contact, etc.).

Many study abroad programs offer opportunities to be involved in research or to complete an internship. It is also possible to use time in a study abroad program to establish contacts and familiarize oneself with the culture of the area, then return to complete an internship or research project at a later time.

Various study abroad scholarships are available for UI students. Please visit the Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad page for more information.

Studying abroad in Costa Rica
Havana, Cuba

Students working toward a Latin American Studies Certificate abroad are encouraged to take courses in Latin America that focus on Latin American history, politics, health, human rights, environment etc.

Students are also encouraged to work toward Spanish and/or Portuguese language requirements, to conduct research, and to complete internships in Latin America.

For convenience, the programs recommended below (all located in Latin America) are organized into categories: programs that offer courses in business and entrepreneurship, programs that provide opportunities to study development, environment, health, or human rights, programs that offer courses in language and culture studies, programs that offer a range of liberal arts courses, internship opportunities, and direct enrollment programs (through which students direct enroll in a university and take classes with local students).

In addition to the programs listed here, students are encouraged to browse the Study Abroad programs database and consult our Steps to Studying Abroad advising page. Students are also encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Resource Room (located in International Programs, 1111 University Capitol Centre), where a peer assistant can help them learn more about study abroad programs. Once the search has been narrowed down to a few programs, consult with a study abroad advisor and relevant academic advisors.

Business & Entrepreneurship
IES Argentina & Chile: Buenos Aires & Santiago Emerging Economies
International Entrepreneurship & Culture, Belize
International Entrepreneurship & Culture, Cuba

Development, Environment, Health, Human Rights

CIEE Argentina: Buenos Aires Summer Community Public Health Program
CIEE Costa Rica: Monteverde Sustainability & the Environment
CIEE Costa Rica: Monteverde Tropical Ecology & Conservation
CIEE Dominican Republic: Santiago de los Caballeros Summer Community Public Health Program
IES Chile: Santiago Health Studies
SIT Argentina: Art, Memory, and Social Transformation (Summer)
SIT Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights
SIT Bolivia: Multiculturalism, Globalization, and Social Change
SIT Brazil: Public Health, Race, and Human Rights
SIT Brazil: Social Innovation and Community Development
SIT Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development
SIT Ecuador: Development, Politics, and Languages
SIT Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization

Language & Culture

CIEE Chile: Valparaiso Language in Context
USAC Brazil: Florianopolis Program
USAC Costa Rica: Heredia Program
USAC Costa Rica: Puntarenas Program
USAC Costa Rica: San Ramon Program
USAC Montevideo (Uruguay) Program

USAC Studies in Chile

Liberal Arts

CIEE Argentina: Buenos Aires Liberal Arts Program
CIEE Chile: Santiago Liberal Arts Program
CIEE Chile: Valparaiso Liberal Arts Program
CIEE Dominican Republic: Santiago Liberal Arts Program
USAC Cuba: Havana Program


IES Internships Santiago (Summer, Chile)

Direct Enrollment

Curitiba Exchange Program (Brazil)
ISEP Argentina: Universidad Blas Plascal
ISEP Argentina: Universidad de Palermo
ISEP Argentina: Universidad del Salvador
ISEP Brazil: Direct FAAP Summer Program
ISEP Brazil: Fundacao Armando Alvares Penteado
ISEP Chile: Direct Summer Program
ISEP Chile: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso
ISEP Uruguay: Universidad Catolica del Uruguay