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.

After reading through this MAP, make sure to head over to our Steps to Studying Abroad page to learn about our Discover Study Abroad sessions and how to start planning your time abroad. Ideally, you should begin to plan your study abroad experience at least two semesters in advance of your departure date. Be in touch with a Study Abroad advisor and your advisor in Latin American Studies early in the planning process.

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.

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.

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. Once the search has been narrowed down to a few programs, consult with a study abroad advisor and relevant academic advisors.

All students who study abroad must be in good academic and disciplinary standing. Each program listed has coursework taught in English unless otherwise stated. In addition, each program has specific eligibility requirements that may include GPA, prerequisites, and/or class standing. For more information about the program, click on program title.

Business & Entrepreneurship

IES Buenos Aires (Argentina) & Santiago (Chile) Emerging Economies 

Development, Environment, Health, Human Rights

CIEE Buenos Aires (Argentina) Summer Community Public Health Program

CIEE Monteverde (Costa Rica) Sustainability & the Environment

CIEE Monteverde (Costa Rica) Tropical Ecology & Conservation

CIEE Santiago (Dominican Republic) Summer Community Public Health Program

IES Santiago (Chile) Health Studies

SIT Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights

SIT Ecuador: Development, Politics, and Languages

Language & Culture

USAC Heredia (Costa Rica) Program

USAC San Ramon (Costa Rica) Program

USAC Montevideo (Uruguay) Program

USAC Studies in Chile

Liberal Arts

CIEE Buenos Aires (Argentina) Liberal Arts Program

CIEE Santiago (Chile) Liberal Arts Program

CIEE Santiago (Dominican Republic) Liberal Arts Program

USAC Havana (Cuba) Program


IES Internships Santiago (Chile)

Direct Enrollment

ISEP Argentina: Universidad de Palermo

ISEP Argentina: Universidad del Salvador

ISEP Chile: Direct Summer Program

ISEP Chile: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso