Study Abroad Program Takes Students to Argentina
In front of the Casa Rosada Presidential Building in Buenos Aires. From L to R: Timothy Houston, Daniel Caldwell, Andrea Cosper, Adam Haney, and Dr. Robert Rodriguez.
By Kim Williams
Commerce, TEXAS—Texas A&M University-Commerce recently sent graduate students to Argentina in a study abroad program partially funded through the A&M-Commerce international studies office.
During the 2012 Winter Mini session, four political science and history graduate students completed the first A&M-Commerce study abroad program in South America. The Study Political Science in Argentina program was organized by Dr. Robert Rodriguez, assistant professor of political science.
Daniel Caldwell, Adam Haney, Timothy Houston and Andrea Potter participated in the10-day program based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The students’ experience in Argentina provided them with great insight into the culture and traditions of the people who live there.
“Buenos Aires provided a great backdrop to the intricacies and governance of the society, while also giving students a window through which they could peer into the facets of everyday life in the city,” Houston said. “It is a great experience to travel there and find the people are so very different in history, tradition, and culture, yet also much the same as people you would meet anywhere else.”
Being an Argentine-American, Rodriguez helped the students prepare for their travels by leading them in several orientation sessions. The students also conducted an independent study course in Argentine Politics and Society.
"Argentina’s unique political history gives a good perspective on the dangers of military dictatorship,” Haney said. “This was a great trip full of great information both politically and historically.”
The group visited several Argentine political and cultural institutions including the Casa Rosada Presidential Museum, the national congress, Congreso de la Nación Argentina, the Evita Peron Museum, the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Colon Opera House, the San Telmo Artisan Fair, the Boca Juniors Sports Museum and the Recoleta and Chacarita Cementaries.
“The Argentina study abroad program is a great opportunity to introduce A&M-Commerce students to South American politics, history and culture,” Rodriguez said. “The graduate students who participated in this program learned a tremendous amount of information in a short period of time and had fun in the process.”
The students also visited the Ecological Reserve at Martin Garcia Island, where they were treated to an encounter with a group of young Argentine Scouts. The Buenos Aires Botanical garden, along with the Rosedal and monuments to George Washington and other political luminaries in Palermo Park were a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of downtown Buenos Aires. In addition, the students experienced Argentine gaucho cultural practices with a visit to an Estancia, and Argentine Tango and Folkloric music history by attending performing arts productions. A somber highlight of the program was a specially-arranged guided tour to the former navy mechanics school Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada (ESMA) where the Argentine military dictatorship of the 1970s and early 1980s sequestered, tortured and killed accused dissidents during a period known as the Dirty War.
The program featured a day-trip across the Rio de La Plata to neighboring Montevideo, the capitol of Uruguay, where the students enjoyed an over-the-top parillada (barbeque) and were able to appreciate the colonial and European architecture of the city.
The students who participated in this program made a visual exhibit of images and artifacts from the trip. It is on display in the hallway beside room 120 in the Ferguson Social Sciences building.
Plans are being made through the International Studies office for a second study abroad program to Argentina during the 2013 May Mini Session.
For more information, please contact Dr. Rodriguez at Robert.Rodriguez@tamuc.edu.