Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development
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Students choose to participate in one of two indigenous people excursions during the semester.
Both excursions focus on Chile's two largest indigenous groups and are approximately two weeks long. In each location, students have seminars, site visits, interactive workshops and group discussions organized by university faculty, development practitioners, government officials, and local community groups. Students consider key cultural, political and social issues that affect these indigenous peoples.
Temuco: Mapuche region
The excursion to the southern region of Chile, near the city of Temuco, is a fascinating journey to the origins of Mapuche culture and society. The Mapuche are the largest indigenous group in Chile. Although the Mapuche successfully resisted foreign conquest for over three centuries, they continue to struggle with the Chilean state for the recovery of their land and their right to self-determination.
During this excursion, students consider the challenges facing the Mapuche population. They spend three days living with a Mapuche family in the rural Makewe community, giving students the chance to understand current development issues from the Mapuche perspective. Students also travel within the region, from the Pacific coast to the Andean mountains, learning about local cultural and economic survival initiatives such as the Llaguepulli Lafkenche community’s projects and the Aldea Intercultural Pehuenche Trawupeyum cultural center.
Topics of study during the excursion include: Mapuche cosmovision, education, alternative development, gender roles, cultural identity, and social movements, including the struggle for native forest protection.
Arica: Aymara region
The excursion to northern Chile—home to Chile's Aymara people—gives students the chance to learn about this important Andean peoples' history and culture. Students examine issues of social justice, intercultural health, and multiculturalism topics, in the context of northern Chile. Andean cultural practices, music, and pre-Columbian regional history are also part of this excursion.
During the excursion, students spend time in the Andean highlands town of Putre, in order to gain better insight into present-day Aymara culture. For three days, students live in a small Andean altiplano town (with an altitude of 2,500- 3,500 meters), in Aymara communities with varied agricultural and animal raising activities.
Students meet with Aymara organizations dedicated to the mission of Aymara cultural recovery and survival, such as Red Comunitaria de Asesores Culturales and the Kimsakalko Cultural Center. Additionally, they have the opportunity to participate in workshops with Aymara youth. At the end of the excursion, SIT Students collaborate with Aymara youth groups working to preserve Andean culture within the city of Arica.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Chile, Valparaiso
Language Study: Spanish
Prerequisites: 3 semesters Spanish Read more...
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