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Latin American Studies

The Breakdown

Do you love studying Spanish? Are you fascinated by the life of Che Guevara? Is 100 Years of Solitude one of your favorite books? Have you always fantasized about becoming a gaucho? If you’re answering in the affirmative, it sounds as though you’re probably a prime candidate for the Latin American studies major.

Latin American studies majors are quite fortunate. Why? It’s simple; their course of study is quite interdisciplinary allowing them to touch upon a wide range of subjects and departments. Indeed, they learn all about the history and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean through courses in political science, economics, film, literature and anthropology (just to name a few). Of course, most programs also expect their undergrads to become proficient in Spanish. Generally speaking, most classes will be reading and writing intensive. Finally, a majority of Latin American studies majors spend some time studying abroad.

Should you choose to major in Latin American studies, you’ll discover it’s important to be open to different cultures and ways of thinking. You will also find it beneficial to have a good ear for languages and strong communication skills in general. In addition, you should be great at analyzing and synthesizing information. However, we recommend that you don’t operate based upon the Mayan calendar.

Nuts and Bolts

As a Latin American studies major, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a wide range of topics including: Latin American Economic Development, Jorge Luis Borges, Colonialism and its Consequences in the Americas, Aztecs and Their Ancestors, Early Empires of the Andes: The Middle Horizon, Modernity in Brazil, Cinema of the Cuban Revolution, Economics of Immigration, Dictatorship in Latin America, Contemporary Caribbean Discourse and International Politics and Drugs.

Decisions, Decisions

Latin American studies majors are typically curious about other languages, cultures and the way they develop. Therefore, they would also probably be interested in Spanish, international relations, anthropology, East Asian studies, African studies, American studies, history, political science, economics, Portuguese, international business, archeology, international education, comparative literature and Slavic studies.

What's Next

All right – we’ll admit it. Latin American studies does not necessarily prepare you for any specific career track. However, therein lies the beauty. The skills you’ll both hone and acquire are applicable to a variety of fields and professional pursuits. Indeed, if you do a little digging, you’ll find fellow majors working in numerous industries. To begin, it’s fairly common for graduates to become translators or interpreters. Journalism is another popular route with majors often focusing on South American stories/beats/bureaus. Many graduates, in search of adventure, seek positions with non-profits and NGOs, working and volunteering in Latin America. International business is also a great path, with a handful of majors focusing on import/export. Additionally, government jobs are widely held with students becoming everything from immigration and customs officials to foreign service officers, dignitaries and diplomats. Still others might be found in such diverse fields as hospitality, consulting, social work and education. Truly you can start with Latin American studies and (perhaps ironically) end up virtually anywhere!


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