Presentation on theme: "Latin America Hannah Gill Institute for the Study of the Americas and CGI"— Presentation transcript:
Latin America Hannah Gill Institute for the Study of the Americas and CGI
Find students and faculty with international experience Faculty International Expertise Database International Internship Database
Library Resources Holly Ackerman Librarian for Latin America and Iberia Teresa Chapa Latin American and Iberian Resources Bibliographer
Film resources Latin American film library at the Global Education Center on the third floor (in the Institute for the Study of the Americas)
Up to date info on safety in Mexico: facebook group:
Thinking about context Are you in a rural or urban place? What is the ethnic, racial, linguistic and class background of the people you are hanging out with? What are the expectations for interaction between people of different genders?
Scenario #1 Scenario #1: You are staying with a family in an urban, middle class neighborhood in La Paz, Bolivia. The family speaks Spanish. You are intent on learning local idioms and vocabulary and throw yourself into the learning process. You’ve noticed that the family you live with frequently uses the word “cholo” to refer to people living in the country. When you use the word, however, on a trip to a rural community in the Andes, people don’t seem to understand you and you get ambivalent responses. What is going on?
"Colla" or "cholo/a" means somebody from the Altiplano or someone who identifies strongly with indigenous heritage. "Cholo" also carries rural connotations and can be used like a derogatory word for "campesinos." "Camba" is someone from the western lowlands, usually from Santa Cruz de la Sierra (in Bolivia, at least). It's often also associated with the more European heritage claimed by the majority of people from that region. They're words that can be used colloquially, even between in- groups and out-groups, but can easily become as derogatory, especially if used by a foreigner trying to be part of one of those in-groups. It's one of those things that's really difficult to put into words, but helpful to at least know about beforehand.
“My advice is especially relevant for the Andean countries (Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, parts of Argentina above all). The dynamics between indigenous and Spanish backgrounds is difficult to conceptualize before experiencing it, but be sensitive to those dynamics. Be on the lookout for new words with loaded meanings and stay away from using them, even if in-country host family and friends do. Also, be aware of indigenous languages like Aymara and Quechua. I know I was super confused the first time I went to the neighborhood where I worked and only understood about 50% of the ‘Spanish’ before I was aware of the rapid code-switching bilingual speakers do all the time, often without thinking about it.”
Scenario #2 You are staying in a homestay in a rural community completing an internship in a local organization. The community experiences high rates of poverty and many families have migrated to other cities and countries. Many residents have asked you advice about how to get visas, and sometimes children will come up to you and ask for treats or money. You strike up a friendship with someone in the community who is your age of the opposite sex, who you like a lot and get along with well. He/She invites you to take a walk with you alone one evening. How should you proceed?
“Here at UNC Chapel Hill, we think nothing of people of the opposite sex hanging out alone together. It doesn’t mean that you like someone just because you are alone with them, and here at UNC I have lots of good friends of the opposite sex. I found, though, that this gender dynamic was really different my rural community in central Mexico, and that hanging out with guys without other people around can potentially create some false expectations, since in rural communities like the one I was in, guys and girls don’t mix a whole lot, and if they do, it’s in groups.
…A guy and a girl hanging out alone are perceived as an item. My host mother would scold me if I ever walked around alone, and it was unheard of for a female to walk around alone at night. It just was not seen as proper. The gender dynamic also made a difference when wanting to interview someone of the opposite sex. I learned it was improper to interview a man without his wife or other family members present. I later learned that I was living in a religiously conservative area, and it was very different from Mexico City. “
Scenario #3 You are completing an internship in a small community or neighborhood with high rates of poverty, depression and alcoholism. You make friends with some neighbors who invite you to have some beers with them one evening outside. You’ve noticed that your host family never consumes alcohol. What should you do?
“I was trying to connect with local youth, particularly young men, who have few employment options—most leave to work in the city or migrate to a different country. For those left behind, there is not much to do, and alcoholism can be an issue of contention between men and women in a place where social codes frown upon women drinking. Frequently, in the evenings, men would get together in groups and hang out to drink. Women and children generally avoided them and stayed inside after dark. As I got to know some young men better, they invited me to drink with them in the evenings...
…I was not sure what to do so I checked in with other interns and also talked to a respected male elder in my community. He called the kids “hooligans” and said I would be mixing with the wrong crowd. In the end I and the group decided that we would decline drinking while in our very small internship community, because of the tensions around alcoholism, and leave libations to our days off in the larger city when we weren’t working. I encouraged the young men to join our soccer league so we could hang out in a more constructive context. I was glad of this when two weeks later a knife fight broke out between the youth one evening while drinking.”
Scenario #4 You are getting along well with your host family and they are going out of their way to accommodate you, including preparing special foods for you. You return home for lunch one day and see that your host mother has made fresh-squeezed tamarind juice. You are not sure you like tamarind juice and you are also unsure whether it was made with purified water that won’t make you sick. What do you do?
Other advice from students… Crime: criminals work in groups and can tell pretty quickly if you're not local. Stay in groups and don’t get too wasted when you are going out—you are a sitting duck! Don't rent from phone companies. I got scammed. Bring a phone that has a SIM card and get a card down there, or buy a cell phone and a calling card from a corner store. DON'T give out your credit information. Banking: ATMs are everywhere in Latin American cities, not so much in rural areas. Check what it costs to withdraw $$ from your ATM. Some US banks have agreements with LA banks and won’t charge to withdraw $$. You might consider bringing two atm cards in case a machine eats one of them. Most definitely try to speak Spanish whenever you get the chance. Most of the people I met were more than happy to work with my Spanglish and I had a pretty epic conversations.. I know hearing catcalls was one big culture shock for the girls on my trip. Also, at boliches (dance clubs) in Buenos Aires, if a guy comes up to to dance with you, it actually means he wants to dance with you for a while and then make out with you. So that freaked out some girls when they're getting their groove on and all of a sudden homeboy starts trying to make a move.