“I could never have learned what I did from a book or a lecture. I had to live the border—see it, touch it, feel the dry heat, experience the racial profiling – to really understand it. There were so many times this semester when words were unnecessary. We just had to look, at the wall, the military bases, etc.” ~Program Participant.
“BSP has truly changed my heart and encouraged me to keep fighting for various social justice issues.”~Program Participant
The Border Studies Program is a semester-long program designed to assist you in acquiring more complex and sophisticated analyses of issues related to migration, identity (including your own positionalities), and social justice. You will have the unique opportunity to make connections between communities through direct living, working, and traveling that accompany academic study. Through these experiences, you will be challenged to reflect upon your roles and to think critically about the ways in which you choose to participate in movement-building and community work.
Location: Where will you study?Tucson, Arizona
Based in Tucson, Arizona, the Border Studies Program is situated in a complex and critical geographic bioregion, offering unique opportunities to social, cultural, ecological and political issues in a local, regional, and international context. Located in a dynamic multinational border region, Tucson’s history of cultural, environmental and social struggle has shaped the interventions of myriad individuals, organizations and communities working to protect the unique ecosystem, cultural identities and lives of peoples who inhabit the arid lands of Sonora, Arizona and beyond. Our classroom: the Historic Y
The Border Studies Program classroom is located in the Historic Y, a shared office building that hosts a number of Tucson nonprofits, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, the Sierra Club Borderlands Campaign, and the Audubon Society; as well as the Paulo Freire Freedom School (a k-8 charter school) and two theater companies.
The Historic Y is ideally located adjacent to 4th Ave., one Tucson’s primary bohemian commercial corridor, and less than a mile from the University of Arizona and the downtown Ronstadt transit center. Our classroom is located on the second floor – however plans are currently under way to construct an elevator that would dramatically improve accessibility, allowing direct access from the ground floor to the Border Studies Program’s offices and classroom.
Key Program Elements
The southern Arizona borderlands are defined by intense contestation around a host of issues that are coming to define the 21st century. In this context, we have created a structured, dynamic, semester-long program that allows students an immersive engagement with:
• hands-on experience in contemporary justice struggles
• an expansive curriculum that values grassroots knowledge
• an approach that challenges students to understand and articulate the context and implications of
their own positionalities
• homestays with diverse, local families
• community-based internships in grassroots and/or non-profit organizations
• community-based internships in grassroots and/or non-profit organizations short and overnight
excursions throughout the Borderlands region, including Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and the
Mexican state of Sonora
• an intentional community of critical thinkers, learners, and activists
• a rigorous academic curriculum
Experiential LearningThe unique combination of coursework, field studies, and travel create an outstanding opportunity for you to deepen your understanding of your own positionalities in relation to space, a multitude of communities, and their particular struggles for social justice. Excursions and engagement in your field studies allows you to bridge academic themes such as migration, the global economy, environmental degradation, development, sustainability, transnational communities, international boundaries, and justice, with everyday effects and responses in lands and communities marked by numerous inequalities. As one aspect of the program’s experiential learning curriculum, you will engage with diverse people and community organizations living and working along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Eligibility, Credits and Program Fees
The Border Studies Program is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors from all academic backgrounds and majors in good standing at any college or university. All participants must be full-time undergraduate students. One year of college level Spanish is required to participate in the program. For more about the Spanish language requirements, please check out the Language Learning section under Academic Program.
Please review specific policies at your college or university related to program approval and participation. The Border Studies program is more than willing to work with students from any institution to assist with their participation with the program.
Students may earn 18 semester credits (or equivalent) for successful completion of the program. All students must be full time participants.
Program fees cover academic costs, room and board, and required program excursions as well as transfer of credits and grades. Students at member colleges of the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) remain eligible for their college’s financial aid program and should consult the Financial Aid Office on their campuses.
Students are responsible for the cost of transportation to and from the program site, books and materials, independent travel, and personal expenses.
For more information, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org