photos by Kurt Davies
Kurt Davies, Class of '11, spent a semester in 2010 at the School for Field Studies in Atenas, Costa Rica, studying ecology and environmental issues while living on a sustainable farm and working at a national park.
A year earlier, Davies traveled to Nueva Vida, Nicaragua, with Bucknell's Grassroots Development: Nicaragua summer program, studying worker-owned cooperatives and witnessing the pronounced contrasts between the wealthy and the extremely poor in various Managua neighborhoods, government offices and sweat shops.
"I really feel as an international relations major it is very important to spend some time in the region you are studying," said Davies, who also has a concentration in Latin American Studies. "I spent most of my time in Costa Rica in national parks studying how they operate. The United States created the concept of national parks, but you can really see a progression of conservation in the Costa Rican system."
The experiences brought to life many of the lessons Davies had learned in his classes, he said. Formed more than 35 years ago, the International Relations and Latin American Studies programs provide an interrelated and interdisciplinary background in a range of world issues and opportunities for study abroad as well as the chance to interact with international scholars through lecture series that have included Jorge Castañeda, global distinguished professor of politics and Latin American and Caribbean studies at New York University, and former minister of external affairs for Mexico.|| See related newsletter.
These programs provide students with "a scholarly, intellectual framework through which they can interpret the global system," Associate Professor of Latin American Studies LaVonne Poteet said. Many International Relations and Latin American Studies students are double majors, and all IR majors are required to have an area concentration in a major world region. Students in these programs tend to reach a high level of proficiency in another language, and the curriculum prepares graduates for careers with non-governmental organizations, finance, the academic world, and international organizations, such as the Peace Corps.
"Ultimately, we are born into a global world, and our students have to be global citizens," said Emek Uçarer, associate professor of international relations.
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