University offers new Bachelor’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Guethshina Altena/Assistant News Director

The University now offers a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies for both on-campus student and fully online students.

Joseph W. Holbrook is a professor at the Latin American Caribbean Center who works closely with some of the students currently involved in the Bachelor’s program.

“It is an interdisciplinary overview of Latin America and the caribbean, and that part is really important because we have students who are interested in Jamaica or Trinidad or Puerto Rico that maybe have no knowledge of South America,” Holbrook said.

Students enrolled in the program are required to take an introductory course which gives a regional overview of Argentina, Colombia, México, Cuba, Puerto Rico as well as some of the English speaking islands.

The introductory course also discusses economics, literature, arts, political science and history. Students can then choose their concentration LACC courses from the curriculum for the program.

At the end of their program, students take an intensive course where they are required to write 12 page research paper on a country, theme or topic of their interest.

“Business students from colombia might do a research paper on the business environment in Columbia or economics or a student from Jamaica who’s into dance or the arts might do a research on Jamaican culture and the arts,” Holbrook said.

LACC affiliated faculty stand for faculty that either are from Latin America or faculty that are teaching or doing research in Latin America.

The program has already seen a couple of graduates and the number is expected to grow as more students learn about the benefits of earning this degree.

“FIU, the name is Florida International University… we have an international vision and the fact that we are located in Miami, we are strategically located with the Caribbean and Latin America for trade business, commerce and culture,” said Holbrook.

Viroselie Caviedes is the coordinator of academic programs at the Latin American and Caribbean Center. She has worked with the department and students since the conception of the bachelor’s program.

“Students have access to faculty in many different areas of research within Latin America and to help them even go on into Masters and Doctorate [programs]. They have that support,” Caviedes said.

LACC has nearly 75 percent Latin American and Caribbean students enrolled and has the largest caribbean affiliated faculty in the nation, with over 200 faculty members spread out in different departments according to Holbrook.

“If a student speaks Spanish or Haitian-Creole or Portuguese and would like to stay in Miami, I would encourage that students to look at the options of doing the double major [the Bachelor  in Latin American and Caribbean Studies] or doing it as a minor because it would give them one more tool to be versatile in their career choices,” he said.

Holbrook said that having that extra degree or certification might make a difference when searching through the job market.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr

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