Latin American Studies

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Program Overview

Fairfield University's commitment to a humanistic perspective and to the concept of social justice requires that Fairfield students be introduced to the "other" Americans who inhabit this hemisphere. The vibrant cultures of the Caribbean and Central and South American nations - which blend indigenous, European, and African influences - provide a rich field of study that can be approached from many points of view. Fairfield's minor program in Latin American and Caribbean studies offers a humanistic perspective on the people of these countries, their customs, their politics, art, and civilization.

  • Experience a world of infinite diversity
  • Expand your classroom learning
  • Transform your vision of the world
  • Become involved in community work and research

‌The Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies offers students an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the multifaceted aspects of the Latin American and Caribbean countries, including the political and economical involvement of the United States. Some of the themes considered in the courses offered in the program include:

  • The pre-Columbian indigenous cultures
  • The systems of African slavery
  • Economic dependency
  • 20th-century revolutions in politics
  • Literature
  • The arts
  • The churches
  • The reassertion of negritude and Indian rights

You may choose this program for its own inherent interest or to enhance a major in Spanish, politics, economics, history, sociology and anthropology, or fine arts. Latin American and Caribbean studies bundles together a strong array of courses on the nations and people of the Americas that are offered in all the above fields.

The faculty also encourage you to take a semester abroad in Latin America or the Caribbean through our international programs to gain a deeper understanding of the particular culture you are studying.

Students who successfully complete the LACS minor at Fairfield University will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic knowledge of the history, geography, economics, biodiversity, political processes, social dynamics, and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean. Through accurate referencing of factual data about the regions’ basic geographical characteristics, major historical developments, most salient cultural aspects, and major current events throughout different courses’ assignments and evaluations.
  2. Demonstrate breadth in approaching questions pertaining to the regions by seeking, applying, and evaluating relevant literature generated by Latin American and Caribbean authors.
  3. Demonstrate analytic, interpretive and critical thinking skills to explore issues and trends affecting or characterizing the Latin American and Caribbean regions in the LACS culminating research project.
  4. Students will demonstrate depth in their approach to questions pertaining to these regions by conducting integrative inquiries that recognize complexity and multi-causality in the subjects explored, through the application of interdisciplinary methodologies, longitudinal analysis, and/or cross-national or cross-cultural comparative inquiries in the LACS culminating research project.

The Bailey Family Nicaragua Fund

Each year, the Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies grants financial support through the Bailey Family Nicaragua Fund to a select group of students engaging in study in Latin America. The grants range in value from $500 to $2,500 and were established in 2007 through the generosity of Mr. Carl Bailey. The grants can contribute to the expenses of any of the following: travel, accommodation, and other expenses related to an approved project. Deadline for applications is at the end of April each year. 


The Latin American and Caribbean Studies minor, an interdisciplinary program, offers students an opportunity to develop a focus on this multifaceted area of the world.

To earn a 15 credit Latin American and Caribbean Studies minor, students (1) complete four three-credit courses and one capstone seminar, and (2) must demonstrate proficiency in one of the following languages: Spanish, French, or Portuguese. The four courses, from a range of fifteen disciplines (no more than three from any one discipline) listed below, must be exclusively or substantially concerned with Latin American and/or the Caribbean. A Capstone Seminar, selected from LAC 300, 301, 373 and 399, is required of all minors in their junior or senior year.

Language Proficiency

Student may demonstrate language proficiency when they pass SP 211, FR 211, or PG 211.


Study Abroad

Students are strongly advised to apply for a junior semester or year abroad in a country of Latin America or the Caribbean from a wide range of programs. Summer programs are also available. Students are par­ticularly encouraged to study in Nicaragua through our partner, Universidad Centroamericana-Managua. Other approved country programs include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Peru. Summer programs and short term immersions are available too.  Short term courses led by Fairfield University faculty members include courses in Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Students are also encouraged to do an internship in a Latin American or Caribbean country (see LAC 373 description under Course Offerings). Funding assistance for internships and research abroad is available through inquiry with the LACS Program Directors.

Note: While the majority of courses taken abroad should count towards a LACS minor, in some cases, based on content, an abroad course may not be awarded credit towards the LACS minor.

Students may count courses taken for the Latin American and Caribbean studies minor toward their core course or major program requirements.

Course Offerings

See Latin American and Caribbean Studies course descriptions from our catalog for more information 

Applied Ethics

  • AE 384: Reflections on the Environment: Focus on Latin America and the Caribbean

Art History

  • AH 13: Art of Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas


  • BI 319: Zoology Field Experience*


  • EC 112: Economic Aspects of Current Social Problems*
  • EC 120: Environmental Economics
  • EC 230: Comparative Economic Systems: Latin America*
  • EC 235: Economic Development*


  • EN 105: African Diaspora: Literature and Culture
  • EN 114/FR 295: Caribbean Literature: History, Culture and Identity
  • EN 123: Colonial Contacts & Flights
  • EN 282: Introduction to Latino Literature
  • EN 375: Caribbean Women Writers


  • FR 211: Intermediate French


  • HI 288: Colonial Latin America, 1492 to 1810
  • HI 289: Modern Latin America, 1800 to Present
  • HI 297: Power, Politics, History: United States-Latin American Relations    
  • HI 383: Food Consumption and Commodities in Latin America: From Chocolate to Cocaine*

International Studies

  • IL 295: Seminar in International Studies*

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

  • LAC 300: Justice and the Developing World
  • LAC 301: Latin America and the United States
  • LAC 373: Internship in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • LAC 399: Independent Study


  • MU 122: World Music and Ensemble*

Nursing, School of

  • NS 330: Public Health Nursing*
  • NS 340: Global Public Health


  • PO 142: Latin American Politics


  • PG 211: Intermediate Portugese

Religious Studies

  • RS 235: Liberation Theology

Sociology and Anthropology

  • SO 185: Introduction to International Migration*
  • SO 188: Contemporary Latin American and Caribbean Society
  • SO 191: Social Change in Developing Nations*


  • SP 211: Intermediate Spanish
  • SP 220: Topics in Language & Culture*
  • SP 231B: Career-Oriented Spanish (Business)
  • SP 231N: Career-Oriented Spanish (Nursing)
  • SP 245: Analysis and Interpretation of Hispanic Literature
  • SP 253: Spanish American Civilization
  • SP 271: Hispanic Film
  • SP 303: From Empire to Modernization in Spanish Literature
  • SP 305: Popular Culture in Latin America
  • SP 306: Cuban Film: Capturing Revolution
  • SP 353: Spanish American Narrative
  • SP 359: Culture, Civilization, and Literature in the Spanish-American Caribbean Region
  • SP 360; Dictatorship and Revolutionary Movements in Contemporary Latin America
  • SP 363: Literature and Culture of the Hispanic Caribbean Migration and Diaspora
  • SP 371: Images of Latin American Indians
  • SP 381: Coordinating Seminar: Exit Research Study*

See departmental listings for course descriptions. Note that some of the courses listed above are instructor dependent (noted with *), in that not all sections of a particular course may be suitable for LACS pro­gram credit.

International Programs

Global Fairfield

The faculty of the Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) strongly urge you to experience first-hand the reality of a Latin American or Caribbean country. Such an experience will greatly expand your classroom learning, and give you a cultural awareness that can be acquired in no other way. Only through immersion in the culture of one of these countries will you be enabled to grasp effectively the important issues facing the region and assess the impact of those issues on the United States, and other parts of the world.

When you study in a Latin American or Caribbean country, you will fulfill most, if not all, of the requirements for the LACS minor, or you will become motivated to do an individually designed major in LACS.

You will have unique opportunities such as:

  • Living in the home of a local family
  • Improving your linguistic skills by interacting daily with native speakers
  • Developing a specific field of specialization
  • Participating in various service activities
  • Traveling through diverse physical landscapes and ethnic cultures

Such experiences may inspire you to pursue advanced study in the field or to develop a cross-cultural career. Indeed the growing economies of the region result in increasing job opportunities for graduates with a minor or major in LACS, who speak Spanish or Portuguese, and have been exposed to the business culture of these countries.

Just as important, study and service learning in Latin America or the Caribbean will deepen your understanding of the many social and economic inequalities that confront the people south of our borders. Witnessing some of the harsh realities of these societies and learning about their causes and consequences will propel you, as a student of Fairfield University, to reflect on the Jesuit commitment to social justice, and on your role as an agent of betterment for these communities.

Fairfield University in Latin America and the Caribbean

Fairfield University or its affiliates provide semester- and year-long programs in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The LACS program encourages you to consider CIEE's Open Campus program in South America. CIEE offers a generous scholarship for this program, which covers your flight and living expenses. In a single semester, the Open Campus program allows students to do comparative studies between two of the following countries: Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Additionally, the University offers short-term service-learning programs and internships in Brazil, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

For information and application contact:
Office of International Education/Study Abroad Office
Dolan House, second floor
Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824-5195
Phone: (203) 254-4332
Fax: (203) 254-4261

For exploring opportunities to study or intern in Latin America and the Caribbean or to volunteer in community-oriented projects as part of a service learning program, contact:

Dr. Sergio Adrada Rafael
Co-Director of the Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies
CNS 215

Dr. Jennifer Adair
Co-Director of the Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies
CNS 319

Internships & Service

With the International Studies program, Latin American and Caribbean Studies offers internships that expose you to services and activities that involve the Latino/a community, here and abroad.

Students can do short-term summer internships in Brazil or Guatemala. To hear from a recent student intern, Click Here (partial funding is available).

Interns can work with The International Executive Service Corps in Stamford. This organization sends business executives overseas on troubleshooting missions. Interns write project evaluations of these missions.

Another internship is at Technoserve, an organization in Norwalk that supports grassroots development projects in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

In addition, you can take the course IL 298 Internship in International Studies, which offers placements at local organizations that have an international component, such as:

  • Soup kitchen
  • Orphanage for disable children
  • Home for disabled adolescents
  • Other Catholic service agencies


The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the dedicated members of our Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program.

Student & Alumni Spotlight

Kayla Urbanowski headshot

Kayla Urbanowski

Class of '17

Get to Know Kayla

Undergrad Degree: Biology and Environmental Studies, Double Major; Latin American and Caribbean Studies Minor
Hometown: Mount Vernon, NY
Extracurricular Activities: Martial Arts, Archery Club, Intramural Sports, Alliance Club, Alpha Mu Gamma, Health Professions Program, Internship at the Stamford Animal Embassy, WiSTEM Member 

Why did you choose to attend Fairfield University?

There are many reasons as to why I chose Fairfield University. Fairfield University has such a fine academic program and a long history of success! I knew that I would gain a valuable and fulfilling education at Fairfield, especially through the core, which I believe makes students well rounded. Furthermore, Fairfield has small class sizes, allowing students and faculty to better communicate. Fairfield University is also close to New York City, which allows for many unique internship and work opportunities. Fairfield is a Jesuit Institution, which I am very fond of. I like how the school motivates students to incorporate the four Jesuit Values into their daily lives.  

Through my two years at Fairfield, I have experienced all of the factors that made me choose Fairfield University. I can honestly say that I made the right decision and I am glad that I get to study at such a special school! 


How/why did you select your major/minor?

Before I began studying at Fairfield University, I knew that I loved science and animals. I started college as a Biology major, under the Pre-Veterinary program, which would allow me to study science while fulfilling the requirements necessary for veterinary school. I have always had a passion for animals and becoming a veterinarian has always been my greatest dream! During my freshman year, I also took a couple of environmental studies classes and I realized that I also loved studying about environmental policy and reform. I decided to declare environmental studies as my double major. Both majors have been very rewarding for me as I have been able to take classes that interest me and that help bring me closer to my dreams!

As my sophomore year came to a close, I also decided that I wanted to declare Latin American and Caribbean Studies as my minor because of my deep-rooted interest in Brazil. I studied Portuguese for two years and I adore the language! I am also very excited for my study abroad adventure in Brazil, where I plan to fully immerse myself in the culture so that I can truly benefit from my time abroad! Having a Latin American and Caribbean Studies minor will help me learn more about Brazil and its neighboring countries!      


What attributes regarding the faculty did you find particularly helpful/encouraging?

All of the faculty members that I have encountered at Fairfield University have had a genuine interest in helping students accomplish their goals and achieve success. My elementary Portuguese teacher, Dr. Michelle Farrell, in particular, had a rather significant impact on my life. Through her lessons of Portuguese, she also taught about the culture of Brazil and about her experiences there, making me fall in love with the amazing country and its diverse culture. I will now be studying abroad there for six months and I am excited for every opportunity that comes my way! She was also very supportive of my decision to declare a Latin American and Caribbean Studies minor, even helping me fill out my form and choose my relevant classes! She is always there to listen to me or help me out with a recommendation letter, which I truly appreciate!

I have also interacted with some other faculty members of the Foreign Language Department through my participation in Alpha Mu Gamma. Dr. Wilkinson and Dr. Erotopoulos have been very helpful with informing me about opportunities, which ultimately helped me received the Department of Modern Language’s Study Abroad Scholarship.  Overall, all the faculty members that I have met and worked with have done everything in their power to help me learn about new opportunities, work towards them, and do the things that would ultimately bring me happiness!

Life After Fairfield

The minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies can add significantly to your qualification for employment and graduate study. Students who have minored in Latin American and Caribbean studies are engaged in positions in:

  • Law
  • Government
  • Teaching
  • International trade
  • Environment
  • Journalism
  • Social work

A number of recent graduates have been awarded Fulbright scholarships.

Learn more about how Fairfield's Career Planning Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

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