What if you could experience culture and language immersion, cultivate your social justice knowledge, and develop real-world skills to take on some of our most urgent social and environmental challenges in one program? This two-week intensive program offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Spanish language while helping you develop a broad understanding of ecological agriculture practices through hands-on learning. You will expand your Spanish-language proficiency and knowledge of Latinx culture and society through intercultural collaboration while addressing real-world problems related to today’s trans-border agricultural landscape and our food systems.
The program takes place on a 30-acre transitional organic farm near Portland, Oregon. This intercultural experience in a local context makes this program particularly accessible to students who otherwise could not study abroad. Lessons will be taught in Spanish and include topics in basic soil science, seeding in the greenhouse, applying organic amendments, and harvesting techniques interwoven with discussions on agroecology and social justice. This program challenges you to articulate what the Quechua ideal of “buen vivir” (living well together and with the Earth) might look like in the Pacific Northwest and across borders throughout the Americas. You will finish the program with the ability to articulate your own unique visions for how sustainable agriculture can function as a catalyst for a more equitable and inclusive society.
You must have completed two Spanish courses at the 300 level by the start of the program and have a 3.00 GPA in all Spanish courses you have taken at the 300 level or above, OR be able to demonstrate an advanced level of Spanish language proficiency in the form of an interview conducted in Spanish with the program faculty leader.
Students must be comfortable walking on uneven terrain and handling soils, various plants and produce. While participating in activities on the farm, students must be prepared for any weather conditions, including direct sun and high temperatures. Students must be able to manage their own health under these conditions.
You will enroll in one 400 level Spanish course taught by Professor Analisa Taylor for a total of 4 quarter credits.
SPAN 407: Escuela Helvetia Microterm: Una introducción práctica a la agroecología
Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.
UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.
Faculty and Staff
Analisa Taylor, Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Oregon, is the program’s Faculty Director-in-Residence. She specializes in Latin American cultural production and social movements; race, gender, sexuality, and coloniality in Mexico and the Mesoamerican diaspora; and transborder im/migrant rights, food sovereignty, and environmental justice. To learn more about her areas of specialization and written works, click here.
Program Director, Jesse Nichols is the owner of the organic farm where the program takes place and a UO graduate in Spanish and International Studies and holds an MA in Spanish from Portland State University. Jesse’s involvement with nonprofits and a farmworkers’ union in the Portland area has led him to develop an ongoing collaboration with enterprising Latino farmers. Through his non-profit organization, Jesse brings Latino members of these organizations to work at the farm as interns, where they develop the skills, knowledge, and networks necessary to launch their own farms and microenterprises. Check out Jesse’s non-profit organization here: https://www.campopdx.org/.
Homestay with a Spanish-speaking Family:
This is an ideal way to be immersed in Spanish language and Latinx culture. Homestay families provide you with breakfast and dinner each day and light laundry. Lunch will be provided on the farm each day. Each homestay situation in unique and the program cannot guarantee any particular configurations. Host families range from a mother and father with young children, to an older, single host mother. Any arrangement is possible.
Dates and Deadlines
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If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.
Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.