C.V. Starr Middlebury School in Uruguay
About the Program
The C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in Latin America is based in Buenos Aires and has an office in Santiago. Sites located outside these two capital cities seek to capture some of the diversity of this region. Students interested in a high degree of immersion are strongly encouraged to consider these more provincial sites where there are often few other U.S. students. All course work is conducted entirely in the local language. The program emphasizes acquisition of language skills and intellectual development through a curriculum of linguistic, literary, and cultural study exclusively in Spanish.
This program is recommended for advanced students of Spanish or Portuguese who are both independent learners and highly motivated.
The C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in Latin America in Montevideo facilitates enrollment at one of three local universities, the Universidad Católica del Uruguay, the Universidad de la República, or the Universidad ORT. Although students do not register for courses until they arrive in Latin America, there is limited course information available on each university's website. Students should use these listings as guides to the types of courses that will be available to them and as a basis for discussion with their academic advisors. In addition to two to four university courses and the option of an internship, students are required to take the writing course during their first term of study in Latin America.
Fought over by Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay became independent in the early nineteenth century. For most of its history, it has been a major cattle-raising country and, like Argentina, celebrates its gaucho heritage. During the first half of the twentieth century, Uruguay was the most stable nation in South America, with strong social welfare programs and a relatively egalitarian social structure that made it known as "The Switzerland of South America." However, changes in world trade patterns led Uruguay into economic and political decline, produced the famous Tupamaros movement, and resulted as elsewhere in military rule. Democratic government was restored in 1985, while the rich heritage of egalitarian and social welfare policies continues to be felt.
The smallest and least populated of the nations making up South America, nearly half of Uruguay's three million inhabitants call Montevideo home. Located on Uruguay's southern coastline and separated from its more famous western neighbor in Argentina by the estuary of the world's widest river, the Rio de la Plata, Montevideo is a different world from Buenos Aires. While it, too, is a cosmopolitan city, also of primarily Spanish and Italian heritage, there is also a significant African influence. Smaller, calmer, and less expensive than Buenos Aires, Montevideo nonetheless boasts the usual cultural and entertainment facilities of a major city: including historical monuments, museums, theaters, cinemas, a varied and fascinating, if somewhat under-maintained architecture, the famous Avenida 18 de Julio, as well as stunning beaches, and a unique and lively nightlife. While in Montevideo, students may take classes at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay, the Universidad de la República, or the Universidad ORT.
- 3.0 cumulative GPA
- Completion of at least Spanish 3040
- Students are expected to enroll in a course in Spanish the semester prior to the term abroad
Fields of Study
Anthropology, Biological Sciences, Communication, Economics, Film Studies, History, International Relations, Latin American Studies, Linguistics, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Economy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish
Following a brief orientation, students directly enroll in two to four university courses per semester alongside their Latin American counterparts and the Cuaderno/Caderno Latinoamericano course, a journal course taught by local faculty and designed to help students process and analyze their experience in Latin America through a series of structured writing assignments (3 credit hours). Students have the option of applying for a credit-bearing internship (3 credit hours). Internships are available in many different fields, and students have worked in a variety of institutions including the arts, education, health care and job training agencies, women’s advocacy groups, neighborhood government offices, institutions of economic, social, and political research, and city planning offices. A minimum of 15 credit hours per semester is required.
The Cuaderno/Caderno transforms the out-of-classroom experience in Latin America into a structured part of the academic program. The required activity combines learning about culture with the writing process. The course is composed of several parts: an analytical notebook with your experiences, some required readings, and two reports. The reports and the Cuaderno/Caderno must be written in Spanish.
To take full advantage of their stay abroad, students are expected to maintain the spirit of the Middlebury College Language Pledge and to speak only Spanish or Portuguese while in Latin America. No English will be used, except for emergency consultations with the Director.
While in Montevideo, students may take classes at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay, the Universidad de la República, or the Universidad ORT.
Universidad Católica del Uruguay: Founded in 1985, a few days after the country was returned to democratic rule, this is a private liberal arts institution that has complex historical roots dating back to the first Jesuit educational institution founded in the late seventeenth century in Uruguay. While standing firmly in the Jesuits' long history of providing alternative forms of education in Uruguay, Católica was designed to be complementary to the sole university authorized by the Uruguayan constitution, La República. Católica has a full range of social science and humanities disciplines including economics (though history and literature courses are currently only for foreign students) and is also very strong in the natural sciences.
Universidad de la República: Founded in 1838 to be the sole university of the republic, it currently enrolls a total of more than 68,000 students on its numerous campuses throughout the country and employs some 6,000 faculty. 40,000 of these students attend classes in Montevideo, where every major discipline is represented. It would be particularly well-suited for students in the humanities.
Universidad ORT: A private institution of some 8,500 students, sponsored by the World ORT, an international educational foundation and social agency founded by Russian Jews in St. Petersburg in 1880 and now centered in London, the Universidad ORT began its existence in 1943, though has only recently been recognized as a university. It is committed to providing universal access to higher education. Unlike most Latin American institutions, it takes pride in its full-time faculty, most with PhDs, who divide their time between teaching and research on the U.S. model. The university is especially strong in the social sciences, the faculty for which is housed in a series of imaginatively renovated buildings located on a block in a charming section of the city.
Middlebury encourages students to fully immerse themselves in local Montevideo life by taking full advantage of cultural exchange opportunities. While studying will be an important part of the semester, equally as important is the investment that students make in engaging with their host communities. The experience of living with a host family can provide invaluable insight into Uruguayan society while also helping students develop language skills. At the university, students are considered fully fledged university students, with access to all of the same resources and social experiences as degree-seeking students.
Because Middlebury facilitates enrollment at three different universities, students should pay close attention to the personality of each university to fully understand the different academic and social opportunities available at each.
Students will be housed in carefully selected Uruguayan homes in Montevideo, which will give them the opportunity to improve their Spanish daily and to integrate with Uruguay’s culture. The program coordinator makes all housing arrangements.
C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in Latin America
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