SIT Buenos Aires: Public Health in Urban Environments
Buenos Aires, Argentina
About the Program
Site visits and other learning experiences are relevant to the program’s theme. A program focused on global health may include visits to hospitals, rural clinics, or refugee camps. A program focused on economy may include an internship with a local business or financial institution. Students studying climate change and natural resource management may spend extensive time in nature reserves and national parks.
The SIT program model is one of experiential learning abroad. SIT has been providing immersive, field-based study abroad programs for undergraduates for more than 50 years. SIT programs are based on the experiential learning model, which merges hands-on learning with reflection. Programs combine classroom learning with time spent in the field observing, interacting with local stakeholders, and learning from local experts.
This experiential approach gives you the opportunity to gain a deep understanding of a critical global issue. You may find yourself interviewing local community members in the local language (with the help of a translator, when necessary), observing wildlife in its natural habitat, practicing a local art form, or participating in a community project designed by local development experts.
On the SIT Argentina: Public Health in Urban Environments program, you will investigate public health policy, epidemiology, and issues of equity and access in Buenos Aires – one of Latin America's largest cities. Learn from Argentinean health experts, authorities, and advocates
The program will be based at ISALUD University, Argentina's primary academic institution for public and private health managers and stakeholders. In addition to ISALUD faculty, program lecturers will include academics from Arturo Jauretche National University (AJNU) and practitioners from Hospital El Cruce.
In order to encounter myriad perspectives on urban health-related challenges, students will engage with a diversity of Argentinean healthcare service providers and civil society advocates, as well as university medical students.
The program will likely include a community stay in the municipality of Florencio Varela as well as an excursion to Tucumán in northern Argentina, Mendoza in the west, and/or to Neuquen in southern Argentina.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina, the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, known locally as "The Land of the Six Continents" for its geographic and climatic diversity, has a long and fascinating history and is a major economic and political power in South America. The capital, Buenos Aires, famous for its 47 historically and culturally distinctive neighborhoods such as La Boca and La Recoleta, is, at the same time the most cosmopolitan city on the continent, largely as a result of a wave of European immigration in the early 20th century.
Almost half of the population of 36 million Argentines are said to live in Greater Buenos Aires and its province. Even so, the city is renowned for its parks and squares, which give it a sense of spaciousness. A major economic and political center, it is also a lively and cultured city with a European feel. Tango was, of course, invented here and is today a virtual obsession; that and a wide variety of other musical styles are at the very core of the local, "porteño" culture along with the "gaucho" heritage of freedom and independence.
Yet, Buenos Aires is also home to innumerable art galleries, some 100 museums, countless historical and architectural monuments (including art deco), a cemetery that rivals Paris' Père Lachaise, over 90 theaters, 100 movie theaters, classical music groups and orchestras, ballet, and opera (the Colón Theater is ranked among the top three in the world), while the ubiquitous sidewalk cafés offer unparalleled opportunities for people-watching.
More European than South American in flavor, Buenos Aires' heart boasts bustling streets, grand avenues, old-time cafes and stylish restaurants. It's a city of tragedy and elation; a vibrant, cosmopolitan capital where locals are renowned for their flair and cockiness, even in times of adversity. Founded in 1536, Argentina’s capital is often referred to as the Paris of Latin America. Within this immense, yet surprisingly navigable Latin American metropolis, elegant 19th-century buildings and café life offer glimpses of Europe and the Middle East.
Fields of Study
Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, International Development, Public Health, Social Policy and Practice, Sociology
- 3.0 cumulative GPA
- Completion of two course in Spanish at Tulane, including SPAN 2040 or higher, with a grade of B or higher in the year prior to study abroad
- Previous college-level coursework in public health, development studies, or other related fields is also required
This program will provide students interested in public health, health sciences, development studies, and other disciplines the opportunity to scrutinize health-related challenges in urban environments. Students will learn from academics and practitioners associated with leading institutions in Argentina.
Major topics of study include:
In addition to courses focusing on these topics, students will take a Public Health Research Methods and Ethics course to prepare you for your Independent Study Project or internship. During the final four weeks of the program, you will either participate in an internship seminar or conduct an Independent Study Project.
- Health system organization
- The political process of defining a public health agenda
- Social determinants of health
- Intercultural barriers to quality care
- Chronic diseases in urban environments
- Health needs specific to urban environments
Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
This seminar consists of a four-week internship working with a local social organization, health services and research institutions in the City of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires province, Tucumán or Mendoza. The aim of the internship is to enable the student to gain valuable work experience and to enhance their skills in an international work environment. Students will complete an internship and submit a paper in which they process their learning experience on the job, analyze an issue important to the organization, and/or design a project or activity that address a need identified by the organization. An internship advisor/mentor appropriate to the organization/institution is also selected. Mentors are usually host country research professionals. In conducting their internship students directly utilize the concepts and skills of field-based learning. The internship will be conducted in Spanish.
Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
Conducted in Buenos Aires or in another approved location appropriate to the project, the Independent Study Project offers students the opportunity to conduct field research on a topic of their choice within the program's thematic parameters. The project integrates learning from the various components of the program and culminates in a final presentation and formal research paper. Sample topic areas: health problems associated with urban lifestyles, grassroots advocacy and healthcare services; AIDS policy and care; public health consequences of environmental contamination; gender and reproductive rights; challenges to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals in Argentina; healthcare access among immigrant populations.
SIT programs are cohort- and field-based. You will be intensely studying a topic with a group of American students, taking a prescribed set of courses. These courses are supplemented by guest lectures given by local specialists in the fields of study along with site visits and excursions to various locations within the country.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
On the Argentina: Public Health in Urban Environments program, past site visits have included:
Nestled in the foothills of the Andes, the city of Mendoza is known for promoting universal access to contraception. The six-day excursion to Mendoza is therefore focused on sexual and reproductive health. By shadowing public health professionals and health promoters, you will learn how social and health services are delivered within low-income neighborhoods. You will visit a social security health service and private health providers to learn about projects to make health services more readily available. The visit will also include a debate, giving you the opportunity to discuss healthcare issues with stakeholders. At the Universidad del Aconcagua, you will talk with experts about Mendoza’s epidemiological profile and health and social policies. Students from the university’s School of Medicine will mentor you during your visit.
Tucumán is considered one of poorest provinces in the country. Since Argentina’s 2001 economic crisis, there have been significant efforts to improve social and health services and reduce infant mortality and malnutrition. During this six-day excursion, you will learn how the provincial healthcare system is organized and how governmental and nongovernmental institutions are making infant and maternal health services available to vulnerable populations. Visits include large maternity hospitals, polyclinics, and primary care health centers and explore the complex social problems in these systems, including the challenges faced by doctors, nurses, and social workers. You will also join Red Cross volunteers on a community project in a working-class neighborhood. Dialogues with experts and government officials are held at Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, where you will attend classes on community health with social work students.
Located in the province of Buenos Aires, Florencio Varela is home to El Cruce Hospital, one of the most complex and modern public hospitals in Argentina, and an example of how an effective healthcare system works. During a three-day excursion, you will learn the functions of various levels of service, from primary care to high-risk surgery, observe a variety of medical specializations, and meet members of the hospital’s ethical review board.
You also will visit community service centers, second-level hospitals, and NGOs that provide health services in poor communities, and you will attend lectures at Universidad Nacional Arturo Jauretche. You will join Argentine students to volunteer for healthcare-related educational activities that might include workshops for adolescents on sexual health or visits to educational centers to promote hand-washing.
You will learn more about the issues facing Argentines and develop relationships across lines of nation, class, and/or ethnicity in the homestays on this program.
Each student lives with an Argentine host family. Host families come from different social and cultural backgrounds and are situated in various neighborhoods around the city (such as Almagro, Caballito, Monserrat, Barracas) and/or the Buenos Aires greater metropolitan area, such as the city of Avellaneda (20 minutes by bus to ISALUD). All homestay sites have good access to ISALUD University. Some host families have students attending the university.
Living with a host family gives students an excellent opportunity to practice their Spanish and partake in daily life in a local neighborhood.
SIT Argentina: Public Health in Urban Environments
Contact Past Participants