Bates Fall Semester Abroad, Chile

Professors Aburto Guzmán (Spanish) and Lawson (Chemistry and Biochemistry)

The Fall Semester Abroad Program in Santiago, Chile, provides the opportunity for Spanish language immersion while exploring science and identity in Latin America, with a focus on public health. Given its history and recent successes in healthcare delivery, Chile provides a compelling setting to study public health at the intersection of the humanities and the sciences. Santiago is a vibrant city established in the sixteenth century. The city is home to one of the oldest medical schools in Latin America, which serves as one of the program's teaching sites. Santiago's central location makes possible several excursions throughout the country, from the mineral-rich northern high desert to the Chiloé Archipelago of south coastal Chile. Students live with Chilean families in Santiago.

The program begins in Santiago in late August with intensive language study designed to help students of all abilities gain or improve their proficiency and comfort in Spanish. Students are placed in language levels according to their abilities, from beginner to advanced. Students continue their study of Spanish throughout the semester with local faculty and take three courses taught in English by Bates faculty and University of Chile faculty. These courses are supplemented by weekly meetings with the program faculty to discuss the intersections that develop among the individual courses and to prepare students for engagement with healthcare providers in hospitals and clinics.

The program ends in mid-December.


BSAC 001. Intensive Spanish.

Courses at novice, intermediate, and advanced levels are designed to help students communicate with their surroundings. Course work focuses on the rapid improvement of comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Instructor permission is required. One-time offering. Staff.

BSAC 005. Genetically Modified Organisms: Science and Latin American Perceptions.

This course provides an introduction to biotechnology and its impact on humanity, particularly South American populations. The course explores biotechnology as it has been applied to agricultural food production through the generation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including the supporting science and history that begins with the migration of humans onto the South American continent about 15,000 years ago. The course also considers how GMOs are used in modern-day Latin America, the impact this use has on public health and the environment, and the extent to which this technology has been accepted by Latin American peoples. Instructor permission is required. One-time offering. T. Lawson.

BSAC 006. Introduction to Public Health.

This course provides an introduction to public health in an international context, with special attention paid to the essential concepts of public health in Chile. Students consider the public health perspective, which identifies areas of action, the determinants of health, and levels of prevention. They examine the governmental and private structures that seek to address public health issues. They also explore methods for analyzing the role of health determinants and health intervention approaches in population health outcomes. Instructor permission is required. One-time offering. T. Lawson.

BSAC 007. Weird Literature: Viruses, Difference, and the Question of Security and Order.

The course introduces students to literatures, graphic narratives, and film, utilizing "weird fiction" strategies. Students consider the use of alternative and post-apocalyptic realities to comment on contemporary anxieties, fears, and discord, often stemming from human movement across borders but also from the increasing awareness of science’s "dark side," the inability to fully direct scientific developments toward the welfare of all. The importance of place is explored to tease out the adaptations and modifications made to these genres so that "global" concerns are addressed as the local concerns of nonhegemonic locales. Instructor permission is required. One-time offering. C. Aburto Guzmán.