Latin American & Caribbean Studies

By deepening your personal experience of Latin America and the Caribbean, you'll be able to better understand issues surrounding this vital and historic region. Roanoke's program draws from perspectives across campus, from public affairs and business to literary studies and sociology. Because there's a surprising lack of knowledge in the United States about this dynamic region, understanding its culture can be an advantage for you in many careers.

Students in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies concentration have recently traveled to Cuba, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica for research opportunities. Their research has ranged from the economic role of Mexican sweatshops to the literature of Latin American writers living in the United States.                                                

Studies in Latin America and the Caribbean can lead to jobs in journalism, advertising, environmental advocacy, education and government work. Recent students from Roanoke's program have pursued graduate school at Arizona State University, University of California Los Angeles and University of San Diego.                                                

We offer a concentration in Latin American & Caribbean studies.

Kaitlyn Bell with children in Costa RicaComparing cultures: Costa Rica and the United States

Kaitlyn Bell '14 spent the summer of her senior year interning in Ciudad Quesada, Costa Rica. During her experience, Kaitlyn worked at La Escuela Los Angeles, teaching English to Spanish-speaking students in the first through sixth grades. Her project focused on analyzing the education system in Costa Rica and comparing it with that of the United States. Bell also worked at Mariano Juvenile, an orphanage for teenage girls, teaching English for several weeks during her internship.  

"I am so fortunate to have had this experience interning abroad," said Bell. "I conquered several fears, developed my language ability and discovered what I want to do for the rest of my life. This was an experience that no classroom education could have shown me."

“Latin America is not our backyard. It is our neighborhood.”

Former U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd

From Belize to Argentina

Students have many opportunities to study in Latin America and the Caribbean, whether through a semester long study abroad program, a month long May Term course with a faculty member or our new Yucatan Semester program. 

Professor’s Love for Latin American Politics Finds Home In Book

Dr. Ivonne Wallace Fuentes, professor of history, has recently published a new book: "Most Scandalous Woman: Magda Portal and the Dream of Revolution in Peru". She discovered Magda Portal while completing research on university students in Argentina, Peru, and Venezuela. "She just took over my life," Dr. Wallace Fuentes says. Portal was a Peruvian woman who helped the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance to succeed. "She ends up getting written out of their history...and that ended up being a really compelling story and the genesis of the book," says Dr. Wallace Fuentes.

Sample Course Offerings:

  • SOCI 224: Race and Ethnicity Overhead shot of students working on the grass
  • HIST 273: Latin American Revolutions 
  • SPAN 312: Civilization and Culture: Spanish America 

Yucatán Semester Program

Roanoke has a special semester long, faculty-led program in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Students take classes with their professor, go on cultural excursions, experience language immersion and perform service projects. Learn more.


Washington Semester intern visits U.S. Supreme Court to honor RBG

Tatiana Cherry-Santos ’21 is interning at Fellowship Square as part of the Washington Semester this fall. The news of the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg led her to visit the court with many others to pay tribute to RBG’s legacy.

Faculty and alumni books are wide-ranging and well-received

What do the economics of Prohibition, the art of watercolor, a theologian’s memories, indigenous labor in the Pacific World, and a female Peruvian revolutionary have in common? Or gun legislation, Shea Stadium and sleeping animals? 

Professor Dolores Flores-Siva | Spanish

Photo of Dr. Flores-SilvaDr. Flores-Silva's one-act play, "La Mision," winner of a Florida theatrical competition, was performed this winter at the Miami Micro Theatre. While reading a Mexican newspaper about the disappearance of young girls, likely related to sex-trafficking crimes, something struck a chord with Flores-Silva and, within a matter of hours, she wrote "La Mision."

"La Mision" is a monologue about the disappearance of a male, though it was inspired by the issue of young girls disappearing. Flores-Silva said she created "La Mision" to be poetic, but also political, in order to bring awareness to the issues occurring in Mexico. The monologue is bilingual (English and Spanish), and it is performed in a way that the audience can understand what happens on stage without knowing both languages. Flores-Silva said she believes that theater and literature help students learn about specific countries and cultures. "My passion for theater has found a purpose here at Roanoke College through teaching with the idea of bilingual importance," she said.