El Paso, Texas - Juarez, Mexico
borderland Cultural Immersion experience
May 12, 2011 - june 3, 2011
The Women's and Gender Studies Program (WGST) offers an El Paso, Texas - Juarez, Mexico Borderland Cultural Immersion Experience (BCIE). The BCIE is an interdisciplinary, experiential based program for both undergraduate and graduate students. It is a "study away," faculty-led program committed to the pedagogy of experiential and immersion learning. As such, learning primarily takes place outside the classroom or lecture environment and is achieved by being immersed in and experiencing the culture of the borderland community.
During three weeks in May, participants live in El Paso, Texas where they immerse in the culture and social realities of the borderland community. El Paso— Juárez is the largest border community in the world with a long standing bilingual and bi-national culture. Mexican and Hispanic cultures dominate El Paso, where an astounding 80% of the population claims some Hispanic heritage. During the program, participants gain awareness of issues that are experienced by the borderland community (e.g., border economics, immigration, border crossings, agricultural industry, economic development, deportation, militarization of the border, femincide, poverty, globalization, human rights, drug related violence, and social justice). Participants visit numerous community and grassroot organizations aimed at addressing issues and improving conditions in the border region. Participants also have opportunities to interact and talk with community members about their experiences. By visiting organizations and interacting directly with borderland community members, participants come to a new understanding of issues that are unique to region.
Participants stay at Casa Puente http://projectpuente.org/ which is located in Downtown El Paso’s Historic Rio Grande District. The neighborhood is very friendly and is home to many families. It is located just over a mile from the downtown international bridges. Staying in the community provides participants with additional opportunities to explore El Paso, learn about the culture (food, art, architecture, neighborhood social activities, community organizing, etc.), and gain a new understanding of issues unique to this region.
The goal of the Borderland Cultural Immersion Experience is to immerse students in the border culture and realities of the diverse people and groups that live and work in the region. The experience aims to promote cultural awareness and knowledge by providing a short but intense experience living and studying in another culture. The experience intends to consciousness about how the social construction of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and nationality affect persons and issues in this region. In addition, it is intended to teach students about the United State’s role and responsibilities in today’s globalized world and its impact on the El Paso-Juarez border.
Upon successful completion of this program, students will:
- Identify how social barriers created by gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and nationality affect persons in the El Paso, Texas-Juarez, Mexico borderland community
- Determine how globalization and border economics impacts migration, immigration, poverty, relationship violence, and oppression in the El Paso, Texas-Juarez, Mexico borderland community
- Identify the struggles of migrant farm workers in the El Paso, Texas-Juarez, Mexico borderland community
- Determine how the militarized border and the Border Patrol impact the El Paso, Texas-Juarez, Mexico borderland community
- Determine how diverse communities in the El Paso, Texas-Juarez, Mexico borderland are organizing to meet needs and create positive social change
A Typical Day May Include:
- Visiting the US Border Patrol and Border Fence
- Listening to stories of farmworkers and migrants
- Eating authentic Mexican food
- Attending hearnings at the Immigration Camp for deportation cases
- Visiting The Centro de los Trabajadores Agricolas Fronterizos--a non-profit organization founded to serve the migrant and seasonal farm workers of the region
- Visiting the Consulate General of Mexico in in El Paso Texas
- Meeting human rights activists
- Learning about Immigration Issues
Course Offerings For May 2011
Students can take 6 credit hours
SPAN 4980 Community Practicum Drs. Susan Wehling/Tracy Woodard-Meyers
WGST 4600/CRJU 4700/SPAN 4900
BCIE Qualitative Field Research II Drs. Tracy Woodard-Meyers/ Sha' Gray/Miryam Espinosa-Dulanto CRJU 7700 BCIE Qualitative Field Research II Dr. Sha Gray SPAN 6950 BCIE Qualitative Field Research II Dr. Miryam Espinosa-Dulanto MFTH 6700 Family Sociology Drs. Kate Warner/Tracy Woodard-Meyers MFTH 7050 Class, Gender, & Ethnic Issues in Applied Settings Drs. Kate Warner/Tracy Woodard-Meyers
DOES NOT COVER:
Health Insurance Fee (everyone will need to be covered by medical insurance)
Excursion day costs
Undergraduate Student travel stipens:
The purpose of the travel stipends is to give students, regardless of their economic status, the opportunity to participate in Qualitative Field Research during the BCIE. Stipends will be available to selected students to help defer costs of the trip. Travel stipends are open only to undergraduate students who want to particpate in Qualitative Field Research projects and are registered for WGST 4600/CRJU 4700/SPAN 4900.
Students must meet each of the following criteria at the time of application:
- Undergraduate VSU student status
- Be in good academic standing at VSU with a minimum 2.5 overall grade point average
- Demonstrated financial need
- Register for WGST 4600/CRJU 4700/SPAN 4900 BCIE Qualitative Field Research I (Spring 2011)
- Register for WGST 4600/CRJU 4700/SPAN 4900 BCIE Qualitative Field Research II (May, Summer 2011)
Travel Stipend Application Process:
In order to be considered for a travel stipend, students must submit an application package containing the following items:
- A brief statement (no more than on typed page--double spaced) discussing why the applicant is interested in participating in the BCIE
- A brief statement (no more than one typed page--double spaced) describing applicant's financial need (including other sources of financial assistance such as loans and/or grants, job, parents support, etc.)
- One letter of recommendation from someone who knows applicant and can evaluate research potential, work ethic, and collegiality (preferably a faculty member). Please use the following form: Recommendation Form
- A copy of applicant's transcript (unoffcial copy is acceptable)
Completed applications must be submitted by December 3, 2010 with a $300.00 deposit to Dr. Tracy Woodard-Meyers, Project Coordinator. A selection committee consisting of the Valdosta State Univeristy BCIE faculty will review and evaluate the applications based on the following criteria:
December 3, 2010: $300.00 Non-Refundable deposit
February 11, 2011: $800.00
March 11, 2011: $700.00
The entire $1800.00 fee has to be paid by March 11, 2011—students will not be allowed to travel if entire payment is not received by March 11, 2011.
|The BCIE program will have excursion days to travel and explore local culture and heritage. Some excursions include:|
Historic Old Mesilla New Mexico
Mesilla is a small town by today's standards but, 150 years ago it was the major stop for travelers going between San Antonio and San Diego. Mesilla hasn't changed much over the years, allowing visitors to see what an 1800’s border town looked like. Western Legend Billy the Kid once stood trial for murder in a Mesilla courtroom, and the Mesilla Plaza was once a major stop for the Butterfield Stagecoach. Originally, Mesilla was part of Mexico, but with the signing of the Gadsden Purchase in 1854, the village became part of the United States. Today, Mesilla offers a wide range of historical and cultural events.
Carlsbad Caverns, Carlsbad, New Mexico
Wyler Aerial Tramway
From Ranger Peak, 5,632 feet above sea level, the visitor can enjoy the view of 7,000 square miles encompassing three states and two nations. The tramway ride is a memorable experience offering a vista of the vastness and stark beauty of the southwest.
The station at the top provides accessible ramps and paved grounds leading into an observation deck with a 360 degree view. Pay per view high power telescopes enhance the experience.
El Paso Tourism: http://www.elpasocvb.com/
New Mexico Tourism: http://www.newmexico.org/
Public Transportation: http://www.elpasotexas.gov/sunmetro/