Students explore Latin America through GALA 2022 study abroad program

Global Adventures in the Liberal Arts takes students to different parts of the world each spring. Photo courtesy of


The 2022 Global Adventures in the Liberal Arts, GALA, program gives students the opportunity to travel to several destinations in Latin America to learn about different cultures. The program, which will run in the spring semester from January 16 to April 14, 2022, gives students the opportunity to complete at least 12 credit hours while exploring the traditions, history, and indigenous communities of Latin America.

Butler University’s GALA program is typically offered to students each spring. The location of the trip changes every year, with GALA 2014 being the last time participants visited Latin America. This year’s students and faculty will travel to Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, stopping over in both the Amazon and the Galapagos.

GALA 2022 will be the first GALA exclusively focused on social justice and diversity, SJD, giving students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and understanding of other cultures and communities. This focus can be seen as a reflection of Butler’s new approach. Social justice and diversity requirement for all students who started in fall 2020 or after.

According to Ageeth Sluis, professor of history and resident director of the faculty for GALA, GALA will explore SJD in take students to communities of underrepresented people, such as the Palenque, which was one of the of the first free African communities in Latin America.

Dena Mulligan, Associate Director of Faculty-Led Programs for the Center for Global Education, said that the social exposure that students will get from GALA is invaluable.

“The fact that students can meet Indigenous communities and cultures is something that’s really important to study abroad, ”Mulligan said. “Not just travel and seeing the sights, but immersing yourself is a very important aspect of studying abroad. Sometimes it’s hard to come by… but the fact that this program can offer that is really special.

Although some students have expressed concern about international travel and COVID-19, Sluis said she is committed to making travel as safe as possible.

“If it turns out that this is not possible one way or another, we will of course put the security of everyone is involved first, ”Sluis said. “That said, we are in contact with people on the ground in these countries through our supplier organization, so we receive direct reports on what is possible and what is not possible … If we didn’t think it was completely safe, we wouldn’t take people.

Sluis, who was also the Resident Faculty Director for GALA Caribbean in 2018, will teach Global and Historical Studies 204: Contact Zones: Latin America Beyond Soccer, Narcos and food throughout the trip. Three other Butler faculty members, history teacher Antwain Hunter, Spanish teacher Alex Quintanilla, and English teacher Robert Stapleton, will each fly off to teach a course for a few weeks at a time. In addition to the GHS, other courses offered are Perspectives in the Creative Arts 201: Travel and Environmental Writing, History 205 / Text and Ideas 204: Slavery and Freedom in the Colonial Caribbean and the Social World / Text and Ideas Class: Linguistic Contact in the Andes.

Classes focus on achievement Basic Butler Requirements make the program applicable to all butler students. According to Sluis, if the students have already taken a course that will be taught during GALA, the credit will generally count towards the professor’s discipline.

Fully immunized students of any major are welcome to apply, but they must be at least in second year and have a GPA of 2.75 or higher. There is no language requirement, but accepted students will have the chance to learn Spanish abroad. The deadline to apply is October 11 and up to 20 students will be accepted.

Christopher Luis Paez Reyna, major in Social Justice Theory and Practice, has already applied for GALA and hopes to be accepted. Paez Reyna lived abroad for two years in Costa Rica and Mexico and highly appreciated what he was able to learn living outside the United States. in good hands.

“By knowing Dr Sluis personally and working with her, she really invested herself in it and she is really excited about it, ”said Paez Reyna. “I think it really improves everything else, because [the faculty] are so devoted to it. I feel like this will say a lot about what the turnout is will be for that.

Returning from a year when travel was severely limited, Sluis said she was thrilled to be back traveling with students. Sluis said she was looking forward to GALA and how many students are will learn in Latin America with her and the other faculty members.

“I love taking students abroad,” Sluis said. “Study some of these places and try to convey the importance of these places, of these people, of their experiences, of their culture, you try to make it like as best you can in class, but there is no way you can get close to take people in person…. There is simply no replacement for this… I can’t wait to this.”

Accepted students will pay their regular butler tuition and may apply 100% of their institutional support. In addition, three grants of $ 500 according to need are offered to students. who have financial needs. Interested students can apply for GALA through the Center for Global education website. The first step for any student interested in studying abroad is to attend a information session. The next session will take place on October 11 at 6:00 pm in room Gallahue 108. Students can also attend the Study Abroad Fair on October 5 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Reilly room to find out more about GALA and other upcoming study abroad programs.

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