Students of Latin American Studies at Colby College have a diverse range of interests and pursuits that reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the program. LAS majors have studied throughout the region, and many will go on to pursue careers and research opportunities within the field.

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Kat Von Hahn, 17′: Santiago, Chile, January 2017

For Jan Plan my senior year, I travelled to Santiago, Chile with Professor Adam Howard in the Education Department to conduct research for his ‘Globally Elite’ research project. During this month, I was the only member of the team that spoke Spanish, and as a result I was the translator for every aspect of our trip- whether that was explaining menus or communicating with members of the field site. Though our goal was to study and examine elite education in Chile, my knowledge of Latin America undeniably came into use. I was extremely familiar with the history of the country, especially with regards to the dictatorship and their esteemed literature, which provided the entire research team with a solid background on the country and its social context. I was confident that the information I relayed to the team was insightful and accurate, and this was a direct outcome from my LAS courses at Colby.

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Brooke Moree, 18′: Clay City, Kentucky, January 2017

During Jan Plan, I interned at a law firm in my hometown, and I had a chance to explore immigration law first hand.  I spent the month translating documents from Spanish into English, drafting visa requests, and working with many Latino clients.  As an LAS major, the most meaningful part of my internship was learning how I could support the Latino community in my home community.  An extreme amount of bureaucracy is involved with visa applications, which results in a considerable waiting period for visa renewal and approval.  By using the skills I have learned in my Latin American Studies classes, I helped shorten this waiting period with my translating skills and drafting letters requesting for visa approval.  The quicker those documents are created, the quicker they can be compiled and sent for review.  I also learned about the variety of visas that are available, which broadens my perspective of how exactly people can obtain legal residency in the United States and why this is such a crucial part of people’s lives.  I am extremely grateful for this experience, as it has shown me a way in which I can act as an ally for the Latino community.

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