The Latin American Studies (LAS) program in the UCF College of Arts and Humanities has been awarded a two-year grant by the U.S. Department of Education for a project titled “America: Connecting the Continents,” The funds will be used to develop and implement four projects in Latin America and a “LAS in Action” program that highlights the volunteer work of Latin American Studies students in the community. This is the third U.S. DOE grant that LAS has received since 2014.
The new funding will expand UCF’s LAS programs in Cuba with the Nicholson School of Communication and Media and in St. Kitts-Nevis with the Chemistry Department. LAS internships throughout Latin America at the U.S. Department of State and EducationUSA offices have also been implemented and are coordinated through the UCF Office of Experiential Learning. Projects in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico have been implemented through prior U.S. DOE funding.
The Latin American Studies program initiated “LAS in Action” in fall 2018 to recognize the volunteer efforts of UCF students. LAS is now expanding its borders to recognize the efforts of students volunteering their skills and talents throughout Latin America to assist more countries. LAS is collecting clothes for the K-7 children of Mayrasco, an impoverished community in the Andes. Outbound UCF students participating in the Teach English in Peru summer program will distribute these items when they visit the school. Other LAS students are volunteering in Department of State and EducationUSA offices in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia.
Lynda Hoyos, a LAS intern, worked with Chilean scholars who are headed to the U.S. to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees at universities. Hoyos says about her experiences, “My internship abroad to Chile with EducationUSA has enhanced my educational experience and has given me insight on potential future endeavors. I was fortunate to work with an amazing director, Brenda Paz Soldan and her staff in Santiago, Chile. The internship at EducationUSA taught me the value of building relationships, and how those relationships can build bridges that lead to new opportunities.”