during the summit for MERCOSUR. From left to right: Hubert  Laferrière, Vice President de Grand Lyon, France; Sergio Barrios, Director of International Relations (my boss); me; Miguel Lifschitz, Mayor of Rosario City Hall; Cecile Durant, intern from France.
During the summit for MERCOSUR. From left to right: Hubert Laferrière, Vice President de Grand Lyon, France; Sergio Barrios, Director of International Relations (my boss); me; Miguel Lifschitz, Mayor of Rosario City Hall; Cecile Durant, intern from France.

Cayla Lopez, Political Science and International Studies Degrees, spent Summer 2009 on an IE3 internship for Rosario City Hall

After only a month in Rosario, Argentina, I already am planning my next trip back. At this point, I am even seriously considering a more permanent return. That is just how much I have grown to love Rosario and all its offerings.

My internship here at the International Relations Departament of the local city hall has been very dynamic and at times unpredictable. Most of my time in the office has been spent doing translation work for various international contracts binding the city of Rosario with other cities all over the world.

Rosario has really pushed forward in the last decade to promote the internationalization of its goverment, enterprise, and people. Apart from playing an important role in MERCOSUR, similar to North America´s NAFTA, Rosario has been acknowledged on numerous occasions for its success in the area of international relations.

MERCOSUR was initially founded by Argentina, Paraguay, Urugauy, and Brasil, but now includes Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, and Peru as associate members. The overall purpose of this network is to promote free trade and assist in the movement of goods and currency across South American borders. Over the past few years MERCOSUR has contracted various binding agreements to further stabalize its horizontal structure that links local South American governements with one another. As a result of this horizontal foundation, each signatory country is able to combine its resources and promote its activities with overall economic power of MERCOSUR.

I was fortunate enough to be present for the 14th Annual Summit of the Mercociudades, which was hosted by our department here in Rosario. This once in a lifetime opportunity provided me with first hand experience collaborating and networking with diplomats from all over the world. My role as an intern was to chaperon a group of the representatives around the city to each of the events. Needless to say, this included many perks on my part! Not only was I able to sit-in on many of the conference discussions and observe the various viewpoints from each city that was representated, but I was also permitted to attend the social outtings and planned activities.

Throughout the entire week of the conference, I attended several cultural shows, fancy catered dinners, and cocktail parties. I was even invited to go on a private yacht tour along the breathtaking river that borders the city of Rosario. This was by far the most memorable part of Rosario so far.

Outside of work, I have been keeping myself quite busy spending time with the close knit group of friends I have made. Typically our time is spent having an “asado” or going to a nearby park to drink “mate” and play fútbol. The time I spend at home is greatly cherished and quite relaxing. My host mom and her friend who also lives with us are both exceptional cooks and every dinner for me is like dining at a 5-star restaurant. By the way for any of you who decide to study in Argentina after reading this, the desserts are to die for here! Luckily I have joined a local gym and go nearly everyday to counter-balance my increased intake of sweets! This coming weekend I will be participating in a 15 km run so wish me luck! The rest of my down time I fill with attending my digital photography class, reading books in Spanish, and just having insightful conversations with random strangers and taxi-cab drivers.

One would expect that life in a city the size of Rosario would be a lot more fast-pace than it really is, but I am honestly glad that it is not. I have grown to love the long dinner conversations, walking aimlessly down the boulevards while window shopping, and just enjoying life here in my new paradise.

Matt Jager, BA in Music, BA in International Studies, 2009
Matt Jager, BA in Music, BA in International Studies, 2009

Matt studied at the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador for a year, and then returned the following Christmas for a special research project.  His goal?  To listen to and be inspired by the sounds of Ecuador.

I have always been interested in a diverse range of topics.  When I came to college I had difficulty choosing a degree, because I did not want to limit myself by choosing just one field of study.  After a lot of soul searching, I finally decided to study music, a longtime love of mine.  However, I still wanted my education to have a global scope.  I needed to be able to learn the technical aspects of music, but I thought it equally necessary to be cognizant of the worldwide issues that are dramatically shaping the world that we live in.  Fortunately I found the International Degree, which allowed me to expand the reach of my studies.  Through my thesis project, a soundscape composition exploring Ecuadorian culture through its sound environment, I was given the opportunity to utilize what I had learned in music to explore themes such as globalization, modernization, intercultural interaction, sociopolitical disparities, and other prominent issues.  The whole experience, from studying abroad, to the research, to the writing and composing, turned out to be profoundly moving.  I can easily say that my international experience has been one of most beneficial aspects of my education.

I’m not a dancer. This isn’t an attempt to solicit a compliment or to lower social expectations if the event should arise that I must dance in front of others; it is just a simple fact. It is not even a question of ability; I just don’t feel comfortable dancing and find it mentally difficult to understand how others can boogie the night away in a rhythmic euphoria of steps, moves, and gyrations. At least that was my mindset in the U.S.Katie Parker Climbing in Chile, Spring 2009

We have all heard the stereotype that all Latin American people, especially women, can dance. While I had several interesting conversations about this with my Chilean friends (it is not true and quite offensive, so don’t spread that nasty generalization), I did find that music is more present in Chilean culture, and it is more common to dance at parties and social functions than in the United States. This cultural propensity for expressive movement made me a bit nervous the first time I was dragged (literally, we are talking about a fear of dancing that I have here, people) to a club in Santiago. Would I be expected to know some crazy American steps? Would any one dance with me? Would others publicly scorn me and make a wide circle of nightclub shame around the gringa? As we can see, some of these fears were slightly paranoid and hyperbolized, but needless to say, I was more than a little apprehensive when walking into the warehouse/reggaeton club.

After all that fear, I was pleasantly surprised that not only does my body actually move in ways that could be called dancing, but that I actually enjoyed it. My previous dreadful experiences of preschool dance class (I lasted one day before I asked my mother not to take me back), school dances, and choreographed numbers for drama productions were erased as I swayed with the hundred other youths to heavy bass beats. Not everyone there could have auditioned for a music video, but it was more the willingness to move to the music that was appreciated and welcomed. The atmosphere was more low-pressure and inclusive than my other dance moments. Not only that, but I was asked to dance, or at least I ended up dancing with a very nice boy, as the formal asking didn’t seem part of Santiago club culture.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I turned into a major clubber or that I now plan on dedicating my life to interpreting all emotion through dance, but I appreciate more the social role that dance plays in bringing people together. Although I still wouldn’t list dancing as my favorite activity, I now fear it less. Study abroad is above all a chance to stretch your limits, and I can proudly say that I stretched quite a lot. I’ll even dance in the United States now, a little bit, maybe, when no one is looking.

Katie Parker, Junior in History and University Honors College, studied through CIEE in Santiago, Chile for Winter/Spring 2009.

Congratulations to the International Degree class of 2009!

Congratulations to the International Degree class of 2009!
Congratulations to the International Degree class of 2009!

International Degree graduates receive two bachelor’s degrees on commencement day: a bachelor’s in the primary major and a BA in International Studies in that major.  Pictured here are students who are graduating with degrees in Biology, Business, Chemical Engineering, Fisheries & Wildlife Science, Microbiology, Nutrition, Political Science, and Sociology!  Some are Honors College students; all have studied abroad, learned a foreign language, and researched a topic relating their majors to the world around them.  In fact, the ribbons they’re wearing signify the colors in the flags of the countries where they’ve studied abroad!  These graduates are off next to medical school, teaching English abroad, working for Americorps, researching at National Institutes of Health, and other jobs throughout Oregon and the world!

Learn more about the International Degree!