Joshua Barnes, ’11, is combining the Latin American and Latino Studies minor with a dual major in Spanish and Global Studies. It couldn’t make more sense then to combine these three programs. This was not a rash decision; it was a long time in the making. Josh explains, “Ever since high school when I had a Colombian Spanish teacher, I have been in love with the language and the culture of Latin America. From what I had learned, the culture seemed so vibrant and lively that I wanted to experience it first-hand.”
The 2010-2011 academic year is Josh’s 4th at Loyola and he comes to it not only by being a paladin of academic interdisciplinarity but also with the deep-felt experiences of two semesters of study abroad, one in Chile (spring semester 2009) and the other in Argentina (fall semester 2009). From his experiences Josh has begun to understand that, beneath the surface of the seemingly monolithic notion of “Latin America,” there are individual countries, each of them with its own cultural characteristics. He explains, “Chileans are very laid-back, time is rarely an issue in daily life, and they are also very welcoming and nurturing. Argentineans seem to be more vibrant and prideful of their country. They also seem to live from moment to moment, as opposed to Chile’s slower pace.” Despite their differences, Josh continues, “both countries offer many lessons for citizens of the United States. First, Chile and Argentina are not accurately described when given the title of "third world countries." Both countries are developing quickly and are able to provide most luxuries that are offered in the US, despite some very poor towns. I believe that Chile and Argentina are more aware of their poverty than the US is of its poverty. Chile and Argentina also could teach US citizens a stronger sense of patience. It takes a lot to really anger a Chilean or an Argentinean.” Josh reflects on what he has learned and of poverty in Latin America and he concludes: “the less one has in life, the more one seems to have.”
Josh takes the experiences he has accumulated in Argentina and Chile and brings them to three Latin American and Latino classes this semester (fall 2010), each in a different discipline, ML392: Introduction to Latin American Studies, HS384D: Modern Latin America, and SN370D: 19th-Century Latin American Novel. By graduation next spring, Josh will be well on the way to become a social worker in Latin America. He wants “to learn, understand, and feel what it means to be from Latin America in a growing world.” Indeed he will continue to gain insight into understanding Latin America from a perspective that includes the interests of individual countries. He will understand the other side of the border from the other side of the border, and thereby become a truly global citizen.