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Casa de la Solidaridad
San Salvador, El Salvador (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Fall,
Spring,
Summer
Homepage: Click to visit
Restrictions: Scranton applicants only
Budget Sheets Fall,
Spring
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2018 04/15/2018 04/30/2018 08/15/2018 12/12/2018
Summer 2018 04/15/2018 04/30/2018 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Instruction Language: English, Spanish Language Prereqs.: Intermediate Spanish
Language Courses: Spanish/Advanced
Fields of study:
Latin American Studies, Literature, Political Science, Service Options, Sociology, Theology/Religious Studies
Minimum GPA: 2.8 Eligibility-Class: 04 Junior
Credits/Term: 12-18
Program Type:
Service Learning Component, US University Study Center
Housing Options: Group House
Meals/Dining:
Prepare own food
Service or Volunteer Opportunites: Service or Volunteer Opportunities
Program Description:

Casa de la Solidaridad

Casa de la Solidaridad is an academic initiative between the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador, and Santa Clara University. The mission of the Casa is the promotion of justice and solidarity through the creation of a meaningful academic experience where you can integrate rigorous academic study with direct immersion with the poor of El Salvador.

Dedicated to fostering "men and women for others," Casa de la Solidaridad is a unique community based learning program. Here you can develop your intellectual potential, strengthen your ethical and religious values, and learn to become a socially responsible global citizen.

The program draws inspiration from the lives of the six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter who were murdered at the University of Central America (UCA) on November 16, 1989 and from all the people of El Salvador who suffered during the civil war, especially those who were killed in their struggle for solidarity and social justice.

Because of its dramatic recent history, its current stability, and its rich human resources, Salvadoran society is an ideal place for you to experience issues that confront residents of developing countries - the vast majority of the world's citizens today. For more information on studying at the Casa, please navigate to: Casa de la Solidaridad.


Program Goals

Education for Transformation: Casa de la Solidaridad expands your imagination, broadens your worldview, and provides an international dimension to your academic disciplines.

Education for Global Citizenship: Casa de la Solidaridad fosters global understanding and peaceful cooperation between North and Central America while challenging your perceptions about global justice and human liberation.

Education for Lifelong Learning and Service: Casa de la Solidaridad challenges you to continue your constructive engagement with the world when you return to the United States and throughout your life.

Institutional Solidarity: Casa de la Solidaridad fosters institutional links across the North/South social-political divide in order to promote a variety of forms of collaboration in the hopes of creating a more just world.

Community Living: Each semester, an outstanding group of students live together in a learning community near the University of Central America. Students live in one of three houses, Casa Romero, Casa Silvia, or Casa Ita, which are located just a minute walk from one another.


Life at the Casa

Upon arrival, all the students will be invited to help create their community environment by talking about and agreeing upon a variety of community norms such as simple living, community and spirituality nights, speaking Spanish while at home in the Casa, and much more. This type of living is an opportunity to enter fully with other students into the richness of community life.

In order to better support the Casa students, a Community Facilitator (CF) lives on-site full time. The CF is generally an alumni of the Casa program and works on staff for a year. Two UCA scholarship students ("becarios") live at each Casa house as well. The presence of the becarios gives students the opportunity to develop relationships with local Salvadorans, practice Spanish skills, and serve as a link between Casa students and the other scholarship students studying at the UCA. Most importantly, this living arrangment offers students another means to learn more about the Salvadoran reality. Each semester, the Casa becomes a lively community with connections between the Casa students and the wider community of Salvadoran becario students.


Health & Safety at the Casa

Some parents and students have expressed concern regarding the impact on the Casa de la Solidaridad with the recent conflict between the US and Iraq. In most parts of the world, we do not have any reason to believe that American students will be at any greater risk than they would be in the United States. With the exception of the Middle East, where there have been a few isolated incidents involving Americans, there has not been any organized or systematic aggression against US Citizens in places where we have students studying abroad, nor have there been any threats against American Students. In fact, to the contrary, our students continue to be received around the world by warm and welcoming families and local citizens. This describes the environment our students are finding in El Salvador.

It is not the intention of the Casa de la Solidaridad to cancel or close our program because of the hostilities around the world unless there develops a clear and present danger to the students on-site, or a specific warning from the U.S. State Department for Americans traveling to El Salvador. At Santa Clara we rely on a variety of sources of information in making our decisions about how to proceed in situations such as these. These include: US State Dept advisories (available at http://travel.state.gov), information from our on-site program directors, information from our own on-site faculty experts, community contacts and new sources. In many cases, our on-site faculty & staff in El Salvador have the best information about safety issues. We are always mindful of any special arrangements that could be made on-site in El Salvador depending on what local conditions may arise. The safety of our students is our highest priority.

No institution or individual can provide a total guarantee that studying abroad or at home is totally risk free. It is important to remember that Santa Clara does not "send" students overseas, nor does it "order" them home. Our role is to provide advice and information so that students may decide whether or not an international educational experience is right for them. Obviously, SCU International Programs would not recommend sites where extraordinary health or safety threats have been identified. Students, in discussion with family and friends, ultimately must assess the risks and assume responsibility for their well-being. Should students decide to study abroad, all of the health and safety resources listed above will be available, along with academic and personal advising to insure a worthwhile academic and personal experience.

Given present world conditions, our programs have taken a number of steps to assure we are ready for whatever comes. These are steps that are part of any good study abroad program, regardless of the current world climate:

1. The Resident Co-Directors and official contacts of the Casa de la Solidaridad are available and in contact with our home offices via various means of communication. They in turn have regular contact systems with all students to assure we can find them whenever required.

2. The Casa de la Solidaridad has a comprehensive emergency plan at all sites to assure preparedness. 

3. Students are being reminded in a variety of ways to not bring attention to themselves as Americans either through congregating in large groups or by dress, loud use of English language and/or other attention attracting behavior.

4. On-site program staff attempt to track all students at all times, particularly in places where travel poses special risks. However, some students do travel on the weekends and while programs ask for information as to their plans, they do not always report them. Many of our programs have reiterated that they will continue to be diligent in this regard re-emphasizing to students the special conditions of the world situation at this time and the need to be in contact.


Immersion Through Field Placement

The Casa de la Solidaridad is an opportunity for you to immerse yourself in "la realidad" of El Salvador on many levels. Your field placement, however, will be one of the most important parts of your immersion experience.

Currently, the Casa is placing students in the following locations: Canton El Cedro, COAR, Jayaque (Martin-Baro Cooperative), La Chacra (Fe y Alegria), Las Delicias (Canton Las Delicias), Mariona (Acosilva de R.L., Women’s Artesania Cooperative), Public Health Rotation Site, San Ramon (Nuevo Amanecer and El Pueblo de Dios en Camino), Tepecoyo (Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul).

After we talk with you about your academic background, personal interests, and professional goals, we will pair you up with a fellow classmate and give you a field placement in a local Salvadoran marginal community. You will work for two full days each week with that community for the entire semester. Through this learning environment, you will become more aware of and sensitive to the realities of those who are struggling to end social injustices while working to promote human dignity. You will become part of the Salvadoran society not as a volunteer, but as a learner.


Going Deeper into the Salvadoran Community

The Campo Experience Each semester Casa students have the opportunity to travel to a rural part of El Salvador called Arcatao in order to live with families for a week. Students report that this experience is one of the most powerful during their time in El Salvador. The opportunity is both rewarding and challenging. Campesinos (subsistence farmers) live in a reality where it is a constant struggle to survive. Because of this, they have a great deal to teach each student. Click here to read one student's experience in the campo.

Praxis Site Home Visits: Each semester students spend at least one weekend (more are encouraged) staying with families from their praxis sites. This provides the opportunity for you to develop deeper relationships with the community, as well as learn about life on the weekends in communities around San Salvador.

Becarios Activities: As part of the Casa experience, all students are invited to participate with the becarios in planning such activities such as: climbing Izalco volcano, traveling to Cinquiera to talk with Don Lito (see book about Don Lito), visiting El Mozote (Danner book reference) and, of course, going to the beach. The activities are a great way not only to get to know the Salvadoran scholarship students but also to become familiar with the history of El Salvador.

Spirituality Retreat: Each semester students travel to Esquipulas, Guatemala, for a three-day Ignatian Retreat. At this retreat, you will be exposed to Ignatian spirituality and given a chance to reflect at the Benedictine monastery. The retreat is in silence.


Curriculum at the Casa

The curriculum of the Casa de la Solidaridad is designed for most undergraduate majors, enabling you to meet your graduation requirements with academic credit granted through Santa Clara University or your home institution. Your classes will be taught by some of the best professors at the University of Central America and in San Salvador - experts in their fields and on topics related to Central America.

The learning style is integrated and interdisciplinary and examines the social, political, and economic reality of the people of El Salvador. The academic curriculum incorporates traditional classroom activities, participative research, and interaction with the local community.

Students select a total of five courses for the semester program, and two courses for the summer program. During the semester program, all students are required to be enrolled on the appropriate section of Spanish. Students who are fluent in Spanish and pass a proficiency test can opt to take a different class in lieu of the Spanish language class. All students are required to take the Field Placement / Praxis course.

Each of the courses offered at the Casa is classified as upper-division coursework, with credit issued through Santa Clara University. Each class is worth 3 semester hours. Students take five classes during a semester with the Casa de la Solidaridad, for a total of 15 credits. Course information can be found here: Casa Courses

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