Immerse yourself in Mendoza this summer

groupNIU students seeking academic and personal enrichment will get that and more during the NIU study abroad program in Mendoza, Argentina.

From May 23 through June 10, students will be immersed in Latin American culture, taking classes at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo while living with a host family.

“The entire experience is enriching in very many ways,” said program director Frances Jaeger, associate professor of Spanish of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. “The academic value of the program is there, but what really enhances everything is the fact that we are in a radically different setting, and students get to see a totally different lifestyle.”

In its second year, this study abroad program is coordinated by the NIU Study Abroad Office (SOA), in cooperation with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Honors Program and the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Students have the opportunity to earn four credit hours over the three-week period.

And while relatively new, Jaeger said the Mendoza program has a deep-rooted Huskie connection.

“Through two very successful Fulbright exchanges, NIU has strong ties to the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo,” Jaeger said. “The director of the study abroad program and instructor are the people who have lived on the NIU campus as Fulbright exchanges. They know our students and our community.”

Jaeger said there is an established bond which makes this study abroad program successful.

“There is a bond there and that is really important,” Jaeger said. “We have a history with these people and they strongly identify with NIU.”

Student Danielle Dyra, happy to have reached the summit during a hike, pops a handstand.
Student Danielle Dyra, happy to have reached the summit during a hike, pops a handstand.

Another program highlight is Mendoza’s proximity to the Andes mountain range, which allows for a variety of excursions that are included in the cost of the program. Whether hiking, horseback riding or hiking to a lookout point near Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Andes mountain range, there’s something for everyone.

“We really pack in as much as we can in just a few weeks,” Jaeger said. “Every weekend we are doing something amazing.”

Mendoza is also wine country, and part of the study abroad program includes a wine appreciation course where students visit three vineyards and learn about wine.

“Our goal was to make this a program that is accessible to many students who maybe didn’t think about studying abroad,” Jaeger said. “It is really for students of any major; you don’t have to be a Spanish major. Students from all backgrounds are invited to be part of it.”

Learn more about this program and others during the Spring Study Abroad Fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, at the Glass Gallery in the Holmes Student Center.

Students also will have the chance to visit information tables and talk to professors leading about 20 upcoming faculty-directed programs, including the Mendoza, Argentina program.

For more information on NIU Study Abroad programs, call (815) 753-0700 or email niuabroad@niu.edu.

by Jane Donahue

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