The program in La Plata, Argentina is unique for a number of reasons. The only semester study abroad program for American university students in La Plata, it is run by the Comisión Provincial por la Memoria and is structured entirely around the in-depth, interdisciplinary study of human rights. Students benefit from a full immersion experience as they study side-by-side with Argentines in courses at the Comisión and at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), one of Latin America's most renowned public universities.Students are required to take 12 credits taught at the Comisión, all with a human rights focus, and are strongly encouraged to take one or two other courses at UNLP. Students can choose courses at the UNLP from many different disciplines, not just human rights-focused.
The Comisión provides students with course enrollment advising and helps them navigate the bureaucratic structure of higher education in Argentina; it coordinates their homestays with families deeply engaged with the Comisión's work, and organizes a series of extracurricular excursions. As an integral part of the program of study, the Comisión offers a variety of dynamic internship opportunities related to its work on the legacies of dictatorship and recent political history of “the disappeared.” In recent years, undergraduate students have held internships at the Comisión's museum, police intelligence archive, and committee against torture, in addition to working with the high school outreach education program "Jóvenes y Memoria."
The city of La Plata, rich in history and charming in its own right, is only 34 miles from Buenos Aires. It offers numerous cafes and parks in addition to a variety of museums and historical sites, the children's amusement park said to have inspired Walt Disney's creation of Disneyland, and even a zoo. UNLP is bustling with students who play an important role in governing the university and are the life of the city. Former W&M Spanish Language House Tutor Diego Diaz, who is also a faculty member at UNLP and works at the Comisión, is the W&M site director of this program and is available to aid students throughout their time in La Plata. Silvia Tandeciarz, Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, serves as faculty liaison to the program.