Excursions & Travel Seminars
Program excursions are a very important part of the learning process with the Border Studies Program. The travel seminars and excursions are inteded to enhance students understanding about border conflicts in both ecological and social spheres, as well as to take advantage of the natural and human diversity of the border experience.
The first fall semester excursion is a visit to small towns in the Mexican state of Sonora, very important staging points for migrants and goods crossing the US/Mexico border. Migrants from throughout Mexico and Central America pass through Sonora to prepare for their journey north. This excursion may include a night at a migrant shelter, a day-long work project, visits to the desert which many heading north traverse, or opportunities to collaborate with activist and civil society groups. Students come away from this excursion with a much deeper understanding of the challenges that face migrants as they move northward.
Following the first excursion, students participate in two extended travel seminars at different points in the semester. During these travel seminars students travel through the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Sonora as well as the US borderland states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, interacting with the diverse geographies of the region.
Ranches, mines, farms, clinics, National Parks, workers' centers, villages, migrant shelters, workshops, and collectives become program classrooms. Participants meet with a wide array of folks including migrant workers, conservationists, student groups, health care providers, envinronmentalists, indigenous peoples, human rights advocates, NGOs, grassroots organizations, government officials, farmers, and labor unions on both sides of the border.
Communities and individuals facing the realities of immigration and globalization, who have responded to today's complex problems with creative alternatives assist in our exploration of how the environment and society interact, and how people can address the political, social, and environmental dilemmas of our time.
Program staff sometimes arrange optional excursions to important historical/cultural sites and areas of natural beauty in the local area. These excursions are optional and students may be asked to pay some of their own expenses.
Participants also have the opportunity to attend local events during the fall semester, which include La Fiesta de San Augustin, Norteño Music Festival, Sonoita Labor Day Rodeo, the Mexican Independence Day Celebration, All Souls Procession, Dia de los Muertos, as well as many social and cultural events at the University of Arizona.