Border Studies Program


  • We are still accepting applications for the Spring 2015 Border Studies Program! The deadline for applying is October 17, 2014. Apply now!
  • The BSP is excited to announce that we have new staff and family member, Alisha Vasquez! Read her bio and a brief Q&A here!
  • Maddie Taterka, Contributing Editor for Autostraddle and Fall 2012 BSP Alum, recently published a piece on the detention of child migrants in Arizona.
  • Spring 2014 Border Studies Program alum Alex Cook is working this summer with migrant advocacy group Migrant Justice. Read about his work with the Vermont based organization here.
  • Marcos Ramos, Earlham grad and Spring 2013 BSP alum is spending his summer in his native Brazil after having won a Davis Project for Peace Grant for his project “Navigating Discourses of Sexuality: Resistance to Homophobia in Brazil”. Read more here.
  • Read the participants' updates from the Borderlands and follow their experiences throughout the semester at our Border Studies blog.
  • Read BSP Instructor Katie Sharar's piece for NACLA's Border Wars blog on immigration enforcement in Texas' Big Bend region.
  • Click below to check out our Facebook & Twitter pages and follow what the BSP is currently up to!
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Cultural Excursions

Courses | Supervised Field Study | Language Learning | Living Arrangements | Cultural Excursions |
How To Apply

Program excursions are a very important part of the learning process with the Border Studies Program. The travel seminars and excursions are intended 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.

Required program excursions are designed to compliment the academic work students are engaged with in the borderlands. The Spring 2011 excursions included a trip to Altar, Sonora, several trips to Nogales, Sonora, and a trip to El Paso, Texas.

Mt Lemmon

The first semester excursion is a visit to small towns in the Mexican state of Sonora, very important staging points for migrants and goods crossing the U.S./Mexico border. Migrants from throughout Mexico and Central America pass through Sonora as they prepare to continue their journey north. This excursion may include a night at a migrant shelter, a day-long service project, visits to the desert where many people travel north, conversations with migrants, or opportunities to collaborate with activist groups. Students come away from this excursion with a much deeper understanding of the challenges that face migrants as they move northward.

Border Wall


The second excursion will be the extended travel seminar in Guatemala and southern Mexico to visit communities that have been affected by migration. The travel seminar on migration and will allow participants to visit with local communities, organizations, and individuals that have responded to migration and the global economy in a variety of ways in Guatemala and the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

excursion 3

The third excursion of the fall semester is to a comparative location on the US-Mexico border. The goal of this excursion is to provide students with a window into a different border reality than that which they experience in the southern Arizona borderlands. This trip may include visits with academics, activists, and government officials.  This excursion may also include day-long service projects or opportunities to collaborate with activist groups.In the past, this trip was left to be determined during the semester with input from the students. In spring 2009 the students chose to travel west to Yuma and San Diego. Other options, such as Douglas/Agua Prieta, are also possible. Options and final decisions may depend on security issues or other factors, including timely events.

Program staff may arrange optional excursions to important historical/cultural sites and areas of natural beauty in the local area. For example, groups have traveled to the top of Mount Lemmon for sweets from the famous pie shop, to Nogales to visit with Border Patrol, and to the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans alongside the beach in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. These excursions are optional and students may be asked to pay some of their own expenses.

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