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Regional Focus: Latin America (ISLA)

Regional Focus: Latin America (ISLA)

With Hispanics now the largest minority group in the United States, and Brazil's economy surpassing that of Russia, Latin America is attracting considerable attention in the United States. 



  This region of focus explores the rich diversity of peoples, histories and cultures that together define Latin America and examines the basic structures of Latin American society, history and culture.

A variety of scholarly and literary sources are used to provide the student with a varied and balanced view of this complex region.

While its people struggle to preserve the region's artistic, literary and cultural heritage, Latin America also is experiencing rapid political and economic change.Latin  America

Regional Coordinator

Shawn Smallman

East Hall 345 (503)725-9978

Stephen Frenkel

East Hall 338 (503) 725-5085

For a different regional coordinator, please visit the corresponding Regional Focus page. (See menu in the left margin above.)

Regional Focus

At least 20 upper-division credits (with a grade C or above) from adviser-approved, area-specific courses appropriate to the student's regional focus; selected from departments and programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Business Administration, the Graduate School of Education, the School of Fine and Performing Arts, and the College of Urban and Public Affairs.

*For a list of recommended Latin America-related courses, you can view all lists under FORMS/LISTS.

Foreign Language

A common misconception is that globalization has reduced the value of knowledge of languages other than English. 

The International Studies major requires that students demonstrate second-year proficiency in one language appropriate to the regional focus.  For students taking courses at PSU, second-year proficiency is defined by successful completion of the terminal course in the second-year language sequence or completion of an upper division equivalent.  

***Since this requirement is met by proficiency and not credit hours, you may have learned the foreign language outside of a classroom, for example, from relatives or by living abroad. If this is the case, please contact the World Languages and Literatures department for information on how to satisfy this requirement by demonstrating  second-year proficiency.

Adviser-Approved Latin American Languages:

  • Spanish
  • Portuguese

Education Abroad

There is not an education abroad requirement associated with the International Studies major; however, our students are encouraged to pursue international experience opportunities.  Portland State University's Education Abroad Office offers study abroad opportunities in the following countries in Latin America:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Costa Rica-Guatemala-Honduras-Nicaragua (Carpe Diem)
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Ecuador-Peru (Carpe Diem)
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Peru

For more information on any of these programs please visit the Education Abroad office in East Hall 101.

Need a reason to study abroad??  . . . just read this article and it will inform you of many of the benefits of an intercultural academic experience!