Luisina Kemanian Leites

IES: Politics, Social Justice & Language
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Luisina Kemanian Leites

Liberal Arts Majors: International Politics, Latin American Studies
Minor: Spanish, Arabic, Middle East Studies
Hometown: State College, Pennsylvania
Experience Time: Fall 2022

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

In the Fall 2022 semester I participated in a study abroad in Santiago de Chile, focused on politics and social justice. My studies included human rights in Latin America, native cultures and indigenous rights, economic development in Chile, and an internship. I also witnessed first-hand the unique Chilean constitutional referendum and the ensuing protests that broke out.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This study abroad was an enriching academic experience. My coursework was conducted entirely in Spanish, which as a native Spanish-speaker improved my professional Spanish skills. Additionally, it was enlightening to learn about Latin American politics and history from Latin American professors, who provided a different viewpoint than what is taught in the US. These experiences highlighted the differences in a country that is transitioning and strengthening its democratic institutions (Chile), with a country that is a constitutional monarchy (Jordan where I studied abroad last semester), and the US, which is currently experiencing democratic backsliding.

"It was enlightening to learn about Latin American politics and history from Latin American professors, who provided a different viewpoint than what is taught in the US."

How will this experience impact your career goals?

In addition to my coursework, I completed an internship with Escuela Amor de Dios, a primary school in a Santiago where students were primarily immigrants from around Latin America. Working there was valuable since I would like to work as an immigration lawyer in the future, and it provided a whole new outlook on the experiences of immigrants around the world. Chile is a special case as it only recently has seen an influx in immigrants, so the government is actively working to build out infrastructure.

How has the College of the Liberal Arts helped you to find and/or succeed in this experience (e.g., adviser, faculty, staff, enrichment funds, etc.)?

The College of the Liberal Arts graciously made this opportunity possible for me through providing enrichment funds. My professors in the College also motivated me to seek experiences like this and prepared me to take full advantage of my time in Chile.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program actively encourages students to pursue experiences like study abroad that push students out of their comfort zones and helps them grow as academics and professionals.

For more information on study abroad for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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