San Salvador is the cosmopolitan center and capital city of El Salvador. The city is home to roughly 2.2 million people and is located in the valley of the San Salvador volcano. With the Pan American highway running through it, San Salvador has become a center for transportation and economic development. The city boasts numerous cultural and art museums to explore and students can always catch a soccer match at one of the many soccer stadiums.
Students live in community in the suburb-like Antiguo Cuscatlan, located just outside of the capital. Antiguo Cuscatlan is a beautiful city with many parks and plazas.
Casa de la Solidaridad is a Jesuit study abroad and service learning program administered by Santa Clara University. Program participants attend classes at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) campus in El Salvador’s capital city, San Salvador, with other program participants. At UCA, distinguished faculty teach students in areas such as liberation theology, social analysis of their praxis communities, Spanish language studies, Salvadoran history, political science and sociology. The Casa program is a unique community-based learning program, which challenges students to integrate the reality of a developing country with rigorous academic study.
As part of the program, students are placed in service learning sites within marginalized communities, spending two days a week accompanying the poor through their everyday lives. The mission of the Casa de Solidaridad is justice and solidarity through direct immersion with the poor of El Salvador.
In addition to an array of classes, students have the option of participating in a variety of travel excursions throughout the country. Some include climbing the Izalco volcano, visiting Mayan ruins, participating in a silent spiritual retreat and visiting memorial sites of the Civil war. In addition to these trips, the students will live with a family in the rural part of the country for one week. This experience is a cherished part of the Casa program because it further challenges students to live in solidarity with the country’s poor and opens students to the different realities of rural living as compared to the capital city.
Casa staff members provide a week-long orientation for students before the first week of classes. During orientation, students will learn about current events and visit a variety of historical sites. To become more familiar with the communities where other students will be, the group will visit each praxis site.
Your classes will be taught by University of Central America professors who are experts in their fields and on topics related to Central America. The academic curriculum incorporates traditional classroom activities, participative research, and interaction with the local community.
Most students select a total of five classes. Each of the courses offered at Casa is classified as upper-division coursework and you can earn up to 18 credits. Students are required to register for a Spanish class as one of their five classes.
Visit the Casa course offerings page for more information
Students discuss their academic background, personal interests and professional goals with Casa staff. Based on this information, students are then paired up with a fellow classmate and assigned a praxis/service learning site in a local Salvadoran community. Students spend two full days each week throughout the semester in this community.
Visit the Casa praxis site page for descriptions of the sites and student roles.
Casa students embrace the challenge of living simply to more fully understand the lives of the Salvadoran poor and the reality of the large majority of the world’s population. Students live in program houses within walking distance of each other and may choose to have a roommate or live alone. Two Salvadoran Universidad de Centroamericana students also live in each house, which helps American and Salvadoran students form lasting relationships. Basic furniture and computers (without Internet access) are provided. Internet cafes, supermarkets and convenience stores are located within blocks of the Casa houses. All meals are provided.
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VISA AND TRAVEL
Click on the link below for visa and travel details specific to El Salvador.
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