In this article, SPO concentrators share their experiences abroad during their winter break research trips!
We hope they will inspire other students to take the leap! Deadlines for summer research projects are approaching. Did you know there are funds available for research abroad through SPO for Spanish and Portuguese majors as well as for graduate students? For more details visit SPO's Undergraduate Funding Opportunities and for grad students check SPO's Graduate Summer Research Funding Opportunities.
Women Journalists and the Freethinking Movement in Spain
"I spent about three weeks in Madrid, Spain, doing preliminary research for my second JP! I was hoping to find a topic that spoke to me within the Museo Reina Sofia's vast collection of art and cultural artifacts dating from the early 20th century onward. I was lucky enough to meet a few SPO grad students while I was there who helped me get acquainted with the museum and the city itself. From there, I spent lots of time wandering the collection and neighborhoods around the museum to
contextualize its role as a cultural center. Though it is still subject to change, I've ultimately decided to research and write about the women journalists who led the
freethinking movement across Spain in the 1910s, which served as an early iteration of the feminist movement and fueled the women's suffrage movement. I was inspired to write about this by seeing copies in the Reina Sofia of one of these newspapers, El Gladiador del librepensamiento, published by Ángeles López de Ayala from 1913 to 1919. Though I'd never heard of or learned about these social movements or this period in Spain's history, I found the idea of women self-publishing activist newspapers
so interesting and inspiring. I am so looking forward to continuing with this topic and grateful to SPO for sending me to find it! "
Healthcare Challenges in Mexico
"Over the last two weeks of Winter break I had the opportunity to conduct field work for my Senior Thesis in Monterrey, N.L., Mexico. My field work centered around conducting interviews with physicians and healthcare
providers that treat patients of lower socioeconomic status who present with type 2 diabetes and hypertension. My objective in conducting these interviews is to better understand the challenges faced by this patient population in treating their respective illnesses that have become very prominent in Monterrey and Mexico at large. Socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals in Mexico are more affected and struggle more to treat / navigate their illness, so this project hopes to shed light on what specific challenges they face."
Understanding Demon Sightings in Rural Guatemala
"My winter research was focused on a study of demons and the presence of demons in the everyday lives of people residing in rural parts of Guatemala. The aim was to compile individual encounters with demons in order to understand how the natural and supernatural are interconnected. In doing so, I've found that this study is also about reaffirming these experiences as part of a lived reality. In the end, I hope to analyze how they relate to the landscape and space of the largely rural towns I was in."