Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) Seminar/ Field Trip

** Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the program is no longer offering homestays in country. Students will live in allocated housing as to not to harm the local community and mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.

This intensive, two-part program incorporates a cross-cultural homestay with individualized field study.  The program is open to undergraduates of any major at the University of Pittsburgh and welcomes applicants from any field with sufficient Spanish language proficiency and an interest in Latin American culture. If you are selected for the program you will enroll in a preparatory seminar on campus during the spring of 2022, and then travel to country of the program where you will study, live with a host family** and carry out an independent field project.  


What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • Individual field investigations, collecting data and information for evaluation
  • A research paper based on the field investigations, observation and data collection
  • A better understanding of cross-cultural communication and the challenges and rewards of the international living experience

Manizales is the capital of the Department of Caldas in central Colombia. The city lies near the Nevado del Ruiz volcano and serves as the main center for the production of Colombian coffee and an important hub for higher educational institutions.


Manizales is described as having an "abrupt topography," due to its geographic position in the Colombian Central Mountain Range (part of the longest continental mountain range, the Andes), with a great deal of ridgelines and steep slopes, which, combined with the seismic instability of the area, has required architectural adaptations and public works to make the city safer. Even though Manizales contains challenging topography, there are many coffee plantations among its fertile lands.


The city is located in the northern part of the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis ("Eje Cafetero"), near the volcano Nevado del Ruiz, which has an altitude of 5,321 meters (17,457.3 ft). As such, the city's core economy has traditionally been the cultivation and production of coffee. Other companies in the city manufacture products such as liquor, shoes, rubber, chocolate, banks, detergents and soaps, threshing and packaged coffee, software, and metallurgy, among others. In addition, there are institutions and companies involved in the coffee sector as the Departmental Committee of Coffee Growers of Caldas, Almacafé, Cenicafé, and a number of other industries involved in the process of coffee (threshers, cooperatives, exporters).The service sector has thrived, mostly in the form of call centers, and this has become one of the city's primary economic activities.


During the latter half of the twentieth century, many universities were founded in the city to the point that some studies regard Manizales as the second largest University city in the country. 


Where You'll Live: 

Students will be housed in a local hotel which the Universidad Nacional de Colombia has an agreement with. Please note that in previous iterations of this program students stayed with host families. In an effort to mitigate COVID-19 risks we are suspending staying with local host families in country this year. Students will still have opportunities to connect with the local community in a safe enviornment. 

What You'll Study: 

You'll earn a total of 6 credits on the Center for Latin American Studies Seminar and Field program.  You will use the city to conduct your research. You will seek out information through interviews and observations that will allow you to carry out your individual field investiations. You will continue to refine your research skills and techniques that you developed during the spring semester course prior to departure. 

 In this course you will study:

  • Research methods
  • Data collection
  • Evaluation
  • Professional writing

If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate, please meet with your academic advisor to discuss this program and what the courses will fulfill for you. Information about how the courses on this program count towards general education requirements for different schools and campuses can be found here.

CLAS Fieldtrip (6-Credits) (ARTSC1991)

While living with a host family, you will carry out individual field investigations, collecting data and information for evaluation.  The project director will be present throughout the program to provide guidance and direction.  Final written project reports will be completed upon return to the US and submitted at a deadline set by the director of the program.

CLAS Spring Term Seminar (3-credits) (ARTSC1990)

This interdisciplinary seminar is designed to prepare students for their in-country residence experience. Students will examine the history, culture, politics and geography of Manizales and Colombia and their place within Latin American. Issues dealing with cross-cultural communication and the challenges and rewards of the international living experience will be examined. Students will also be guided through the design of individual field projects that they will carry out during their residence experience in May and June.

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Gisselle Arce

Oí pessoal! I am Gisselle Arce, a Program Manager at the Pitt Global Experiences Office. While in undergrad, I studied abroad in Seville, Spain. This began my career path in international education without knowing. Shortly after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a degree in International Studies - Latin America and a minor in Human Rights & Genocide studies I worked in Chile as an Assistant English Teacher. After months of picking up my Chilean dialect, I came back to the US and attended graduate school at Middlebury Institute of International Studies. During my graduate studies, I found myself returning to Spain once again for my graduate internship. Now I find myself managing not only Pitt in Spain but many other programs. When I am not at work, I enjoy cooking, kickboxing, freshening up on my Portuguese, and spending time with my dog. Feel free to set up an appointment with me via Pathways. 

Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways!

  • Click my personal Pathways link here
  • Login to Pathways with your Pitt username and password
  • Select Find Available Time
  • Select the time you want to meet
  • Review the appointment and click the schedule button
  • You will see a graphic that confirms that you have made an appointment with me & receive a confirmation in your Pitt email 

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email at!

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Ana Paula Carvalho

Ana Paula Carvalho is the faculty director for the CLAS program. Born in Fortaleza, Brazil, Ana Paula Carvalho studied Portuguese and Spanish Languages and Literatures at the Universidade Estadual do Ceará, where she received her BA.  She earned her MA in Applied Linguistics from the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, University of Pittsburgh.  She currently teaches Portuguese language and works as the Portuguese Language Coordinator and Portuguese Minor advisor.   Ana Paula has led many study abroad programs and taught an interdisciplinary undergraduate seminar in order to prepare students to conduct a pilot field research projects in Brazil and Colombia.



Dolores Lima

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dolores Lima earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Latin American Literature from University of Maryland under the direction of Prof. Jorge Aguilar Mora. She has taught Spanish language, culture and literature courses at Southern Connecticut State University, Montgomery College, University of Maryland, and Catholic University of America. She has been teaching at Middlebury College Summer School since 2009. She was appointed Spanish Language Program Coordinator at the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh in August 2015.


Her teaching and research interests focus on Latin American literature and culture, with an emphasis on literary theory. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Disruption to Representation: Affect in Macedonio Fernández, Antonio Di Benedetto and César Aira”, proposes the concept of “affective writing” as a paradigm in analyzing different types of disruptions to narrative representation. She is currently working on laughter and the narrative of the body in Virgilio Piñera’s work.



Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Program Cost $4,770 $4,970
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $5,070 $5,270


Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad.  Visit our Budgeting page for more information.

What's Included: 

As a part of your program fee, the following are included:

  • 6-credits of tuition (summer field program)
  • Room and Board in hotel
  • Roundtrip airfare to and from US
  • Health Insurance
  • Some cultural activities & excursions ** (subject to COVID-19 rules and regulations in country)

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad.  Visit our Budgeting page for more information.

When You'll Go: 

May 13, 2022 - June 24, 2022

What Else You Need to Know: 

The CLAS Scholarship Field Program is significantly underwritten by the Center For Latin America Studies (CLAS) .Participants will be responsible for tuition cost and associated fees.Candidates are required to be full time, degree seeking undergraduates (from any discipline) maintaining a minimum of a 2.75 grade point average.  Freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors who possess the necessary skills and disposition are welcome to apply.
By the time the field component begins, applicants must possess sufficient Spanish language proficiency to communicate effectively with their host families, travel independently and carry out their individual projects.
Most importantly, interested applicants must demonstrate a willingness to be flexible, assimilate to a new culture, and welcome cross-cultural interaction.  Selected candidates must be initiative taking, self-directed and comfortable functioning with little supervision. 
Airfare is included in the program fee and includes roundtrip airfare to your host country departing from and arriving at Pittsburgh on the scheduled departure and return dates. All CLAS Seminar & Field students will depart from their host country together, although students may elect to make changes to the location of their domestic (U.S.) return city. Additional changes to the return flight itinerary, including change fees and differences in airfare, are the sole responsibility of the student.