HISP Faculty Focus, March 2018: Dr. Lola Colomina-Garrigós

Dr. Lola Colomina

A faculty member in the Department of Hispanic Studies since 2003, and a full professor in the department since 2016, Dr. Colomina earned her B.A. in English from Spain’s University of Alicante, and both her M.A. and Ph.D. at Michigan State University.  Since 2015 she serves as the Director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS), a program that has enjoyed a resurgence under her tireless and creative leadership with the revision of the LACS curriculum, the overhaul of the study abroad program in Cuba, the addition of a post-doc faculty position, and extra-curricular event planning, among many other activities.

In addition to her impressive academic leadership, Dr. Colomina is an accomplished scholar whose research focuses on discourse, power, globalization and cultural mediatization in contemporary Spanish American narrative.   The results of her work appear in several internationally-esteemed, peer-reviewed journals in her field to include Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, and Hispanófila, among others.  She has also presented her research in numerous scholarly venues across the globe to include Argentina, Austria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain.

Despite her impressive accomplishments with academic leadership and research, one of her primary loves is the classroom and her students.  In addition to directing student study-abroad programs in Chile and Spain, she has taught a countless variety of courses at all levels–both undergraduate and graduate–to include basic Spanish language and Spanish American literature, culture, history and film, and she has directed multiple student internships.   In her own words:

Whether in the classroom, by watching students lead intellectually stimulating discussions, or outside of it, when I hear my Hispanic Studies and Latin American & Caribbean Studies mentees speak about how a specific study abroad or an internship experience helped them shape their professional and personal focus in a positive way, being part of the students’ intellectual as well as their more personal journey continues to be the most fulfilling part of my profession.  

The Department of Hispanic Studies congratulates Dr. Lola Colomina for her broad work on so many levels for the benefit of her students, her academic unit, and the College of Charleston, and for being selected for our March 2018 “Hispanic Studies Faculty Focus.”

Stay tuned for April 2018’s feature…

15th Anniversary of Cuba Study Abroad program

As one of the only institutions in the country with an annual study abroad program to Cuba, we are proud to offer a week of events to commemorate the 15th anniversary of this unique opportunity. For information on studying abroad in Cuba, click here. Here is a list of events to take place this week in honor of the program… Check them out!

All Events Begin at 5:30pm

Monday, November 17
Addlestone Library, Room 227
Film Screening of “A Summer in Cuba: College of Charleston, University of the World” (an original film)
Followed by a faculty & student panel discussion
Reception

Tuesday, November 18
Tate Center, Room 207 & Tate Center Lounge
Film Screening of “Bridge in the Mirror” a film by Humberto Miranda, in-country Director of the Cuba program
Reception to follow with live music by Justin Osborne

Wednesday, November 19
Addlestone Library, Room 227
Film Screening of “Fresa y Chocolate” (Strawberries & Chocolate)

Thursday, November 20
Addlestone Library, Room 227
Film Screening of “Viva Cuba” (Cuba Lives!)

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After 15 Years, Cuba Study Abroad Program is as Vital as Ever

After 15 Years, Cuba Study Abroad Program is as Vital as Ever

When the College of Charleston launched its study abroad program in Havana, Cuba in summer 2000, travel and relations between the U.S. and Cuba were already difficult. Maintaining the program, which sends about 12 students to Havana each spring, has been challenging and often unpredictable, but it has always been rewarding.

cuba study abroad

Students studying abroad in Havana. Photo by Britton Holmes.

“My time in Cuba impacted me in more ways than I can count,” said Britton Holmes, a junior international studies and political science double major who studied abroad in Havana during the spring 2014 semester. “The culture is so rich, whether it’s the music, the art, the dance, etc. The people love being Cuban. They’re proud of their culture and they want to share it with everyone.”

 RELATED:Learn more about the College’s study abroad program in Cuba

The program that Holmes speaks of, though, is vastly different than the program the first 100 students to study in Havana experienced. In 2000, when International Studies Department Chair Douglas Friedman and Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies Jose Escobar launched the program with 20 students, participants spent four weeks and lived in what was essentially a hotel. When the embargo in Cuba was tightened in 2004, it required that those visiting with an education license must spend a minimum of 10 weeks. That was when the program went from a summer study-abroad experience to a full semester.

Photo taken in Cuba by Douglas Friedman

Photo taken in Cuba by Douglas Friedman

These restrictions caused many universities to end their own programs in Cuba, but the College’s commitment to sharing the educational and cultural opportunities in Cuba kept the program alive. “In 2004 there were more than 100 universities with programs in Cuba,” Friedman said. “In 2005 there were three.”

RELATED: Check out the department of international studies

2007 marked the first spring semester in Havana – after attempting a hurricane-filled fall semester in 2005 – and the program has remained in the spring since. Students now live in apartments on the outskirts of Havana, allowing them easy access to the city without the round-the-clock distractions of Havana in such close proximity. It also makes students clean up and cook for themselves, providing them a more immersive experience.

“We’ve progressively tried to make the experience more genuine,” Friedman said. “Now we’re able to rent apartments for short-term use, and students have full kitchens – they’re actually living there. They have to deal with the same food shortages that Cubans deal with, they have to learn the different currencies, and they have to learn to navigate Havana. It’s a much more immersive experience.”

Holmes, who lived in the apartments, is a testament to this. “There is not a better place I could think of to get a full experience of pure Latin American culture,” she said. “I feel like a gained a Cuban family as well as a College of Charleston family.”

Holmes’ account of her time in Havana reflects the many unique opportunities provided through the program – not only is the Cuba program very small, allowing for students to form a tight-knit community, but also living in an embargoed country for 11 weeks is something that few Americans can experience.

cuba study abroad

Photo taken in Cuba by Britton Holmes

This is unlike any of the other programs we have,” Associate Provost for International Education Andrew Sobiesuo said. “In terms of the experience, the facilities and the adjustment that students have to make. They really learn to appreciate the advantages they have as Americans when they see what Cubans go through on a daily basis. It makes their experience much richer.”

Becoming immersed in the Cuban lifestyle can be jarring for some students. Holmes described ideal participants as “adventurous people who like to experience new cultures.” She went on to say that people interested in political science and/or Latin American history, culture and society as well as those interested in vintage cars, architecture, dancing and nightlife would also enjoy the program.

The next round of students considering studying abroad in Havana have a few months to apply – the deadline is December 1, 2014 – and in the meantime Friedman and Sobiesuo are working to get the program director in Cuba, Humberto Miranda, to Charleston in November for a 15th anniversary celebration and to teach his usual express II courses, Social Movements in Comparative Perspective and Cuban Politics and Society.

During his annual visits to Charleston, Miranda helps recruit students for the program both by providing information on the fascinating classes taught by his fellow University of Havana and Instituto de Filosofia faculty members and telling students about the unique and storied culture that awaits them in Cuba.

For Holmes, the description of daily life and friendly locals in Cuba was the selling point. “Their culture is super inclusive… I feel really lucky to have been able to experience it.”

Fulbright – Experience and Opportunities With FLTA Juliana Passos, TONIGHT

April 3, Thursday, 5:30p.m.

ETCR #118

TODAY, April 3rd, Juliana Passos, Brazilian Fulbright grantee working at  the Department of Hispanic Studies  will be sharing her experience in the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program, as well as presenting the basic steps to those interested in getting a Fulbright TA Scholarship in Brazil and other countries. Please invite your students.

Study Abroad this Summer with CofC

The following 2014 summer study abroad programs can still accommodate a few students. March 15, 2014 is the final deadline to apply.

Summer 2014 CofC Programs

Program: Courses: Dates: App Deadline:
Barbados AAST 300; AAST 300 June March 15th
Brazil LTPO 250/LTPO 150 & LACS 105 May 14-31 March 15th
China INTB 360, MKTG 360 June 1-20 March 15th
Costa Rica INTB 390, TRAN 360 July March 15th
England/France ARTH 340; ARTH 340 June 15-July 2 March 15th
Paris, France ENGL 364 May 24-31 March 15th
Paris, France FREN 390, FREN 361 May 11-June2 March 15th
Greece GEOL 240 June-July March 15th
Rome, Italy CLAS 203 & ARTH 290 June 2-24 March 15th
Sorrento, Italy LTIT 270 & LTIT 370 June14-July12 March 15th
Spoleto, Italy ENGL 339 & ENGL 350 May 14-June11 March 15th
Kenya & Tanzania EDFS 560 & INTB 390 May-June March 15th
Morocco LTAR 250, LTFR 250, POLI 359, FREN 361, FREN 490 May14-June6 March 15th
Panama TRAN 360, MKTG 360, REAL 360 Summer 2 March 15th
Trujillo, Spain SPAN 275; SPAN 328; SPAN 333; SPAN 390 May 14-June 19 March 15th

 

 

“Changes in Cuba: the Evolution of the US-Cuban Relationship:” April 11 @ 4pm

The School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs is sponsoring a lecture by Dr. Julia Sweig from the Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday April 11 at 4 pm in the Wells Fargo Auditorium (School of Business).  The lecture is titled, “ Changes in Cuba: the Evolution of the US-Cuban Relationship.”   Dr. Sweig is one of the foremost authorities on contemporary Cuba and we are most fortunate to have her on campus.

She is the Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow for Latin American Studies at the Council and the author Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2009, 2013) and Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century (Public Affairs, 2006), as well as numerous publications on Latin America and American foreign policy. Dr. Sweig’s Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground (Harvard University Press, 2002) received the American Historical Association’s Herbert Feis Award for best book of the year by an independent scholar. She also writes a bi-weekly column for Folha de Sao Paulo, Brazil’s leading newspaper. She holds a B.A. from the University of California and a M.A. and Ph. D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

http://news.cofc.edu/2013/04/09/esteemed-cuban-policy-expert-to-speak-at-the-college-of-charleston/

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