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Visit the US-Mexican border January 2016 with SPAN 3401: Latino Immigration and Community Engagement

November 11, 2016
Interested in enrolling? Contact the instructor, Kathleen Ganley (Katalina) at


Want to learn more? Alumni talk about their experiences in this course.

  • What drives so many people to undertake the risky crossing into the US?
  • Who are the people who have done it and what have their experiences been like?
  • How do immigration policies affect real human beings on both sides of the border?

Engage with these important issues with your head and your heart.

Listen to people who hold a variety of perspectives and positions through readings, lectures, and conversations.

  • Hear from local experts, including a professor and a widely-published author.
  • Visit with a past US Customs and Border Patrol agent and with individuals who have worked with migrants through various nonprofit organizations.
  • Meet with numerous migrants to hear their personal stories of why they emigrated, what their journey was like, and what life is like in the US; including migrants who recently arrived, those who have been in the US for a long time, and others who are currently in a detention center and may be deported.

Learn about and analyze the causes and implications of migration across the US-Mexican border, including:

  • The connection between the roots of emigration and the global economy or violence in Central America.
  • Human rights on the border.
  • Issues that immigrants face in the US, such as living in the country with or without legal documents, detention and deportation, and the work they are doing to make a more just immigration system.

Experience the borderlands for yourself.

  • See the border fences.
  • Leave water for migrants and walk in the trails that they use.
  • Visit a Mexican border city.

Become an informed and engaged citizen.

  • Earn liberal education credit for Civic Life and Ethics and for Diversity and Social Justice in the United States.
  • Share about your experiences with people back home.
  • Get involved in civic life beyond this course and consider ethics when making civic decisions.

About the Course

We have partnered with an organization called BorderLinks, which has worked with migrants for 30 years in both Arizona and Mexico. Students will stay in the BorderLinks dormitory in Tucson and spend one night in a border town in Mexico or Arizona. Students will gather information during their stay and create a presentation to be shown to people in Minnesota upon returning from the border.

Cost: $2,000, plus transportation to Arizona (airfare is around $400). This cost would go down a little if more than 10 students enroll. These costs pay for:

  • 3 UMN credits for SPAN 3401 and
  • The BorderLinks program fee, which includes all daily classes and trips, guest speakers, transportation, food, and lodging.

Class Schedule:

  • Meet on campus before leaving, (January 2)
  • Ten days in AZ, including travel time (January 3-10)
  • Meet on campus (January 13)


  • Completed Span 3015 OR
  • Completed Span 1004 – and talk with the instructor