Juan Reyes, an Instructor in the English Department, is conducting a trip to Chile with students at the University of Alabama next summer.
Reyes was born in Ecuador and moved to West New York, NJ when he was five years old. Before earning his MFA at The University of Alabama, he earned his BE and BS from NYU. Reyes is very complimentary of the English program at Alabama.
“The English department has been awesome, and I got a scholarship for graduate school, which made it a really easy decision to come,” he said.
Reyes said that the English Department has been really flexible during his planning for the study abroad program by letting him plan the trip the way he wants. There is not a summer study abroad program at the university that goes to South America so he thought students would take advantage of the opportunity. Because of his own interest in taking students abroad, Reyes came up with the program with help from Capstone International. Capstone International supports the university’s international efforts on campus.
“We have great trips planned, such as a tour of local vineyards, a trip to the coast to Valparaíso, and hiking just outside Santiago, among other things,” he said.
The program will take place in June of 2014. They will be staying in Santiago, the capital city of Chile, as well as going on day trips throughout the diverse country. They will also take a five-day trip to Easter Island in Chile that is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
As of now, Reyes has reserved an entire hostel for students while in Santiago and cabana style rooms while on Easter Island.
There are three course options students can take while they are abroad. There are five different departments including English, Journalism, Honors, New College, and Blount that have all signed on to allow credits for their students. Students can take courses in world literature class, travel writing, and contemporary Chilean literature.
Reyes will be teaching two courses and a GTA will cover the third. The two of them will be overseeing the trip.
“It’s a safe place to travel and there’s so much variety in the country. [Chile] is narrow and runs along the Pacific, so really quickly you go from desert to mountain to valley to beach. It’s such a concise little country that you can go through all of these different climates and geographies on a single trip,” he said.