University of Technology Sydney

MAJ09380 Latino USA

With a population of some 325 million and composed of 50 states, the United States of America is the third-largest nation in terms of size and population in the world. It is the only 20th century superpower to enter the 21st century with its power intact and still boasts the world's largest national economy, the strongest military and extraordinary cultural influence on a global level. The capital is Washington DC and its two biggest and most cosmopolitan cities are New York on the east coast, and Los Angeles on the west coast. Absorbing wave after wave of migrants from all over the world since the original 13 American colonies broke with Great Britain in 1776, the USA is one of the most culturally and racially diverse of nations.

The Latino USA major is based on the premises that the USA is now one of the world's largest Spanish-speaking countries, and that Latinisation is inexorably transforming the USA, and hence Australia's understanding of that country. Already in many cities, Spanish has joined English as a de facto second language and, in many parts of the USA, Spanish has or is approaching majority status, with well over 40 million first-language speakers. The Latino population of the USA currently stands at some 60 million, a figure that does not include the four million residents of Puerto Rico. It is estimated that by 2050, Latinos will comprise more than 25 per cent of the US population. Many observers posit that Latinos may be a majority in their own right by the end of the 21st century.

The Latino USA major is designed for students to learn about and experience first hand the demographic, cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic and political processes of latinisation in the USA. The major prepares students for understanding how those processes will transform the USA, and how other parts of the world regard and relate to that country. Students who select this major take advantage of the current demographic, political, socioeconomic, cultural and linguistic transformation of the USA, giving them important skills for any professional area conducted in the Pacific region. The Latino USA major allows students to learn Spanish, to learn about the history and cultures of the USA's heterogeneous Latino sectors, and to spend an academic year of study at universities in parts of the USA with large Latino populations.

Students spend two consecutive semesters studying Spanish language and Latino cultures at one of the sites below through arrangements made by UTS: International Studies. The sites are located in areas of the USA with substantial Latino populations, thus enabling international studies students to speak Spanish on a daily basis and to undertake research projects based on and in Latino communities.

  • San Diego State University, California
  • California State University, Sacramento
  • University of Texas at Austin, Texas
  • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

Students are assessed separately each semester, based on subjects undertaken at the host institutions, as well as assessments administered by UTS: International Studies.

Due to current exchange rates students may expect that greater costs are incurred through undertaking a period of in-country study in the USA than are involved in living away from home in Sydney.

Semester dates

Semester 1: early January to mid-May (US Spring semester)
Semester 2: early August to mid-December (US Fall semester)


San Diego, California

Located in the southwest corner of California on the US-Mexico border and faced by the Mexican city of Tijuana, San Diego is the eighth largest city in the USA with a population of 1.4 million, and a greater metropolitan population of three million. Its Latino population is around 30 per cent of the total. About 195 kilometres south of Los Angeles, San Diego has long served as a point of cultural transition between California and Mexico. The city's coastal location means that residents have ready access to a string of fine beaches and some of the best surfing on the US west coast. The climate is mild, daytime temperatures rarely straying over 30 degrees in summer or dropping below 20 in the winter.

San Diego State University (SDSU) is the largest university in San Diego and the third largest in California. SDSU is home to nearly 33,000 students and approximately 6400 academic faculty and administrative staff. The main SDSU campus is located in a Mexican-American stronghold, and is connected by regular buses to downtown San Diego, the trip taking approximately half an hour. The campus is compact, most of its streets have Aztec/Náhuatl names, and the buildings are in a fetching neo-Spanish colonial style, surrounded by impressive cactus gardens and lush landscaping. Another campus is located 160 kilometres to the east at El Centro, a migrant feeder town on the California-Mexico border whose population is predominantly Spanish-speaking. SDSU offers undergraduate programs at both campuses in arts and letters (humanities), business administration, education, engineering, health and human services, professional studies and fine arts (this faculty includes journalism, tourism, TV/media production, communication, art, design and art history) and the sciences.

In-country study students and students on exchange study at the main campus. ICS students undertake subjects in Spanish language and culture, and Latino, Mexican American/Chicano and Border Studies.

In-country study students (Latino USA major) and general exchange students must have a credit average or grade point average of 2.5 or above to apply. This program is not open to MBA students. Note that there are different requirements for in-country study and exchange students in terms of their study programs at SDSU.

Sacramento, California

Located in the northern part of California's Central Valley, Sacramento is the capital of California. With a population of some 500,000, and a Mediterranean-style climate, Sacramento is an easily managed city compared to larger cities such as Los Angeles. Sacramento is also demographically diverse: Asian Americans 18 per cent, African Americans 14 per cent, White Americans 45 per cent. The largely Mexican-origin Latino population comprises 30 per cent of the city's total population.

California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), was founded in 1947, and has more than 30,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. The campus is compact and located next to Route 50. The university offers undergraduate courses in 150 distinct areas, most of which align neatly with UTS offerings. CSUS offers undergraduate programs in arts and letters (humanities), business administration, engineering and computer science, health and human services, natural sciences and mathematics, social sciences and interdisciplinary studies, and continuing education.

ICS students undertake subjects in Spanish language and culture, and Latino, Mexican American/Chicano and Border Studies.

Austin, Texas

Located in central Texas, Austin is the fastest growing city in the USA, with a population around 1 million. The city is famous for its lively and diverse music scene, while the presence of the University of Texas at Austin also ensures a large student population. The city is located roughly at the ecological edge of the vast desert zones of western Texas and northern Mexico and the more verdant zones of east and north Texas, in Texas's central Hill Country. The population is diverse, and the largely Mexican-origin population is around 35 per cent of the total.

The University of Texas at Austin (UTA) is the flagship institution in the renowned University of Texas system. Founded in 1883, UTA has some 50,000 students, both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and 24,000 academic and professional staff. UTA's 18 colleges and schools teach and research in a range of disciplines, including: engineering, medicine, education, fine arts, liberal arts, natural sciences, pharmacy, business, law, architecture, nursing and communication.

ICS students undertake subjects in Spanish language and culture, and Latino, Mexican American/Chicano and Border Studies.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, with a population of over 560,000, and a greater metropolitan area population of about one million. Made famous internationally by the Breaking Bad television series, the city is located in north central New Mexico. It is cut by the Rio Grande, which meanders south from the city to the New Mexico/Texas border near El Paso, to then form the national boundary between Texas and Mexico. Albuquerque is one of the highest US cities in terms of altitude. The city is clearly marked by local Native American cultures and a long Spanish colonial history. The largely Mexican-origin population is just under 50 percent. Significant Native American first nations in the region include the Pueblo, Apache and Navajo peoples.

The picturesque University of New Mexico (UNM) is a major employer in the city, and has a student population of around 27,000. UNM was founded in 1889 and remains the flagship university of the state. The university's colleges and schools include such disciplines as: management, arts and sciences, education, fine arts, nursing, pharmacy, engineering and law.

ICS students undertake subjects in Spanish language and culture, and Latino, Mexican American/Chicano and Border Studies.

Completion requirements

977620  In-country Study and Fieldwork Project 1: Latino USA  24cp
978620  In-country Study and Fieldwork Project 2: Latino USA  24cp
CBK90484  Spanish Language and Culture  32cp
Total  96cp