With the assistance of the University of Michigan Career Center, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) has developed this career guide. The guide is designed to help undergraduates considering a concentration in Latin American and Caribbean studies to envision the skills and abilities they will develop, how they might apply them, and the career fields where these facilities are most sought.

A pdf of  this career guide is also available to print or save.

 

From Study to Skills

LACS is a U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center promoting the study and research of Latin American history and culture, including less commonly taught and indiginous languages such as Quechua, the language of the Incas, which is still spoken by millions of people in Bolivia, Peru, and Columbia.

All academic programs offered at Michigan help students develop valuable transferable skills. The concentration offered by LACS is designed to provide a broad-based, multidisciplinary approach to the study of this important region. In our increasingly global world, as a student of Latin America and the Caribbean, you will learn to engage with multiple worlds, gain proficiency in at least one foreign language, obtain a broad-based liberal arts education, and develop excellent critical thinking and communication skills.

Related Fields Include: romance languages and literatures, history, anthropology, political science, American culture, Latino/Latina studies, afroamerican studies, history of art, economics, sociology, public policy, museum studies, and linguistics.

Skills and AbilitiesWhat skills and abilities will a LACS concentration help me develop?

Research/Project Development Skills
  • Gathering  information
  • Working with original sources
  • Identifying areas for research
  • Planning long-term projects
  • Establishing hypotheses
  • Applying methodologies from many disciplines
Analytical Skills
  • Weighing values
  • Reading critically
  • Assessing evidence
  • Comparing different translations
  • Perceiving patterns
  • Synthesizing information
  • Identifying and questioning assumptions
Interpersonal/Cross-cultural Skills
  • Sensitivity to problems of ethnicity and nationalism
  • Understanding/working with people from different cultures
  • Acknowledging value systems
  • Understanding historical origins of present societies
  • Applying interdisciplinary knowledge to a region
  • Interpreting cultural norms
Communication Skills
  • Reading and writing in another language
  • Translating and interpreting
  • Writing clearly
  • Explaining complex ideas
  • Presenting to groups

Building Your Skills outside the Classroom

Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic. Student organizations and campus employment offer valuable opportunities to add to the skills you are developing in your classes. LACS students are active in student organizations, from advocacy to social groups. Honors thesis research and field research with faculty members provide further learning opportunities. Other options include off-campus employment, volunteering in the community, or studying or working abroad, which is particularly helpful in building language proficiency and cross-cultural skills. Finally, a summer internship may be the best way of all to test out a career field and develop marketable skills.

From Skills to Career

LACS concentrators develop both  general and technical skills applicable to a wide  range of careers in government, non-profits, education, and business. For example, cross-cultural communication skills may be equally useful whether working as a social worker, a corporate recruiter, or a freelance journalist. Many concentrators go on to graduate or professional school. The list below is a sample of careers undertaken by LACS graduates.

Research/Project Development Skills
  • Population policy researcher*
  • Professional association director
  • Archivist, ethnic organization archives
  • Manuscript curator*
  • Museum curator*
  • Folklorist
Analytical Skills
  • Physician*
  • Epidemiologist*
  • Immigration lawyer*
  • National security agency analyst
  • Foreign policy analyst*
  • Investment analyst
  • Political risk consultant*
  • International banker
  • Development officer
  • College professor*
Interpersonal/Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Social worker*
  • Anthropologist*
  • Foreign service officer*
  • Court interpreter
  • Relocation coordinator
  • Corporate trainer
  • Relief agency volunteer coordinator
  • Foundation international programs officer
  • Diversity trainer
  • Study abroad director
  • Peace Corps /VISTA worker
Communication Skills
  • K-12 teacher
  • Language school manager
  • Legislator
  • Publishing house acquisitions editor
  • Journalist
  • Foreign correspondent (all media)
  • Newsletter writer

*further study also required

 

Concentration Requirements

The LACS concentration requires 30 credit hours above the 200 level with a great deal of flexible choice. At least one course must come from each of the following areas: Anthropology, History, Literature, and Political Science. Many students elect to do a double concentration with one of these areas.

Intermediary knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese is required. Further language study, as well as study abroad in a relevant country, is highly encouraged, but not mandatory.

An Honors Concentration and a five-course minor are also available. Refer to the LSA Bulletin or the Center website for further information on prerequisites and requirements.

Additional Resources

To begin exploring opportunities for overseas study and work, check out CGIS and the U-M Global Portal. To identify internships or job opportunities, visit the Career Center Connector. And to begin connecting to professionals in fields that interest you, create your own Linked In account.

Maize Pages list hundreds of organizations for students to get involved in.

The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building
734-764-7460