Sociology in Colima
In collaboration with the Office of International Relations and the Facultad de Turismo at the Universidad de Colima, Mexico, Kevin has organized and led four successful trips to Colima (2007, 2008, 2010, 2012). Approximately 18 undergraduate students attend each program. Colima is located south of Puerto Vallarta and inland of Manzanillo -- the self-proclaimed ‘Sailfish Capital of the World’ on Mexico’s beautiful Pacific Coast.
During their month-long visit, co-organized by Group Study Programs at the University of Calgary, Sociology students take three courses that coalesce around an original research project. Simply stated, they learn about their theoretical approach in a ‘Special Topics’ class, their methodological approach in a class on participant observation, and conduct an original piece of research on a selected aspect of Mexican society (ranging from family relations, to behaviour in gyms and restaurants, to studies of policing and traffic, etc.). The program, which is a mixture of in-class lectures and out-of-town field trips, culminates with our students briefly (and often nervously) presenting their ‘findings’ to their Mexican peers.
The Colima program not only gels with the University of Calgary’s increasing emphasis on ‘internationalization’; it also provides students with the opportunity to conduct a small but original piece of research in another culture at the same time as learning about that culture and, of course, about themselves.