Starting in fall 2012, Goshen College students who choose not to take an international Study Service Term or a study-abroad equivalent will be required to do the domestic SST: Latino Studies program instead.

Incoming students and current first-years will no longer have the option of taking SST alternate courses on campus.

Unlike previous domestic SST units, the revised program will now last an entire school year as of fall 2012. Before, students in the program had to cram all 13 credits into a single semester, but now they will take seven credits in the fall and six in the spring. The revision was designed to help people with tight schedules meet other class requirements on campus while simultaneously meeting their SST requirement. Eight students have already signed up for next year’s unit.

GC faculty voted last year to eliminate the option of SST alternate courses so that students’ international studies could be focused on a single culture.

Like other SST units, the Latino Studies program offers students a chance to study a particular culture in depth by learning about its language, history and arts.

The change will ensure that “students who aren’t able to go abroad will still be able to experience another culture firsthand,” said Ana Lopez, director of the domestic SST program.

Students who sign up for domestic SST will be assigned to a Latino host family, with whom they will spend two hours a week practicing their language skills and learning about Latino culture.

The goal of the program is to build mutually beneficial relationships between the students and their host families.

Field trips in the Latino Studies program will include a visit to the Mexican-American Art Museum in Chicago and a neighborhood mural project. Students will also visit the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) in Toledo, Ohio, to learn more about advocating for issues related to migrant workers.

A domestic SST unit will be offered over the summer as a single-semester program, and then in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013 as a year-long program.