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The Centro re-entry experience, based in Chicago, Illinois
For students who participate in Mexico and Cuba study abroad programs

Mexico and Cuba study abroad programs now include an innovative re-entry program based in the Centro Autónomo of Albany Park, Chicago. The re-entry program: (1) provides a comprehensive reintegration experience to help students transition back into US culture and (2) offers students the chance to study the theory and practice of community organizing in the US context, applying lessons leaned in Mexico or Cuba.

Many students find return to the US challenging after spending the semester abroad. After living alternative realities in Mexico or Cuba, the combination of rampant consumerism, apathy, and top-down politics-as-usual in the US is hard to confront. Students want to find relevant examples of alternatives in their own communities. The re-entry program helps students apply the lessons from Mexico or Cuba in the US context.

Past students commented that they couldn’t imagine ending their study abroad experience in any other way. Students live with immigrant families from our Albany Park neighborhood, participate in our master’s classes on community organizing, immerse themselves in the daily activities at the Centro Autónomo, and have workshops with organizers from various organizations and movements in Chicago. As part of the week-long re-entry program, students have an opportunity to:

• meet with strong community leaders to discuss organizing dynamics in a Latino barrio
• meet with facilitators from the Centro’s ESL, computer literacy, and adult high school classes
• listen to testimonies from local jornaleros (construction day laborers)
• co-facilitate ESL classes and help with youth programming
• attend the monthly asamblea where community members decide on the direction of the Centro
• participate in the master’s classes of the Autonomous University of Social Movements (AUSM), a 2-year master’s program in partnership with the Benamerita Autonomus University of Puebla in Puebla, Mexico.  The on-line master’s program will accept new students for the Fall 2020 generation.
• meet with local organizations working on immigrant rights, workers’ rights, accessible health care and housing.

More than 3/4 of our students opt to do the week-long re-entry program. It is a great way to bridge the amazing experiences you’ll have in Mexico or Cuba with the reality you’ll return to in the US. We’ll be talking about the Centro re-entry program experience throughout the semester.

Program cost: $800 (see Costs and Financing page for breakdown)
Please contact us with questions: studyabroad@ausm.community

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