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.
Over the last seven years, many students have commented that returning to the US can be 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.
• meet with strong community leaders to discuss organizing dynamics in a Latino community
• 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 Socical Movements (AUSM), a 2-year master’s program that is based in the Centro
• meet with local organizations doing direct action to fight unjust immigration laws (IYJL), recuperate workers’ stolen wages (ARISE), and fight against foreclosure and eviction (Communities United)
More than 3/4 of our students opt to do the 2-week 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.