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People, Politics, and Power in Puerto Rico

Faculty Leader

Vanesa Ribas


Vanesa Ribas is Associate Professor of Sociology. Born and raised in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, her teaching and research interests include race and ethnicity, migration, Latin American-Caribbean-Latinx Studies, politics, labor, social inequalities, and qualitative methods. In past work, Professor Ribas examined the incorporation of Latina/o migrant meatpacking workers in the U.S. South, demonstrating the conditioning role of the social organization of labor and the "prismatic" character of white supremacy. She is currently working on a book about Puerto Rican political subjectivities.




Why you should go

Many people don't realize that Puerto Rico remains a colony of the United States. While much of the world had decolonized by the 1960s, Puerto Rico's path would be different. This global seminar traces important aspects of Puerto Rico's history and present, and introduces students to a variety of social movements and community organizations working for change. The first course will be a historical and sociological overview of the main political, economic, and social conditions and events since Puerto Rico became a U.S. possession in 1898. The second will be an exploration of “decolonization” in contemporary Puerto Rico, centering the struggles of marginalized communities and alternative political, economic, and social visions of Puerto Rico’s future. The excursions and guest speakers will enrich students’ engagement with the course materials and provide them with meaningful real-world experiences.

Who should go

All majors are invited to apply. Students interested in social inequalities, social movements, Latin America and the Caribbean, colonialism, history, sociology, and politics would be especially suited for this Global Seminar. It is expected that both courses will fulfill the DEI requirement.

Information Sessions

See the Info Session Calendar


Departure from U.S.: Sat., June 29, 2024
Arrival: Sun., June 30, 2024
Mandatory Orientation: Mon., July 1, 2024
First Day of Class: Mon., July 1, 2024
Last Day of Class: Fri., August 2, 2024
Departure for the U.S.
(or personal travel):
Sat., August 3, 2024

Flight Information

  • You will be responsible for purchasing your own airplane tickets, and your program coordinator will provide guidelines and resources during the pre-departure process to help you find an appropriate flight.
  • Do not purchase plane tickets until the program is confirmed. All approved applicants will be notified by e-mail when the program has reached minimum enrollment.

Global Seminar Fees

All fees subject to change. See for current tuition and campus-based fees.

  UCSD Other UC Non-UC
Program Cost:
(includes $500 administrative fee)
$4,867.33 $4,867.33 $4,867.33
Estimated Tuition and Campus-Based Fees:
$2,514.43 $2,564.43 $3,454.43
(not including airfare or personal expenses)
$7,381.76 $7,431.76 $8,321.76

Budget Sheet

Funding Options

See the funding options page to learn how financial aid and scholarships can help you pay for this program.

Local Site Visits

 Excursions are subject to change without prior notice. No refunds are possible.


  • Private room with one bathroom shared between two rooms at Plaza Universitaria in front of the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras campus
  • Student housing close to restaurants and train station
  • Refrigerator and microwave in each room and kitchen on each floor
  • Air conditioning, WiFi, and laundry available in student housing
  • Housing arrangements are subject to change based on local circumstances without prior notice. No price adjustments are possible.

Included Meals

  • Welcome breakfast
  • Farewell dinner

Classroom and Computer Access

  • Classroom at the School of General Studies, University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras campus
  • WiFi in classroom
  • Computer lab access with student ID
  • Wireless access may be intermittent due to local conditions. No refunds or price adjustments are possible.


  • Airport pick up and drop off at SJU Airport for students who arrive in specified pick-up window
  • Group transportation for included excursions.

Insurance, Health, and Safety

  • The provider we coordinate with requires all participants to provide proof of vaccination prior to departure.
  • All students must register for UC travel insurance. This is free coverage, but registration is required prior to departure.
  • An in-depth orientation will be given on the morning after arrival, including health and safety procedures.
  • Program partner staff will be available by telephone after hours.