Home Border Studies Policies and procedures

Policies and procedures

Want to learn more about Border Studies? Visit the Border Studies blog to read posts from students and learn more about the program, or view our list of suggested readings to learn more about current events in the region.

The Border Studies Program is designed to assist students in acquiring more complex and sophisticated analyses of issues related to migration, identity (including students’ own positionalities), and social justice. Participants on this program have the unique opportunity to make connections between communities through direct living, working and traveling that accompany academic study. Throughout these experiences, students are challenged to reflect upon their roles and to critically think about the ways in which they choose to participate in movement building and community work.

The program is centered in rigorous academic work including classroom study, meaningful community engagement, and personal experience. Each student lives with a host family throughout their stay on the border. Students participate in two core seminars that explore the salient topics of settler colonialisn, decoloniality, critical race theory, queer theory, transnational feminisms, women of color and indigenous feminisms, neoliberalism, mass incarceration, environmental justice, food sovereignty, social movements and abolition. The program also includes a travel component, which may take students to central and southern Mexico, El Paso, and throughout the Arizona / Sonora borderlands where students learn from community members and organizations as well as engage in service to support grassroots efforts occurring at different sites. Furthermore, all students are immersed in an extended field study placement (internship) with different community organizations and schools in the Tucson area. Lastly, through the Spanish class and associated community engagements, as well as home life, students continue to strengthen their Spanish.  

The Border Studies Program offers students opportunities to explore alternatives to the policies that have influenced current patterns of migration and border enforcement, to speak with communities of people on both sides of the border resisting contemporary militarization and development schemes that put their lives at risk, and to dialogue about what meaningful solidarity can look like.

Policies and procedures

The Border Studies Program is managed by Earlham College and is housed under Earlham’s Center for Global Education (CGE). The Border Studies Program has full-time on-site faculty, including a Resident Director. The on-site faculty and CGE share responsibility for implementing the policies and procedures of the Border Studies Program

The Border Studies Program is open to students from all academic backgrounds and majors in good standing at any college or university. All participants must be full-time undergraduate students.

One year of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) are required prior to the beginning of the spring semester program.  If you are unsure about your abilities or do not have any Spanish language ability but the program interests you, please contact the Border Studies Program Office at [email protected]

Each student’s college or university may have different eligibility requirements for off-campus study. Every applicant must ensure that they meet the specific criteria set by their college as well as those established by the Border Studies Program. Please make an appointment with your off-campus study advisor as well as your academic advisor to make sure you are eligible at your home campus.

Criteria for selection include but may not be limited to, the following:

  • Carefully prepared application materials.
  • Appropriateness of the Program for the student.
  • Personal qualities of the student and ability to benefit from and contribute to the Program in its specific cultural contexts.
  • Special competencies and requirements (such as language skills or pre-requisites for courses).
  • Demonstrated emotional stability and maturity, indicating the ability to lead a stable, responsible and healthy lifestyle. (see home campus policies for eligibility and procedures)
  • Academic Status. (See home campus policies for eligibility and procedures). Students must be in good academic status at their college.
  • Program Limitations and Priority Factors. If there are more students than there are spaces in the Program, priority will be given based on factors such as quality of overall application including the above-mentioned criteria, as well as seniority, ability to participate at a later date, previous experience in an off-campus Program, and academic major or minor.
  • Presentation in interview with program faculty.
  • Late Applications. Students who submit applications after the published deadline should include a written explanation of why their application is late.

A selection committee composed of the program faculty reviews the application materials. In addition to the application materials, an interview is also an important component of the selection process. The interview may be in person, via telephone, or via skype, depending on the situation.

After the selection of students has been made, the Earlham College International Programs Office will send a letter to all applicants informing them of the results. In some cases, students may be placed on a waitlist. If there is a withdrawal from the Program, waitlisted applicants may be reconsidered.

The Earlham College Center for Global Education informs students of the results of the selection process in a formal letter sent to the student’s campus mailbox. Faculty may inform students after the formal letter from CGE has been sent. Students are informed of the Conditions of Acceptance in the acceptance letter. Participation in the Program is contingent upon:

  • Continued good standing with the home College
  • Satisfactory academic work prior to the Program
  • Willingness to be a cooperative and responsible group member throughout the experience
  • Full participation in Program activities
  • Completion and submission of all required documentation, which includes a conditions and release document, medical forms and proof of insurance, passport and required documentation, and visa materials if applicable. If the student is under 21 years of age, the conditions and release form must be signed by a parent or guardian.

Failure to meet all of the above the conditions may result in a student being disenrolled from a Program.

The cost of the Border Studies Program will be announced in March of each year. Students are responsible for travel costs to and from the Program site, for costs of independent travel, for books and materials, for passport, visa and health costs, and for personal expenses.

Students or their home campuses will be billed by Earlham College. Students will inform the Earlham College Center for Global Education whether to bill them directly or to bill their home college.

Participation in the Program is voluntary, but students agree to participate in the Program and cooperate with the program faculty and the group in all aspects of the Program.

Students who withdraw from the Program should notify the Center for Global Education at Earlham College immediately by phone or e-mail, followed by a signed statement of withdrawal. Students who withdraw from the Program, or who do not meet acceptance policies and cannot participate, will be required to compensate the College for expenses already committed on their behalf.

All students on the Border Studies Program are required to have medical insurance that covers them when they are outside of the United States. In addition to personal health insurance coverage, Earlham provides students, faculty, and staff on the Border Studies Program with travel insurance through Travel Guard by AIG Insurance. Earlham also provides all students on our Programs with the International Student ID card sponsored by STA Travel, which provides supplemental travel insurance coverage when traveling outside the country.

Program Faculty, in consultation with the International Programs Office at Earlham, has the authority to establish expectations necessary for the operation of the Program. Should the Program Faculty or Director of the Center for Global Education decide that a student must be terminated from the Program, that decision will be final.

Expectations include:
Satisfactory academic work, ability to meet the financial obligations of the Program, willingness to be a responsible and cooperative group member, conformity to Program rules and expectations, upholding laws and regulations of the area, good health that promotes effective participation, disclosure of material information requested by the Program, and appropriate conduct in the host community, host country, or host family. Conduct that is potentially dangerous to the student or to others, such as the use or possession of illegal drugs or excessive alcohol consumption, may result in termination from the Program. Serious physical or mental health issues that hinder the student’s ability to participate successfully may also result in termination from the Program. Students who are dismissed from a Program or who leave a Program early will receive no credit for the semester.

The Center for Global Education and the Program Faculty will work together to coordinate a student’s return trip and to coordinate information on the student’s home campus.

Participation in an off-campus semester Program involves risks not found in study at the College.

These may include, but are not limited to: risk involved in traveling to and within and returning from the Program site; political, legal, social and economic conditions; different standards of design, safety and maintenance of buildings, public places and conveyances; local medical and weather conditions. Students assume responsibility for their actions and well being at all times: prior to the Program, during the Program, during the independent periods, and following the Program. It is the responsibility of the student to consult with the United States Consulate and other appropriate agencies and authorities regarding the advisability of travel to other areas in the region if traveling overseas. Prior to international travel during the Program, students are asked to register with their national embassy in the country in which they will travel. Students must accept these risks and responsibilities.

Students are required to arrive at the Program site by the date specified. Students are expected to complete the Program and remain at the Program site until the specified departure date. Students who arrive prior to or depart after the scheduled Program dates are responsible for their own costs.

Students are required to be fulltime students throughout the Program and will be enrolled in all of the courses offered on the Border Studies Program. Independent studies, audits, the Credit/No Credit option and variable credit are not permitted.

Credit is awarded only as indicated on the course schedule.

Grades from the Border Studies Program will be included on the Earlham transcript sent to each student and home College. Students must complete the entire semester Program on-site in order to receive any academic credit.

Students are required to obey the conduct requirements of the Border Studies Program. Students are required to be in good physical, mental and emotional health to complete the Program.

Students who participate in Earlham off-campus programs are required to be up to date on all vaccines and inoculations listed as needed for their specific Program.  There will be no exceptions to this policy for philosophic or religious reasons.

Students are responsible for their expenses during the independent travel period. Students must inform Program Faculty of independent travel outside of Tucson.

Students who are responsible for breakage or damage in the living situations or in the classroom setting will be charged for the cost of repair or replacement. Students who lose host family or other keys pertaining to the Program will be charged for replacement and other associated costs.

Students are expected to complete all Program Evaluations before returning from the Program.

Earlham College reserves the right to terminate or alter the Border Studies Program at any time and for any reason, without prior notice. Every attempt will be made to keep students apprised of these changes as they arise.