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Department of Economic History, Advanced
School of Economy and Business Administration,
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lecturing: Latin American Culture,
Economics and History
Host: Coastal Georgia Community College,
August 2002-May 2003
World Outlook Blooms in a Small Town Moving
from Buenos Aires, Argentina-a bustling city
of three million-to a small, quiet town on
the coast of Georgia in the United States
was a dramatic change for Alejandro Gomez.
Nevertheless, living in Georgia was an experience
he now treasures.
A Ph.D. candidate at the Universidad Torcuato
Di Tella in Buenos Aires, Gomez spent his
time as a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence
at Coastal Georgia Community College (CGCC).
Two-year schools do not exist in Argentina,
so CGCC intrigued him. Also, he wanted to
experience life in a small town. During
his grant, Gomez conducted research on José
Cecilio del Valle, father of Guatemalan
independence. He also taught world civilization
at CGCC and Latin American studies for Armstrong
Atlantic State University, which offers
classes on the CGCC campus.
"My objective was to share my teaching
and academic experience with the community,"
he says. "And I also wanted to enrich
my under-standing of the United States and
its universities, through interaction with
American faculty and students."
Gomez's seriousness about world events
surprised some students, who were not used
to the candid concern other countries have
for the United States. Gomez established
that he was there to teach the students
about the perceptions of the United States
held by countries throughout the world.
Gomez provided both personal and professional
insight into Argentina's economic crises
in many of his lectures. In fact, students
appreciated his honesty and often told him
that his presence and perceptions were very
important in helping them see a more balanced
view of the world and their own country.
While he was serious about his teaching,
Gomez often made his students laugh, although
he says it was more difficult to be funny
In addition to teaching at the university,
Gomez lectured locally at various organizations,
such as Rotary International, and traveled
throughout Georgia giving lectures at other
institutions within the state university
system. Traveling enabled Gomez to see firsthand
academics and teaching in the United States,
he says, as well as administrative procedures
and economic accountability. In comparing
U.S. and Argentine university systems, he
was particularly impressed with the American
schools' honesty in accountability of the
international program budget. "That
is something that you might never see in
Argentina," he says.
The impact that Alejandro Gomez had on
Coastal Georgia Community College is well
established and continues to promote mutual
understanding between North and South American
education. Bridging the cultural gap and
eliminating stereotypes were important aspects
of Gomez's visit. In doing so, he says,
one of the most important contributions
he made was in his interaction with the
community on a day-to-day basis. "Everyone
got to know me quite well," he says.
"That's the best way to promote friendship
An advocate of international exchange, Gomez
was a regular member and presenter at CGCC's
International Association, which promotes
worldwide awareness. "To travel abroad
is to have the opportunity to acquire a different
perspective on everything," he says.
"It gives you the chance to open your
mind and to come in contact with other realities,
much more than any book."