In winter 1992, his second term at Union, William García, professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies, traveled with students for a term abroad in Seville. It would be the first of 23 Union terms abroad and mini terms he has led to Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Spain during his 30 years at the College. He firmly believes in studying abroad as a transformative experience.
Garcia attributes his wanderlust to growing up on an island (Puerto Rico), and he is convinced that learning to immerse ourselves in a different culture, “letting go of our biases to appreciate and enjoy inhabiting that discomforting space of cultural negotiating and intercultural insight,” is one of the best paths toward lifelong adventure and self-discovery.
“What does commuting by bus or subway to get to campus in the middle of a 20-million plus metro area like São Paulo, Brazil, do to a student? Wonders. It’s a classroom without borders.”
Garcia will probably end up writing about his experiences abroad with students, from an impromptu basketball match with Mayan children in a mountain village in Chiapas, Mexico, to a student’s hilarious quest for a taxidermist to preserve a market chicken.
A native of Arecibo, Garcia completed his undergraduate work at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, and his graduate studies at Rutgers University. His research and teaching interests are Latin American theater and cinema.
FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING:
Instagram. I love looking at photographs; my favorites are urban landscapes, graffiti and architecture pics.
ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES:
That is a tough question for someone who teaches literature, but I will go with the one I have reread recently: “The Farming of Bones” by Edwidge Danticat.
BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED:
To nurture diverse passions unrelated to work
FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS:
Standing on any corner of Library Plaza (by Karp or Lippman halls) looking toward the Nott at dusk after heavy snow. Dreamy view.
Two cups of freshly brewed coffee, Puerto Rican or Jamaican. I do not feel like eating for several hours after getting up.
NETFLIX OR AMAZON:
Netflix, any Scandinavian noir or Korean horror/police thrillers
Lovecraft Country Radio (with Shannon Houston, one of the writers for that HBO series)
ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD:
Playing a musical instrument
ANOTHER SUBJECT YOU WISH YOU COULD TEACH:
Geology or art history
MOST CREATIVE EXCUSE YOU HEARD FOR A LATE ASSIGNMENT:
A while back, before the cloud, a student showed up with a laptop with a smashed screen and told me he needed an extension for the final paper because his roommate had dropped a bowling ball on his laptop. I gave him the extension, mostly because I thought it was the most creative and dramatic (and costly) excuse I had ever received.