UCL Institute of the Americas


Carlo Catapano

MA Latin American Studies, 2017-18


My experience at the Institute of the Americas has been fulfilling and productive, in all respects. I had the chance to engage with new topics and approaches to the study of the Americas, thanks to the wide range of subjects covered by the courses, and the diverse expertise and backgrounds of the academic staff.

Moreover, the seminars, workshops, and guest lectures organised by the Institute throughout the year have offered me the opportunity to meet great academics, and to have an insight into the most recent debates on Latin American politics, history, and economics. Above all, during my year at UCL, I felt part of a true community, where professors, staff, and students work and cooperate with each other in a friendly and constructive atmosphere. That is why this experience has been a fundamental step not only for my academic career but also for my personal growth. 

Currently I am a PhD candidate in International Studies at the University of Roma Tre (Italy) with a research project on the relations between South American states, on the one hand, and the United States and China, on the other. In particular, my project deals with the changes occurred in the foreign policy of South American countries – and in their relationship with the United States – since the establishment of closer ties with the People’s Republic of China. The topic of my PhD research – as well as the multidisciplinary approach I have adopted – are largely based on the final thesis completed at the Institute of the Americas. I will always be grateful to my supervisor Dr Par Engstrom, who helped me throughout the dissertation process and strongly supported my PhD application.

Overall, studying at UCL has been a stimulating academic and personal experience that I would recommend to anyone interested in the Americas.