Culture & Sustainability in Ecuador
- Learn about the diversity and complexity of Latin American cultures
- Explore the practice of sustainability in an international context
- Take part in a service learning experience in Ecuador, grounded in participatory research
- Interpret social, political and economic issues now and in future Latin America
- Acquire Spanish language skills and put them into practice the 6 weeks you’re there!
Cities: Cuenca & Saraguro
2019 Estimated Program Fee: $5,092
Estimated Total Cost: $6,837
This country’s winning combination of the Andean mountains
and highland environments, indigenous culture, colonial towns
and exceptional wildlife
—will certainly make earning 6 credits for an ANTH class one of the more memorable courses of your college career! During this program, you’ll put anthropology concepts in motion by fully engaging in experiential learning opportunities
. Observe and engage while exploring various cultural and sustainability sites
within Ecuador, all while acquiring and putting Spanish language skills into practice (all language levels welcome.)You’ll spend the first 3 weeks based in the UNESCO World Heritage city: Cuenca, Ecuador
in intensive language instruction. Mornings will consist of small group Spanish language classes according to your proficiency (all language levels welcome). In the afternoons you’ll cover cultural materials (in English.) Additionally, you’ll take part in field trips to national parks
, churches, artisan communities
, an Incan ruin
, local restaurants and the like.
The last 3 weeks will be in Saraguro,
an indigenous community located 2 hours south of Cuenca. You’ll get to stay with a host family
and participate in daily life. Here you’ll conduct participatory ethnographic fieldwork
and service learning activities with indigenous Saraguro people. One of your main projects includes collaborating with young people in the community to help them create a piece of media (video or digital story) that shares their reflection on what their lives are like.
Students who already have advanced Spanish language skills will be able to set up an internship
that relates to their majors. Language proficiency will be demonstrated by completing the placement test. Faculty will work with advanced language students to set up appropriate internship placements.
As part of this course, students have the opportunity to create digital stories and short films about their experiences and topics of interest. Click here to see examples of student work from summer of 2017.
Check out this story map with more information!
- Minimum GPA: 2.5
- Sophomore, junior, or senior status
- Instructor consent
Earn 6 credits for ANTH XXXX (exact course number TBD) which is approved for:
- Elective for ANTH major/minor
- Elective SOC major
- Required Study Abroad category for Latin American Studies major
This course fulfills the Global Perspective Liberal Education requirement
Course Components Include:
- Fieldwork in theory & practice
- Participatory research as a method
- Sustainability as a concept in international development
- Globalization’s impact on people’s lives
- Agriculture, land and social relations
- Cross-cultural immersion in language, history, and identity
- Service learning as community-engaged scholarship
David Syring is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Ecuador and published With the Saraguros: The Blended Life in a Transnational World in 2015. He has created numerous participatory videos with his collaborators in Ecuador. His area of focus is cultural anthropology.
David Syring, Ph.D.
UMD College of Liberal Arts
Dept. of Anthropology, Sociology, & Criminology
Office: 220A Cina
Study Abroad Coordinator
Lyndsey Andersen is the Associate Director of Study Abroad and coordinates all short-term faculty-led programs.
Estimated Program Costs
May Session 2019
Estimated Program Fee: $5,092
Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses*: $1,745
Estimated Total Cost: $6,837
Final cost estimates posted closer to program departure. Costs vary each year.
*Estimated out-of-pocket costs are dependent on items such as current airfare costs and individual spending habits.
If you do not see a cost estimate for the semester/term you intend to go abroad, the cost has not yet been determined. Please note cost estimates and fees may change depending on international economic factors. UMD Study Abroad delays the posting of final fees until enrollments, inflation, and exchange rates are determined in order to provide students with the most accurate pricing. We strive to post final fees by October 1 for Spring programs, March 1 for May/Summer programs, and May 1 for Fall and Academic year programs.
What’s included in the program fee?
- Personalized advising
- Pre-departure orientation
- Housing (home-stay)
- Meals (3 meals a day during home-stay)
- Local transportation for sponsored field-trips
- Field trips & entry fees
- CISI international travel, health and security coverage
- Visa entry guidance (if applicable)
- Faculty leader support
- Re-entry support
View the full breakdown of costs (available upon Board of Regents approval). These estimated costs do not include the $50 application fee. Financial aid only applies to students who take at least 6 credits total during May and Summer session combined. Credits taken on study abroad programs cannot be used in tuition banding. Scholarships are available!
A passport valid for 6 months beyond the end of the program is required.
Know the following program information to provide on the online application:
Center Name: UMD Study Abroad
Education Abroad Term: May Session
Program Name: Short-term: Culture and Sustainability in Ecuador
Apply early as space is limited and the program will fill first-come, first-served. An essay and an unofficial transcript is required. A $50 non-refundable application fee will be billed to your One Stop account upon submission of an online application.
After you apply
- You'll get an email confirmation with a link to your application checklist
- Follow instructions to submit your application checklist items on time
- Your UMD study abroad program coordinator will review your app and monitor your checklist progress
- The program leader will confirm your acceptance
- Once accepted you must complete the confirmation checklist to confirm your participation
- Once we receive your confirmation, your account will be billed
If you decide you cannot participate, you must login to the online application system and submit a "Cancel Request."
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Program health and safety information is available at GO SAFE: