Ecuador: Culture and Development
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"While studying abroad with SIT you are constantly being stimulated, constantly learning, and constantly being challenged. It redefines education and provides you with the tools to redefine the world, and your role in it."
—Lucy Wallace, Connecticut College
Intensive Spanish language instruction
During the first month of the program, students live in small towns outside of Quito, in the valley of Los Chillos, while focusing on their language acquisition.
For the first two weeks, students receive five hours of daily language instruction that emphasizes oral competency, in small groups. Advanced Spanish speakers may have the option of independent study (depending on personal objectives).
During the next two weeks, students continue their language learning by examining contemporary society and the arts in Ecuador. Special emphasis throughout the month is placed on cultural adaption, through interactive activities both inside and outside the classroom.
New Module on Indigenous Nationalities and Afro-Ecuadorian Peoples
The program’s core seminar now features a unit on indigenous issues providing students in-depth knowledge on topics such as interethnic relations in Ecuador; the colonial legacy and dominant Spanish-speaking national sector; indigenous political mobilization; and regionalism.
During this module, students learn about the Kichwa, Shuar, and other Amazonian nationalities, as well as about coastal communities who are reclaiming their indigenous heritage. Students also examine efforts by Afro-Ecuadorians to be included in mainstream Ecuadorian society. Lectures will explore the environmental and social impacts of extractive industries on indigenous communities, among other topical issues.
Live in Quito
After Los Chillos, students move to Quito, where they spend three weeks living in Ecuador's vibrant capital. Quito is a bustling city shaped by international, colonial, and indigenous influences. During this time, students receive lectures in Spanish on a variety of topics as part of the program's thematic seminar and continue with the Field Study Seminar. Students enjoy exploring Quito's many cultural offerings, together with members of their host family, including the city's colonial section, numerous museums, historic churches, concerts, and art openings.
Explore multiple regions of the country
Students gain extensive exposure to Ecuador's cultural and ecological diversity through its carefully timed excursions. Students visit various parts of the country while meeting with community leaders, activists, and practitioners. Learn more about the program’s excursions.
Independent Study Project
Students spend the last month of the program working on an Independent Study Project (ISP) in which they conduct a focused investigation on a selected topic of interest. The ISP can be conducted in many different areas of the country either urban or rural - including, the coast, the mountains, or the eastern lowlands. Students frequently live with a host family during this period.
Sample ISP topics include:
- Export trade and Ecuador's changing economic system
- Conservation efforts led by grassroots organizations
- Rural development
- Indigenous crafts and agriculture
- Role of women in the economy and society
- Public health and social services
- Culture, identity, ethnicity, gender, and intercultural society
- Alternative lifestyles and sexuality
This individual research project allows students to directly apply the concepts and skills acquired during their experience-based Field Study Seminar and their interdisciplinary coursework, while exploring a topic of particular significance to them. Students in the past have successfully conducted ISPs that have brought a positive contribution to the communities in which they worked. This type of reciprocity is a vital aspect of SIT programs.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Quito
Language Study: Kichwa, Spanish
Prerequisites: 3 semesters college-level Spanish or the equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT. Read more...
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