South America Program Course Descriptions
1) ANTH 297: The Ecuadorian Amazon (3 credits)
In this intensive two-week introduction to the Ecuadorian Amazon, students learn first-hand about the culture of its native Quichua people and their struggle to preserve traditional ways of life in a modern world. They also learn about the complex ecology of the region and current threats to its biodiversity. The first week is spent in a Quichua village on the edge of the rainforest in Ecuador, living with host families, helping with daily work and chores, and running educational activities for the village children. The second week is spent volunteering and living at the nearby Arajuno Jungle Lodge, a rainforest reserve dedicated to preserving rainforest biodiversity and improving the health and well-being of the Quichua.
2) HIST 297: Andean History (3 credits)
The course examines the history of Andean South America from initial settlement to the present. Throughout this broad historic scope, the theme of syncretism (cultural blending) is emphasized. The pre-hispanic and colonial eras are examined in the first 7 chapters of the course textbook, and are experienced through visits to several archaeological sites, including Tiwanaku and Machu Picchu, a variety of Spanish colonial buildings, as well as important museum collections. An account of the region from post-1825 independence to present is treated in chapters 8-20 of the textbook. Students also gain first-hand knowledge of recent history and contemporary Andean culture by living with local families in villages and cities, visiting ethnographic museums, witnessing and participating in traditional customs and cultural performances, and exploring cities, towns, villages, and markets throughout the region.
3) OUTD 189: Principles of Outdoor Recreation (3 credits)
Students undertake several outdoor pursuits, including a 4-day trek in the Peruvian Andes to Machu Picchu, and a 4-day jeep safari into the rugged salt plains and high plains of Bolivia. They receive instruction in water-based skills and safety, including white-water rafting in Ecuador and snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands. The course explores characteristics of wilderness and back‐country environments in terms of potential hazards and human capability for adverse impact on resource lands. The course is designed to create an outdoor education foundation and to enhance the knowledge of and appreciation for the natural environment so that safe, responsible and enjoyable outdoor adventures are possible.