Exploring Ecuador: People, Land, and Water from the Amazon to the Galapagos

Exploring Ecuador: People, Land, and Water from the Amazon to the Galapagos — About

About Exploring Ecuador: People, Land, and Water from the Amazon to the Galapagos

Program Overview

From its people to its terrain, Ecuador is one of the most diverse places in the world! Ecosystems range from arid highlands to lush, tropical rainforests, and Ecuadorian people have roots from all over the world. This multidisciplinary course is based in Quito, the capital of Ecuador and a World Heritage site. This course explores both Indigenous Environmental Knowledge as well as Water Resource Management. The course will examine the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, interactions of government, scientists and engineers, private interests, and the Indigenous peoples of Ecuador. Through visits to Indigenous communities, farms, watersheds, forests, and the Amazon basin you will explore the ways that Quichua culture and scientists/engineers approach and make sense of water issues. Students will develop a deeper understanding of these topics and evaluate similarities between resource management in both Ecuador and Minnesota.

Program Dates

December 26, 2017 – January 15, 2018. 

Application Deadline

October 1, 2017

* Late applications accepted on a case-by-case basis. Contact Jill Reister if you plan to apply past the deadline. 

Course Description

CFANS 3507: 
This program fulfills the Experiential Learning Requirement and the Liberal Education theme of Environment..

The multidisciplinary course introduces you to issues pertaining to the social and natural sciences. Course content will focus on the following:

• Indigenous Environmental Knowledge: focuses on indigenous environmental knowledge, Quichua culture and society, uses of land, and exploration of environmental issues.

• Water Resource Management: focuses on watershed management issues, soil erosion issues, and impacts of climate change and deforestation. (3 credits)

Program Leaders

Mark Bellcourt works in the CFANS Office of Diversity and Inclusion and is an academic adviser in the College of Education and Human Development. His interests include indigenous cultures, environmental issues, and land use.


Excursions include visits to Pambilino Forest Reserve, Otavalo, Quichua home stay in San Clemente, Papallacta, the Amazon basin and the Galapagos Islands. Optional visits to Mitad del Mundo (Center of the World or Equator), and Cotopaxi volcano. Experience the people, cultural ceremonies, and the environment first hand.

Housing & Meals

Students will stay at hotels and also will enjoy a brief host family stay. Most meals are included within the program. Students should plan for 12 meals on their own.

Program Fee

The program fee will be $6,995 and includes instruction and three credits, airfare and all in-country transportation, program administration, health insurance, lodging, excursions, and most meals.

Cost of Participation

More Information

Contact CFANS Office of International Programs, ipglobal@umn.edu

Program Handbook