MSID—International Development in Ecuador

MSID—International Development in Ecuador — Research


As an MSID student, you have the choice to do either a research project or an internship for six weeks as part of the Community Engagement course. In either option, you will be placed with a local NGO related to the track you have chosen for the International Development course (Arts & Cultural Studies, Education & Literacy, Entrepreneurship & Alternative Economies, Public Health, Sustainability & the Environment, or Social Service). All academic year students engage in a research project during spring semester.

A research project involves a systematic investigation of a specific topic, question, hypothesis, or theory. Research is conducted under the guidance of a project supervisor at the MSID program and at a local NGO. The project culminates in a final paper or project that demonstrates the knowledge gained through the investigation.

The examples below illustrate the differences between the internship and research options:


TrackInternship exampleResearch example

Arts & Cultural Studies

Work with a cultural preservation organization with a youth indigenous dance troupe

Examine the cultural and historical significance of a specific type of indigenous dance

Education & Literacy

Assist in teaching English to primary and secondary students at rural schools

Investigate effective methods of teaching English as a second language and examine curricular practices at the local and national level

Entrepreneurship & Alternative Economies

Meet with micro loan applicants and review loan application materials

Analyze the loan repayment rate at a microfinance organization  

Public Health

Provide support to faculty in a pediatrics department of a hospital that works with children who suffer from malnutrition

Survey the hospital’s education and outreach plan to address pediatric malnutrition in the region

Sustainability & the Environment

Participate in an agroforestry project at a sustainability-focused NGO

Compare and contrast local and national research on the environmental impact of agroforestry programs

Social Services

Provide support to an NGO that does job skill training for low income women

Analyze the wage gap between men and women in various sectors of the local economy


Research Project Examples

  • Analyze the economic and social activities of surrounding communities to increase sustainable development that aligns with Ecuador's social economy
  • Investigate the initiatives and strategies that can help achieve higher levels of food sovereignty
  • Monitor the daily feeding of children at a local after-school program and identify the factors that contribue to malnutrition
  • Study the cultural impact of oil exploitation on indigenous communities of the Amazon
  • Learn how an organization of Kichwa women use medicinal plants in the practice of ancestral medicine
  • Explore how the diversification of exports impacts Ecuador's national economy as well as its role in the global economy
  • Investigate the impact of promoting ancestral language retention and indigenous culture education at schools with indigenous popoulations 
  • Determine the principal barriers that prevent women from attaining higher levels of participation and influence in the public sphere

Human Subjects Research

The governments of the United States and MSID countries have laws protecting human subjects of research. Due to the timeline for gaining the necessary permissions for doing research with human subjects, such research cannot be conducted while abroad on LAC program. However, there are still a wide variety of projects, that include interaction with people, that are available. See more information on options for Undergraduate Research Abroad.

Research Funding (for UofM students)

The Learning Abroad Center offers a number of programs (including all MSID programs) that include research opportunities and are eligible for the Learning Abroad Center’s International UROP scholarship of $2,500 (available to UofM students only). Learn more about IUROP funding.

Program Handbook Program Orientation Visa Information

I-UROP Scholarship

University of Minnesota students participating in a research project on this program may be eligible for the International Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (I-UROP) Scholarship