Ecuador provides an ideal setting for exploring issues related to sustainable development. The course will examine the tensions, challenges, and possibilities for reconciling development and conservation in the dry tropical forest zone, a critically important and globally imperiled ecosystem. Course activities are held in Quito and in Bahía de Caráquez. During the first week of the program, students will stay in Quito to take an intensive Spanish course and visit organizations dealing with sustainable development practices. The following three weeks of activities will be developed in Bahia de Caráquez. In Bahia, students will work closely with staff from Planet Drum Foundation, a San Francisco-based NGO with a long-term presence in the region. At Planet Drum students will engage in service learning through field excursions, discussions with locals, and participation in native forest revegetation projects. Bahia de Caráquez has attempted to rethink its development trajectory after a series of environmental disasters exposed the human toll of unsustainable development practices. You will witness first-hand how the efforts led by Planet Drum and other organizations have made the city more resilient.
Oviedo sits at the foot of the Aramo mountains, just 23 miles from Spain’s northern “green” coast. Historically, the city dates to the tenth century it was the capital of the Asturian Kingdom and an important stopover point on the Camino de Santiago. Today, Oviedo has an urban design which promotes equity and inclusion in historic sites, public squares, car-free livable streets and a culture public gathering places, sidewalk cafes, markets and bars. It has a reputation for being one of the safest and cleanest cities Spain, offering great quality of life for our students. The hospitality and warmth of the Asturian people coupled with the absence of mass tourism and low presence of English speaking visitors in the region are the keys to Oviedo’s strength as a student learning environment for cultural and linguistic immersion. During the summer months there are numerous festivities and special events held in Oviedo and nearby locations. Enroll in one or both of the four-week intensive Spanish language sessions offered in July and August. You may earn up to one year of Spanish language credit for enrolling in both sessions. Classes are offered at the beginning through advanced levels, and are taught in Spanish by experienced professors from the University of Oviedo. The focus is primarily on Spanish language development with attention to writing, listening and speaking. In addition, intermediate and advanced students can choose from several elective special topics during the last hour of class that focus on aspects of Spanish society, culture and civilization.