South America Semester

Andes & Amazon

A 3-Month Gap Year Program

Enroll
Duration
83 Days
Description

Immerse yourself in the language and culture of the Andes and Amazon: trek along glaciated peaks, connect with local communities, and build Spanish proficiency in a range of dramatic settings.

Spring Dates

Feb 7 - May 1, 2018


Spring Availability

two spaces

Fall Dates

Sep 15 - Dec 6, 2018


Fall Availability

open

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

17-22

Spring Begins In

12 Weeks

Fall Begins In

43 Weeks

Land Cost

$14,555


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,095

Puno

Cusco

Sorata

Cordillera Apolobamba

La Paz

Cordillera Real

Cochabamba

Program Overview

The Central Andes is a region full of superlatives, existing at extremes.


From sparkling glaciers to lush tropical forests, this Gap Year program takes you through a dizzying tapestry of landscapes and cultures, exploring the links between land and people, past and present. The ancient Land of the Incas encompasses a fascinating blend of history and vibrant cultures, placed in a modern context of political change and social transformation. Through intensive Spanish language courses, trekking through a wide range of ecological backdrops, exposure to remote indigenous communities, and an extended home-stay, Andes & Amazon students connect deeply with the local culture while exploring a rich panorama of Andean and Amazonian realities. Dragons students will also examine current political trends, social movements, and environmental conservation efforts in the mountains and jungles of Bolivia and Peru.

The Andes & Amazon Gap Year program is based in the tranquil agricultural town of Tiquipaya, on the outskirts of Cochabamba in Central Bolivia. Here students…

From sparkling glaciers to lush tropical forests, this Gap Year program takes you through a dizzying tapestry of landscapes and cultures, exploring the links between land and people, past and present. The ancient Land of the Incas encompasses a fascinating blend of history and vibrant cultures, placed in a modern context of political change and social transformation. Through intensive Spanish language courses, trekking through a wide range of ecological backdrops, exposure to remote indigenous communities, and an extended home-stay, Andes & Amazon students connect deeply with the local culture while exploring a rich panorama of Andean and Amazonian realities. Dragons students will also examine current political trends, social movements, and environmental conservation efforts in the mountains and jungles of Bolivia and Peru.

The Andes & Amazon Gap Year program is based in the tranquil agricultural town of Tiquipaya, on the outskirts of Cochabamba in Central Bolivia. Here students live with local families, largely of Quechua descent, and have the opportunity to connect intimately with a local community. Our time is characterized by intensive Spanish instruction, exposure to local activists and social organizations in Cochabamba, and opportunities to delve into independent study topics. Based at the foothills of the Andes, this is an ideal backdrop for settling into the rhythms of a local community, exposing students to issues affecting the Andean landscape, while offering them the time to develop critical language and leadership skills. Our Program House is situated on an organic farm, creating unique opportunities for students to engage with local food systems and agricultural practices.

Beyond Tiquipaya, the semester takes us to the fascinating twin cities of La Paz and El Alto, dramatic urban centers that sit above 13,000 feet in the midst of the sparkling snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real. Here we partner with a local theater group in El Alto, the indigenous capital of Latin America, while meeting with local figures and exploring the bustling streets and markets of El Alto and La Paz. Excursions take us into dramatic mountain settings, traveling by foot to the base of glaciers and then down into the lush tropical forests of the Amazon basin. Peeling back the folds of time, we travel by boat along tropical waterways to lowland indigenous communities where rivers function as the only roads and the forces of past and present can be seen in stark relief. In the lowlands we are exposed to development and conversation issues in the most bio-diverse corners of the planet, while taking in the incredible cultural and ecological diversity of the Amazon jungle.

In Peru, our journey takes us around glittering Lake Titicaca to the heart of the Incan empire. Trekking routes carry us by foot to the lost city of the Incas at Machu Picchu, while remote mountain excursions take us farther afield to remote Quechua communities that exist much as they did half a century ago. Our time in Peru is highlighted by dramatic mountain landscapes, exposure to remote indigenous communities, and a deeper understanding of development trends and contemporary issues in southwestern Peru.

On the Dragons South America Gap Year program, expect to hone your Spanish skills while discovering the links between vibrant indigenous peoples and the diverse and breathtaking landscapes they inhabit. Dragons students will come away with a deep understanding of indigenous political trends, important challenges in conservation and development, and a first-hand understanding of day-to-day life in some of the earth’s most dramatic locales.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Student Profile

Student participating on the South America Gap Semester may choose to take courses for-credit. Two college-level courses are available for-credit, although students are not required to take any courses for-credit while participating on the Gap Semester program. Students who take courses for-credit will be invoiced an additional fee at a rate of $1,200 per course. Students who choose to take 1 (one) or more courses for-credit will receive a transcript from Dragons School of Record after successful completion of the program. To read more about the for-credit courses visit our FAQ Page.

Academics

Dragons has partnered with Naropa University, our School of Record, to offer interdisciplinary courses for-credit that extend from our Core Curriculum. Students can take 0-2 (zero to two) courses for-credit while participating on the South America Gap semester program. Available for-credit courses on the South America semester include:

  • Independent Study Project (ISP) (ISP 325; 4 credits)
  • Spanish Level I, II & III Language Study (SPAN 150/250/350; 4 credits)

Click on the download button below to view course syllabi.

Download

Program Components

3/5
Comparative Religion

Gain insight into Andean cultural and religious worldview, Amazonian traditions and practices, and the spiritual syncretism between pre-colonial belief systems and Christianity.

5/5
Development Studies

Engage with issues in resource management, modernization and globalization, indigenous movements and political representation, urbanization and rural poverty, environmental conservation, and community and sustainable development.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Explore land use and relationships, social and political activism, and indigenous identity and representation. The semester also delves into pre-Incan and Incan history and culture, the coca leaf, sustainable agriculture, and the arts.

5/5
Home Stay

Enjoy a three to four-week homestay outside of Cochabamba, with two possible shorter homestays in the Amazon and a remote mountain community.

3/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Independent Study opportunities include traditional arts in weaving, dance and music, Bolivian cooking, education, Andean spirituality, traditional agricultural practices, and a range of topics surrounding politics and ecology in Bolivia and Peru.

4/5
Language Study

Engage in three to four weeks of personalized language instruction with local teachers for 16-20 hours a week, in addition to opportunities for language immersion throughout. Quechua lessons also available.

2/5
Learning Service

Embrace several opportunities for community-led service engagement. Past projects have focused on sustainable agriculture, collaboration with local NGO's and community initiatives, and arts-based activities with urban youth.

5/5
Rugged Travel

Delve into homestays with limited or no amenities, extensive walking in high altitude mountains and humid rainforests, and lengthy travel by boat, bus and truck.

5/5
Trekking

Participate in multi-day treks moving from the high Andes to the Amazon basin in Bolivia. Wilderness exploration also includes travel through remote rainforests of Bolivia and Peru, and a challenging trek in the Ausangate range in Peru.

About Components
Other Programs in Bolivia or Peru
Explore!