Andean textiles. Photo by Ryan Gasper, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Study Abroad South America

The Spirit of the Andes

A 3-Month College Study Abroad Program

Enroll
Duration
83 Days
Description

Examine social movements, indigenous identity, and environmental conservation efforts in the mountains and jungles of Bolivia and Peru while deepening your language skills and connecting intimately with local communities.

Spring Dates

Feb 7 - May 1, 2018


Spring Availability

open

Fall Dates

Sep 15 - Dec 6, 2017


Fall Availability

closed

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

College Students

Spring Begins In

28 Weeks

Fall Begins In

8 Weeks

Land Cost

$14,555


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,095

Cusco

La Paz

Cordillera Real

Cochabamba

Puerto Maldonado

Sacred Valley

Ocongate

Sucre

Potosí

Program Overview

Take your college education to the mountains and jungles of Bolivia and Peru.


Hike to the edge of receding glaciers at 17,000 feet. Get your hands dirty with traditional agricultural practices on the sparkling shores of Lake Titicaca. Witness first-hand the dizzying shades of green deep within the folds of the Amazon rainforest.  Meet with indigenous leaders in the Peruvian Andes, working to preserve their linguistic and cultural diversity.  These are just a few of the many classrooms you encounter on this College Study Abroad program in Bolivia and Peru.  Through academic courses and Dragons experiential pedagogy, the program explores the dizzying diversity of the Central Andes and Upper Amazon while delving first-hand into themes of social justice, indigenous rights and identity, environmental conservation, and leadership in an intercultural context.

The backdrop for the College Study Abroad semester is the tranquil agricultural town of Tiquipaya, on the outskirts of Cochabamba in Central Bolivia. Here students live with local families, largely of Quechua…

Hike to the edge of receding glaciers at 17,000 feet. Get your hands dirty with traditional agricultural practices on the sparkling shores of Lake Titicaca. Witness first-hand the dizzying shades of green deep within the folds of the Amazon rainforest.  Meet with indigenous leaders in the Peruvian Andes, working to preserve their linguistic and cultural diversity.  These are just a few of the many classrooms you encounter on this College Study Abroad program in Bolivia and Peru.  Through academic courses and Dragons experiential pedagogy, the program explores the dizzying diversity of the Central Andes and Upper Amazon while delving first-hand into themes of social justice, indigenous rights and identity, environmental conservation, and leadership in an intercultural context.

The backdrop for the College Study Abroad semester is the tranquil agricultural town of Tiquipaya, on the outskirts of Cochabamba in Central Bolivia. Here students live with local families, largely of Quechua descent. Our time here is characterized by intensive Spanish language instruction, exposure to local activists and social organizations, and opportunities to develop in-depth Independent Study Projects (ISPs) with a local mentor.

In Peru, our journey takes us around glittering Lake Titicaca to the heart of the Incan empire. Trekking routes guide us by foot to the lost city of the Incas at Machu Picchu, and tropical waterways carry us into lowland indigenous communities and biological research stations in the Peruvian Amazon.  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 southeastern Peru.

Other excursions take the group deep into the forests, jungles, and urban landscapes of the Central Andes. In the twin cities of La Paz and El Alto, situated at 13,00 feet and surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real, we partner with a local arts and activism collective and meet with important actors in the city. Heading into the mountains, we camp alongside alpine lakes and witness the delicate transition between the high Andes and tropical forests below. Our journey takes us to remote indigenous communities tucked within the folds of time, where community leaders grapple with the destabilizing effects of development and modernization. Along the way, our integrated academic curriculum guides students as they engage with pressing regional issues and develop skills in leadership, self-awareness, and cultural competency. Towards the end of the program, students take part in a two-week independent phase. During this period, students make use of the leadership and cultural fluency they have developed to expand their theme of independent study.

Poised on the frontlines of globalization, the struggles and triumphs of the Andean people offer valuable lessons about cultural resiliency, adaptation, and everyday resistance. This program provides intimate exposure to pressing development issues in some of the planet’s most dramatic backdrops. College Study Abroad students engage directly with local actors and communities, deepen their Spanish language skills, develop competence in intercultural and wilderness settings, and become informed and aware global citizens.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Student Profile

Students who participate on a Dragons Study Abroad Program come from all different backgrounds, universities/colleges, and areas of interest. Eligible participants should have completed at least one semester of post-secondary study, be 18 years or older, have a minimum GPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), and be interested in taking part in an experiential semester abroad.  For more information please see our Frequently Asked Questions.


Costs

Students can take 12-16 credits during the semester abroad.  The total program cost varies based on the number of credits students choose to enroll in during the term. The tuition and fees listed below are inclusive of land cost and tuition costs.

Tuition and Fees

Land Cost Additional Tuition Cost Total Cost
$14,555 $3,600 (12 credits) $18,155
$14,555 $4,800 (16 credits) $19,355


Tuition and Fees Include:

  • 12-16 credits and a transcript from Dragons School of Record
  • All program-organized travel and excursions
  • Pre-departure preparation and in-country orientation
  • All accommodations and most meals
  • Supplementary lectures and special events

Note: Tuition and fees are made based on current circumstances in the host country but are subject to change.

Personal Expenses (Estimated)

Some expenses are discretionary and vary based on individual student preferences. Expenses that are not accounted for in tuition and fees may include flight costs (estimated at $1,095), personal local transportation, immunizations, academic and ISP supplies, some meals, visa, medical insurance and expenses, and other personal expenses.

Scholarships

Dragons is committed to making College Study Abroad programs financially accessible through the offering of scholarships. For more information on scholarships, please visit our Scholarships page.


Faculty

Dragons faculty possess a rich blend of extensive academic training, unique life experience, and field-based teaching skills. Whether working for local and transnational NGOs, conducting primary field research in remote communities, or founding their own organization abroad, all share one similar quality: the desire to provide students with the most complete and exceptional educational experience possible.

With a 4 to 1 student to instructor ratio, no other study abroad program approaches the level of personal attention and mentorship available on a Dragons program. Our faculty challenge you academically and physically, draw you into an unsurpassed community of curious peers, and carefully guide you through transformative experiences that enliven and inform your academic career at your home institution.

Academics

This program is currently offered during spring semesters only. On this College Study Abroad program in South America, students have the opportunity to enroll in 12-16 semester credits. This program offers four college-level courses (4 credits each). In addition to work done in the classroom, Dragons College Study Abroad semesters are designed to provide students with the experiential opportunities to develop language competence, regional knowledge, intercultural leadership abilities, and research skills.Naropa University Logo

Dragons has partnered with Naropa University to offer four interdisciplinary courses for credit that extend from our Core Curriculum. The for-credit college courses we offer focus on building important skills, fostering a concern for global issues, expanding self-awareness and gaining an understanding of pertinent issues in each program area. Our approach is both experiential and conventional, using local resources, expert guest lecturers, excursions, pertinent readings, multi-media, and immersion to provide an intimate, well-rounded and powerful learning experience.

Course options include:

  • Regional Seminar – Tradition, Change & Cultural Resilience (ANTH 250; 4 credits) – This course is designed to immerse students in the myriad cultures of the Andes and Amazon and their relationship to the land, both as manifest in their understanding of the natural world and agricultural practices. Through a combination of hands-on experiences, workshops, inspiring guest speakers, collaborative lessons, reading and writing assignments as well as independent work, students come to know this material well and the importance of it in the Andes and Amazon. This course surveys issues related to South America’s colonial history, the impact of colonialism on indigenous cultures, racial and social conflicts, sustainable development, human rights and globalization. This course is also considered the equivalent of ENV363 at Naropa University.
  • Contemplative Intercultural Development and Leadership (ANTH 211; 4 credits)- The process of understanding self in relation to others in our globalized world is essential in the 21st century. The purpose of this course is to carefully examine who we are through the experience of living, learning and engaging in an international context. Students examine global citizenship, develop, examine global citizenship, develop effective leadership skills in intercultural communication and explore the depths of their internal landscape in relationship to the outside world.
  • Independent Study Project (ISP) (ISP 325; 4 credits)– This course offers each student the opportunity to conduct in-depth study on a subject of his or her choice. An ISP may involve either an academic focus of inquiry or learning a skill through apprenticeship. Typical ISP projects include: studying sustainable agricultural techniques, Andean folk weaving, an investigation of the coca leaf through various lenses, learning to play the charango, for example.
  • Spanish Language Study Level I, II & III Language Study (SPAN 150/250/350; 4 credits) 
    • SPAN 150 Spanish I – Language proficiency is an essential aspect of the program, and daily language classes with an experienced Spanish instructor ensure that students are provided with the language skills needed to engage more deeply with the communities in which they are living and learning. Focus is on foundational vocabulary and key phrases pertinent to the student’s experience. Classes will increasingly focus on improving grammar and pronunciation, as well as learning to read and write in Spanish. For students who are interested in learning as much Spanish as possible while in Bolivia and Peru, there are additional opportunities for supplementary one-on-one tutoring sessions with Dragons instructors or local teachers. Students are tested regularly, and a written and oral exam is required at midcourse and at the conclusion of the course.
    • SPAN 250 Spanish II – Designed to focus on conversational Spanish and grammatical structure, the course is mainly focused on the practical use of spoken Spanish. Students will be expected to read newspaper articles and short stories, responding both orally and in writing. Complex grammatical structures such as the imperfect, subjunctive, and perfect tenses will be introduced. Students are tested regularly, and a written and oral exam is required at mid-course and at the conclusion of the course.
    • SPAN350 Spanish III – Designed to focus on articulate written and formal conversational Spanish, as well as a review of advanced grammatical structure. The course is principally focused on conversational Spanish and spoken fluency. It will also include important aspects of history and literature. Students will be expected to read newspaper articles and literature, responding both orally and in writing. Students are tested regularly, and a written and oral exam is required at mid-course and at the conclusion of the course.

Click on the download button below to view course syllabi.

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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

Examine land use and relationships, social and political activism, and indigenous identity and representation. The accredited curriculum 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 home-stay outside of Cochabamba, with two possible shorter home-stays in the Amazon and remote mountain communities.

5/5
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. This academic course also includes a semi-independent, two week period for students to deepen their Independent Study topic.

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 home-stays with limited or no amenities, extensive walking in high altitude mountains and humid rainforests, and lengthy travel by boat, bus and truck.

4/5
Trekking

Participate in multi-day treks moving from the high Andes to the Amazon basin in Bolivia. Wilderness exploration also includes travel through remote rain-forests of Bolivia and Peru, and a challenging trek in the Ausangate range in Peru for a total of about 13 days during the semester.

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