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

Study Abroad South America

The Spirit of the Andes

A 15-Week College Study Abroad Program

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Duration
105 Days
Description

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

Spring Dates

Jan 24 - May 9, 2019


Spring Availability

closed

Fall Dates

Aug 29 - Dec 12, 2019


Fall Availability

four spaces

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

College Students

Spring Begins In

9 Weeks

Fall Begins In

23 Weeks

Land Cost

$16,100


Cusco

La Paz

Cochabamba

Urubamba

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. 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 we encounter on this study abroad program in Bolivia and Peru. Through academic courses, we explore the diversity of the Central Andes and Upper Amazon. We delve first-hand into themes of social justice, indigenous rights and identity, environmental conservation, and political leadership in an intercultural context.

The backdrop for the semester is the town of Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Here, between the Urubamba river and the mountain of Chicon, we live with local families in the heart of the Incan empire. During our time in Urubamba, we participate in intensive Spanish language study, and dive into studies of intercultural communication. Our time in Peru is also…

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. 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 we encounter on this study abroad program in Bolivia and Peru. Through academic courses, we explore the diversity of the Central Andes and Upper Amazon. We delve first-hand into themes of social justice, indigenous rights and identity, environmental conservation, and political leadership in an intercultural context.

The backdrop for the semester is the town of Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Here, between the Urubamba river and the mountain of Chicon, we live with local families in the heart of the Incan empire. During our time in Urubamba, we participate in intensive Spanish language study, and dive into studies of intercultural communication. Our time in Peru is also highlighted by dramatic mountain landscapes, exposure to remote indigenous communities, opportunities to visit Incan sites such as Machu Picchu, day-hikes around the region, and a deeper understanding of the development trends in southeastern Peru.

We then travel overland to Bolivia. In this new place our journey takes us around glittering Lake Titicaca and onto the tranquil agricultural town of Tiquipaya, on the outskirts of Cochabamba in Central Bolivia. Here we live with local families, largely of Quechua descent. In addition, we travel to some of the most historically significant locations in Bolivia, such as La Paz, Potosi, and Sucre and engage in our regionally focused and independently designed studies.

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. Other portions of the program take our group deep into the forests, jungles, and urban landscapes of the Central Andes. Our journey takes us to indigenous communities tucked within the folds of time, where leaders grapple with the destabilizing effects of development and modernization. Along the way, our integrated curriculum guides us as we engage with pressing regional issues and develop our own independent research plan for a topic of our choice.

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 more informed and aware global citizens.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Eligibility

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

Tuition and Fees

Type                        Tuition/Fee
Tuition $12,350
Room & Board                   $3,750
TOTAL $16,100
Tuition and Fees Include:

  • 12-16 credits and other educational costs
  • All program-organized travel and excursions
  • Pre-departure preparation and in-country orientation
  • All accommodations and meals (excluding personal travel)
  • Supplementary lectures and special events

Note: Tuition and fees are based on current circumstances and are subject to change.

Personal Expenses (Estimated)

Expenses that are not accounted for in tuition and fees may include flight costs, personal local transportation, immunizations, academic books and supplies (e.g. for ISP), some meals, visa, ISOS evacuation insurance, medical insurance and expenses, and other personal expenses. Included below are some estimated personal expenses. Some expenses are discretionary and vary based on individual student preferences.

Personal Expense       Type
$800 Transcript Fee (School of Record Transcript)*
$465 ISOS Evacuation Insurance*
$50/month Medical Insurance*
$300 Academic Books and Supplies (Varies)
$1,000 Flight Cost (Varies)
$750 Personal Expenses (Varies)

*These expenses will be included on your Program Invoice and are not optional.

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 & Instructors

College Study Abroad Programs are staffed by both instructors and faculty. All share one similar quality: the desire to provide students with the most complete and exceptional educational experience possible.

Instructors are hired for their in-depth knowledge of a country’s customs and traditions. We strive to have a 4 to 1 student to instructor ratio. As a result, no other study abroad program approaches the level of personal attention and mentorship available on a Dragons program. Our instructors challenge students academically and physically, draw them into an unsurpassed community of curious peers, and carefully guide participants through experiences that enliven and inform academic pursuits.

College Study Abroad Programs are also staffed with faculty who teach for-credit college courses. These faculty are either Dragons instructors who are present throughout the term or a visiting faculty member who teaches intensive courses. Dragons faculty possess a rich blend of academic training, instructional experience, and field-based skills. Most of our faculty possess a PhD, or in some cases a MA combined with extensive experience – both practical and instructional. In addition to faculty, we also work with local experts such as experienced language teachers, Independent Study Project mentors, and local guest lecturers.

Academics

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 courses for credit which 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.

Final academic offerings will be announced to accepted students during the pre-departure process. Possible course options include:

  • Regional Seminar – Tradition, Change & Cultural Resilience (LAS/GLOS 340; 4 credits)
    (Latin American Studies 340 / Global Studies 340; 4 credits) This course is designed to facilitate the development of an in-depth understanding of the cultures of the Andes and Amazon and their relationship to the land. Students begin their study in this course through an overview of the country’s cultural, social, and political background, including South America’s colonial history and the role the region played in the Spanish empire and then the liberation of the region from Spanish rule. Using lectures, readings, and discussion this course surveys social issues and vulnerable populations in Bolivia and Peru such as sustainable development, human rights, globalization, and the impact of colonialism on indigenous cultures. This course also examines political, racial, and social conflicts that Bolivia and Peru have experienced. Opportunities are also provided for students to engage local experts in discussion through guest lecturers and field trips. In addition, program travels in South America take students to communities which are engaged in addressing these issues, providing experiential opportunities for learning and growth.
  • Intercultural Communication (COMM 301; 4 credits)
    (Communications 301; 4 credits) This course is designed to provide study abroad students with an in-depth understanding of essential intercultural communication theories as well as the key skills needed to apply theories in interactions with host country nationals. Throughout the course, students learn relevant concepts and terminology in order to develop skills to interpret and analyze their intercultural interactions. The first half of the course focuses on positivistic and interpretive frameworks of intercultural communication as well as self-reflexivity. The second half of the course focuses on critical intercultural communication scholarship and applications, challenging the student to question default thinking patterns and recognize nuances of human interaction. Course assignments, reflection, structured activities, and direct experience emphasize the development of further intercultural competence among students. Foundational courses in communication theory are recommended, but not required.
  • Independent Study Project (ISP): Methods and Application (ANTH/ISP 325; 4 credits)
    (Anthropology 325 / Independent Study Project 325; 4 credits) This course is focused on providing students with a basic understanding of ethnographic research methods and skills, while also giving students the opportunity to develop specialized knowledge in a topic of study. During the first half of the course, a series of thematic seminars focus on research methodologies, the importance of ethics in research, best practices in working in cross-cultural partnerships in the host country, and skills training related to designing a study proposal. Students develop an understanding of how to refine research question(s), determine appropriate research and learning methods, and address ethical issues related to their projects. During the second half of this course, students use the plan outlined in their approved study proposal to carry out an individualized and in-depth study on a subject of their choice using primary sources. With the support of an academic advisor and/or a local mentor, students select a topic which relates to the program’s scope, design an approach to study this subject, and conduct an individual project. The chosen topic of independent study may involve either an academic inquiry or the learning of a traditional skill through an apprenticeship. Typical ISP projects include: studying sustainable agricultural techniques, Andean folk weaving, or learning to play the charango.
  • Contemplative Intercultural Development and Leadership (GLOS 211; 4 credits)
    (Global Studies 211; 4 credits) Drawing from culturally diverse models of leadership and epistemology, this course examines topics such as interpersonal and intercultural communication skills, leadership styles, contextualizes human development issues, ethnorelativism, and the roles and responsibilities of global citizenship. Through a variety of instructional methods, assignments, and experiential participation, students explore the factors which influence human relationships to self, community, society, and the natural world. This course is meant to engender students engaging with big questions of values, ethics, purpose and questions of engagement, contentment, and community and social organization.
  • Spanish Language Study Level I, II & III Language Study (SPAN 150/250/350; 4 credits) 
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    • SPAN 150: Spanish I
      (Spanish Language 150; 4 credits) This course introduces students to the Spanish language and is designed for students with no or minimal previous background in spoken or written Spanish. Students in this course focus on learning essential vocabulary, practicing pronunciation, and understanding simple grammatical structures. This knowledge prepares students to effectively communicate in Spanish on a limited range of topics related to everyday situations. Students practice listening and speaking in real-life situations and examine how culture and language interact in South America. In-class activities and course assignments aim to assist students as they develop the oral proficiency and confidence necessary to initiate simple conversations. Out-of-classroom experiences such a field trips and guided interactions with native speakers supplement formal classroom instruction and provide ample opportunities for practical engagement. In addition, language skills gained in this course support students to deepen participation in other program and academic activities such as homestays and the Independent Study Project.
    • SPAN 250: Spanish II
      (Spanish Language 250; 4 credits) This course introduces students to more challenging linguistic Spanish language material in order to establish a solid foundation for the use of the language. Students in this course focus on building on past language exposure to improve speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Students expand their oral expression abilities by increasing vocabulary, improving understanding of grammar concepts, strengthening pronunciation abilities, and focusing on listening comprehension. This course introduces new language concepts to allow students to speak about topics pertaining to their daily lives and also focuses on deepening knowledge of South American culture and customs. By the end of the semester, students are expected to be able to engage in basic daily conversations, read simple texts, and write for daily needs. In-class activities and course assignments aim to assist students as they develop the ability to appropriately use language and improve proficiency. Out-of-classroom experiences such a field trips and guided interactions with native speakers supplement formal classroom instruction and provide ample opportunities for practical engagement. In addition, language skills gained in this course support students to deepen participation in other program and academic activities such as homestays and the Independent Study Project.
    • SPAN 350: Spanish III
      (Spanish Language 350; 4 credits) This course is designed to develop advanced skills in the Spanish language and is intended for students with extensive prior exposure to the language. This course focuses on consolidating linguistic knowledge and development of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Students in this course will develop advanced comprehension of and competence in using spoken Spanish in a wide-variety of experiences. Grammatical functions will be reviewed and incorporated as they relate to particular communication needs. A mix of communicative and interactive methods are used to develop advanced proficiency and materials are drawn from a variety of media sources and texts. In addition, students develop their understanding of the relationship between the Spanish language and culture. By the end of the semester, students are expected to be able to express sophisticated and nuanced ideas both orally and in writing. Out-of-classroom experiences such a field trips and guided interactions with native speakers supplement formal classroom instruction and provide ample opportunities for practical engagement. In addition, language skills gained in this course support students to deepen participation in other program and academic activities such as homestays and the Independent Study Project.

Click on the download button below to view course syllabi.

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Program Components

2/5
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.

3/5
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: Regional Seminar

Examine land use and relationships, social and political activism, globalization, and indigenous identity and representation. Curriculum also delves into the cultural, social and political background of South America, including Incan culture and the role of the Spanish empire.

4/5
Homestay

Enjoy a five-week homestay in the Sacred Valley of Peru and also shorter homestay in a small community outside of Cochabamba in Bolivia.

5/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Typical ISP projects include studying sustainable agricultural techniques, Andean folk weaving, or learning to play the charango. Other opportunities might include looking at topics such as politics or ecology. This academic course also includes a semi-independent, two week period for students to deepen their Independent Study topic.

5/5
Language Study

Study the Spanish language intensively while in an extended homestay environment. In addition to the 60 contact hours, students have additional opportunities for language immersion throughout the program.

2/5
Learning Service

Embrace 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.

4/5
Rugged Travel

Immerse yourself in homestays with limited or no amenities, walking in high altitude mountains and humid rainforests, and lengthy travel by boat, bus and/or truck.

4/5
Trekking

Participate in multi-day trek circumnavigating the sacred Mount Ausangate in Peru and other possible day-hikes. Wilderness exploration also includes travel through rural and remote areas of both Bolivia and Peru.