IDIS W42 Ecological, Economic and Environmental Issues in Ecuador and the Galapagos

Basic information

  • Location: Ecuador, Galapagos | Map
  • Dates: January 3-23
  • Cost: $5540 (estimate)

As “living laboratories of evolution”, the Galapagos Islands and the Andean peaks surrounding Quito, Ecuador, are two unique and fascinating places on earth. Having an equatorial climate, these two ecosystems are quickly becoming trendy vacation spots, generating local economies that are heavily reliant on the ecotourism industry.

Participants in this course will observe the biology of the local flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands, guided by ecotourism professionals, both on land and in the surrounding marine Galapagos Islands and in the national parks of the montane and alpine Andean peaks surrounding Quito. Students will evaluate and discuss the economic and environmental issues and tradeoffs that are necessary to maintain these areas and their human residents in the context of the local culture. Students will contrast ecotourism practices with less regulated tourism to assess sustainability of biological, economic, and social systems. Reformed Christian virtues will provide a rubric from which to assess how best we, as reformed Christian representatives of Calvin College, should engage Ecuador in view of the creation care and social justice issues observed. After an introduction to the course at Calvin, students will travel to Ecuador to spend eight days on the Galapagos archipelago and eight days in and around Quito. Daily excursions will include hiking and snorkeling.

Ecuador, Galapagos

Climate


Program Profile: IDIS W42 Galapagos-Ecuador

In most cases students adapt well to their circumstances, but it is helpful to know what to expect as you prepare for a specific experience. If you have specific questions about a program, we would encourage you to speak directly to your off-campus instructor or director or, feel free to stop by the OCP Office at any time.

Physical expectations: Moderate
Language Importance: Moderate
Cultural acclimation difficulty: Moderate
Level of Cultural Interaction: Moderate
Safety & Security Considerations: Moderate

Health Considerations: Moderate
Mental Health Considerations: High
Lodging: Hostels
Cost: $$$


Social Expectations: By their nature, semesters and interims off-campus are inherently social experiences. Heavy emphasis is usually put on building a strong sense of community within the group, which requires openness, sociability, and a collaborative spirit from everyone involved. Acknowledging that having a diversity of personalities makes a group stronger, it is expected that all participants willfully agree to be an active part of the social community of their interim or semester program.

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Physical Expectations

Low

These experiences require no more physical exertion than being on Calvin’s Campus. You don’t have to worry about doing anything physically demanding unless you want to. No physical preparation is required to make the most of this experience.

Moderate

Moderate physical activity is expected and an average level of fitness is required. You will be doing a great deal more walking then on campus, often over uneven surfaces and rough roads. Some physical preparation is recommended before departure to make the most of this experience.

High

Be prepared for some serious physical activity requiring an above average level of fitness. This will include a high level of walking over all kinds of terrain as well as other physical demands in all kinds of extreme temperatures. The fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy this experience as many activities will be challenging.

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Language Importance

Low

English is the predominant language in course location.

Moderate

Knowing another language is helpful to fulfill the goals of the course but English is also prevalent in course location.

High
Knowing another language is important to fulfill the goals of the course.

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Cultural Acclimation Difficulty

Low

Western conveniences are prevalent. Host culture is very similar to traditions and culture of West Michigan.

Moderate

Few western conveniences, the need for students to blend in with the surrounding culture is important. Host culture shares similarities and differences with the culture of West Michigan.

High
No western conveniences, the need for students to acclimatize to local culture is readily apparent. Host culture is vastly different than West Michigan.

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Level of Cultural Interaction

Low

Interaction with local culture is limited and very formal (e.g. through organized tours).

Moderate

Intentional opportunities to interact with local peoples and culture.

High

Intensive immersion in local culture – host families, service-learning, etc.

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Safety & Security Considerations

Although no one can guarantee your safety or eliminate all risks from a study-abroad experience, Calvin College is committed to doing its utmost to provide secure environments in which you can live and learn. Our goal is to minimize risks and keep you aware of special situations as you make decisions about studying off-campus.

Low

Safety concerns are similar to living on campus. Incidents can happen anywhere, but there are no indications that you are more at risk during this experience then you would be at home. You always need to continually be aware of what is going on around you and partner with your Calvin instructor or director to assure your safety while off-campus.

Moderate

There are no specific safety concerns of the U.S. State Department for the areas where you will be studying. However, additional care must be taken to assure a safe and secure experience. You always need to continually be aware of what is going on around you and partner with your Calvin instructor or director to assure your safety while off-campus.

High

There are safety concerns you should be aware of as you commit to this trip. The U.S. State Department has issued a Travel alert or Warning for the area where you will be studying. You will need to partner with Calvin in addressing safety concerns and follow all safety guidelines for the experience.

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Health Considerations

Remember, Calvin follows the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for all Calvin sponsored off-campus experiences.

Low

Health concerns are similar to living on campus. Illnesses and accidents can happen anywhere, but there are no indications that you are more at risk during this experience then you would be at home. Health Care resources (clinics, medical personnel, etc.) are numerous and you would have easy access to medical care if needed. Some vaccinations will be required, but overall precautions are minimal.

Moderate

In general, health concerns are slightly higher than living on campus. Typical travel illnesses (diarrhea, intestinal issues, etc.) are often experienced and appropriate health care is available but can be harder to access than on campus. Several vaccinations may be required and students must be diligent in taking precautions before and during the experience.

High

Health concerns are higher than living on campus. Typical travel illnesses (diarrhea, intestinal issues, etc.) are often experienced at some point. Plans to assure adequate health care are in place but health care facilities could be hard to access during the experience. There may be many vaccinations required for the experience and students must be diligent in taking precautions before and during the experience.

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Mental Health Considerations

Remember, the Broene Counseling Center cannot provide on-line or phone consultations with students.

Moderate

Mental health resources are similar to living on the Calvin campus. Mental Health resources (clinics, counselors, etc.) are available and you would have access to these resources, if needed. It could be challenging to find the right resources on short notice and for a short period of time.

High

Mental health resources are present in various locations during the experience but maybe difficult to access for a variety of reasons.

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Lodging

Camping

Group will be camping (living outdoors) at times during the trip.

Host Families

Students will be staying with host families for parts or all of the experience.

Dorms

Staying in College dorms, similar to Calvin. Roommates will be other Calvin students or other international students depending on your preference.

Hostels

Dormitory style lodging, shared bathrooms.

Hotels

Individual rooms (with roommates) and private baths.

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Cost

Cost of off-campus experiences vary as a result of a number of factors, including the number of students enrolled in the program. Amidst all these factors, the following categories could be helpful, but students are encouraged to check with instructors and directors on specific cost information.

Semester

$ Within $500 of tuition, room & board on campus
$$ Between $501 and $2,000 of tuition, room and board on campus
$$$ More than $2,000 over tuition, room and board on campus

Interim

$ Less than $2,500
$$ $2,501 to $3,800
$$$ >$3,801

Academics

This course may fulfill an elective in the IDS program.  This course will fulfill the CCE requirement

Cost

$5540 (estimate)

Questions / contact

David Dornbos

David Dornbos

Professor, Department Chair
Full profile

Ryan Bebej

Ryan Bebej

Assistant Professor
Full profile

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