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Amazon Exchange Program (AEP)

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Amazon X - Downloadable Information Flyer

Amazon X:

AMAZON X: an 8 week field study program June 20 - August 14, 2014
APPLICATION DEADLINE: ***Last call for applications due March 17, 2014***

This isn’t your typical study abroad program. This is a one of a kind experience in the remote Amazon - no electricity, no running water, no “eco-lodge.” You will live and work side by side with indigenous people, to help build healthier, more sustainable communities. This is the real deal. Science applied to real life. Do you have what it takes?


1. Conservation/Sustainability: research and work on community projects - forest preservation/sustainable forest products (acai), eco-tourism, river pollution

2. Education: teach science, environmental issues, natural resource management, English, computation in local schools

3. Health Issues: support local medical centers - water quality, nutrition, tropical diseases, hygiene


Noel Kempff Mercado National Park (PNNKM) - a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the border of Brazil, one of the largest, most biodiverse protected areas in the world

Communities of the Indigenous Territory of the Bajo Paraguá, Bolivia


Faculty and students from any university in any field of study interested in learning and collaborating in ongoing research, conservation, health and education programs

PROGRAM TITLE: Amazon X: Conservation+ Health+Education = Real Life, Real Solutions

ITINERARY: 8 weeks (6 days in Santa Cruz de la Sierra; 2 days in San Ignacio de Velasco; 42 days in indigenous communities; and 6 days to do research, free time, and/or tourism)

STUDENT PROJECTS: Students will focus on one project of choice: community-based ecotourism, sustainable forest products (wild harvested acai), environmental education, or nutrition/health.

CULTURE & HOMESTAYS: in remote indigenous communities (rustic lodgings with little to no electricity or running water), hotel in city of Santa Cruz and San Ignacio

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES: Classes twice a week, discussions, local guest speakers, Spanish tutoring, student research/projects, volunteer activities, and outdoor activities (visit beaches, forest walks, etc.)

CLASS CURRICULUM: Collaborative model for academic research, tropical ecology, Amazon environmental issues, community-based conservation, Amazon cultures, applied ecological research, field methods, resource management, endangered species, sustainable communities, tropical forest products, ecotourism. The AEP will give you first hand experience addressing the economic, social, and environmental challenges faced by people in the Amazon.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: (Extra cost) Climb the Meseta Caparú, visit waterfalls, embark on river trips to see pink river dolphins and other fauna, horseback ride through the pampas, etc.

PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION: Participation in the pre trip orientation is mandatory and includes:

  • Two Saturday sessions (four hours per day, total eight hours)
  • Two discussion/orientation sessions on Skype (two hours each, total four hours)
  • Two day orientation in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
  • Pre-trip seminars
  • Themes covered during orientation: goals; philosophy; logistics; health, safety & security; culture, economy, and politics in Bolivia and in the park; curriculum, travel information; day to day itinerary; transportation; communications; hotel and lodging; information regarding host family stays; introduction to Lisandro Saucedo and Veronica Limpias (Bolivia program directors); emergency information; medical information; ecology and conservation in PNNKM; other resources

COST: $3,800 plus airfare and visa (approx. $1,500). The cost of this program includes almost everything, except a few meals during free time and optional tourism activities. Financial aid and loans may be available through your home institution. Discount scholarships may be available through SELVA (dependent on demonstrated need and number of program participants). Please contact SELVA and your university’s study abroad office for more information.

ADMISSION: 6 (minimum) to 12 (maximum), application selection process


  • Interest in working with local people on real community based projects.
  • Interest in exchanging knowledge with local people (i.e. while we have knowledge to share with local people, we have much to learn from them.)
  • Submit application form
  • Informal interview
  • Participate in pre-trip and on site orientations
  • Spanish conversation evaluation (intermediate level)
  • Ability to live in remote communities in rustic lodging, with no electricity or running water. Participants need to be aware that the Amazon Basin is a hot, humid area, home to a diversity of insects and other animals.
  • Valid passport/visa
  • Medical insurance

COLLEGE CREDITS: Check with your advisors and the international office in your home institution for independent study credits.

Contact: Alison Lipman at alipman@selvainternational.org
Download the Application Form here!

The Amazon Exchange Program started as a pilot program in 2012 in collaboration with the World Language Enrichment and Acquisition Program at Hampshire College. For more information, view the slideshow below. You may use the controls at the bottom to pause, rewind, or go forward.

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