This immersive experience will offer participants the rare opportunity to explore Amazonian issues and their solutions by living and working with indigenous people - through homestays and community project collaboration.
1. Conservation/Sustainability: research and work on community projects - endangered turtle conversation, 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, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/967
• Communities of the Indigenous Territory of the Bajo Paraguá, Bolivia
Faculty and students from any field of study interested in learning and collaborating in ongoing research, conservation, and education programs in PNNKM
PROGRAM TITLE: Amazon Exchange Program: Aligning Science, Conservation, and Education through Intercultural Collaboration
DURATION: 6 weeks (3 days in Santa Cruz de la Sierra; 30 days in Porvenir; 5 days to do research, free time, and/or tourism; and 3 days in Santa Cruz de la Sierra before returning to the USA)
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)
Full day orientation in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
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). Financial aid and loans may be available through your home institution.
ADMISSION: 6 (minimum) to 12 (maximum), application selection process
Interest in working with local people on real projects.
Submit application form
Participate in pre-trip orientation
Spanish intermediate level
Ability to live in remote, indigenous 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.
COLLEGE CREDITS: Check with your advisors and the international office in your home institution for independent study credits.
LODGING: Culture and 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.
STUDENT PROJECTS: Students will focus on one project of choice: endangered turtle research/conservation, community-based ecotourism, sustainable forest products (wild harvested acai), water quality, environmental education, K-8 teaching, nutrition, health, etc.
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.
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 video below. You may use the controls at the bottom to pause, rewind, or go forward.