Immerse yourself in the Ecuadorian culture to work collaboratively with the residence on the indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian populations to establish viable service-learning projects.
This is a Service Learning Program where faculty and students, who are interested in serving the local communities and learning from them, will have the opportunity to do so by developing their own projects. Students will be expected to immerse themselves in the culture in order to work collaboratively with the residents of the indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian population to establish a viable and needed service project. The project will fit the local communities' needs. Students will explore the geographic, demographic and cultural diversity that the country has to offer.
The program starts in Quito, the capital of Ecuador declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Centre, then moves to the northern part of the country to work with the indigenous people of Imbabura and the Afro-Ecuadorians from the Chota Valley. Then, it delves into the rainforest to cross to the coast and see the Manabi beaches to work on the reflecting and debriefing part of the program. Knowledge of Spanish is only required for the Spanish majors, but students with some language proficiency will be able to improve their speaking skills. They will also be able to expand their knowledge of Ecuadorian culture through interactions with locals and exploration of this charming Andean country.
Dr. Sonia Lenk she grew up and lived for 29 years in Ecuador. She did her undergraduate studies in
Ecuador and her graduate studies in the United States. She did her field work for
her dissertation at the neighboring community of Chilcapamba, the indigenous location
where she does Service Learning. The leader of Chilcapamba was one of the indigenous
figures she interviewed for the qualitative portion of her dissertation. Therefore,
she has built a trustworthy relationship with him and other members of that community.
Additionally, she has established several service learning activities and programs
in her classes and in her study abroad programs. Hence, she believes she is very qualified
to lead and conduct the program as well as to teach the Service Learning class. What's
more important, she has built the trust and respect in these communities where her
students and other professors have always been welcome.
Dr. Saundra Starks has taught abroad in both Africa & Taiwan as well as presented in Canada, Hawaii, and The US Virgin Islands. She has served a 3 year term on the National Association of Social Workers' International Committee and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of the Bowling Green International Center.