Study Abroad

Service Learning in Ecuador

Faculty leader: Dr. Darlene Lake, Department of Modern Languages

With student leaders from UW-L

J-term (from beginning to mid-January)

The objective of the Ecuador service-learning trip is to provide students with a short term, affordable cultural experience while participating in community service abroad.

The goal of working in the villages of Bunche and Muisne (small villages on the beautiful west coast of Ecuador in Esmeraldas Province) is to help them improve their infrastructure and living conditions, as well as to encourage the townspeople to continue with any projects UW-L students have not been able to finish during our 12-day J-term trip.

TRANSPORTATION/LODGING/MEALS
During our time in Ecuador, students travel via coach bus (for the trips through the Andes mountains) and by taxi (for short trips). Lodging is at the Congal Biological Research Station near Bunche, an ecological marine reserve situated on 270 hectares of secondary rainforest, coastal mangroves, and shrimp pools. A clubhouse for volunteers houses about 15 people in dormitory-style rooms that include mosquito nets. There is also a guesthouse that accommodates additional students in multiple rooms.

Unless the group is traveling, all meals will be eaten at Congal. Meals are covered with the cost of the program, and will include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food is extremely clean and well prepared, with plenty of fresh tropical fruit and seafood.

SOCIALIZATION WITH THE LOCAL POPULATION
As the station is relatively remote, it is quite safe to explore the property and experience the surroundings, go to the beach, play with the children in Bunche, visit with new friends (you will make many!) in Muisne and Bunche, and spend time with the workers and/or other volunteers from other countries at the station. There are three workers who live at the station and who are available in case of an emergency.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Departure from U.S. and arrival in Quito
Day 2: Bus to Muisne/Bunche; check into rooms at Congal, intro. to Congal
Day 3: Project/get to know the community
Day 4: Project/introduction to Bunche and surrounding area
Day 5: Project
Day 6: Project
Day 7: Project
Day 8: Project
Day 9: Travel to Playa Escondida for R & R and overnight stay; walk the beach and explore caves before returning to Quito
Day 10: Return to Quito by bus; dinner out as a group
Day 11: Spend day in Quito; dinner out as a group
Day 12: Return to U.S.

The cost varies from $1,700.00 to $1,900.00 for the 12 days. This includes airfare, meals, lodging, and ground transportation in Ecuador. You will want to bring spending money for snacks and shopping.

The service-learning trip to Ecuador is open to all UW-L students. One credit is awarded for the trip (INS 450), as it includes reflections and discussions on various themes relating to the partner community and their culture.

We certainly hope you will join us!