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Study Abroad



Spring Semester in the Andes

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SAU student in Ecuador

SAU Alum, Carissa Rabe visits El Cajas National Park in Ecuador

This program is now accepting applications for the Spring 2015 semester. The Semester in the Andes program is not approved for Spanish majors or minors.

Location: Cuenca, Ecuador
Dates: January - May
Price:  $13,860 (as of Spring 2015 - subject to change)
Financial Aid:  Eligible students can use up to $4,000 of their SAU scholarship package plus state/federal aid (excluding work study). Pell grant recipients are encouraged to apply for a Gilman scholarship.
Application deadline:  October 1

Program Description

Discover Ecuador's cultural and environmental diversity. Explore the Amazon Jungle. Experience Machu Picchu in Peru.

St. Ambrose University's Semester in the Andes program gives students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Andean culture, from the pre-Columbian era to the present day.

The program, based in Cuenca, Ecuador, and offered in partnership with the Centers for Interamerican Studies (CEDEI), features Spanish instruction at all levels, an optional Outdoor Pursuits course, a variety of classroom-based and hands-on experiences in English in other disciplines, and a wide range of internship and service learning opportunities. Students can fulfill general education and major requirements.

An extensive schedule of field trips and site visits has been integrated into the program's curriculum. Thus, students apply lessons learned in the classroom and in their homestays in a real-world setting and return to the United States with a new appreciation of our neighbors in the South.

Program highlights

  • Homestays with Ecuadorian families enable students to immerse themselves in the local culture and language.
  • Excursions to Quito and Guayaquil expose students to the traditional rivalry between the country's two major cities while opening doors to both cities' cultural treasures.
  • A tour of Galapagos Islands, arguably the world's most important national park. Students will see dozens of animal species that exist nowhere else on the planet.  
  • A week-long experience in the Amazon jungle will serve as a laboratory for students enrolled in biology and environmental studies courses and is an essential component of the "Ecuador Experience" course.
  • A week-long field experience in Peru enables students to discover Ecuador's neighbor to the south. Students will visit a variety of sites in northern Peru, the capital city of Lima, and the Inca capital of Cuzco.
  • A visit to majestic Machu Picchu serves as the highlight of the Peru excursion, as students challenge themselves to scale the lofty heights and study the architecture and culture of the Inca civilization.

Course offerings

The Semester in the Andes Program focuses on the interdisciplinary study of Latin American civilization and culture. Courses generally are offered in two eight-week cycles. Most students take twelve to eighteen semester hours of coursework in the program.

Required Courses
  •  At least one Spanish language course in each 8-week teaching block. (Offered at all levels).
  • "Ecuador Experience" (IS 210).  This 3-credit exploration of contemporary Ecuadorian culture involves field trips, lectures, activities, hikes, and an overview of Ecuadorian history. (Meets for the full semester)

Optional Courses Taught in English
  • Outdoor Pursuits (KIN 125): This course includes camping, rock climbing, horseback riding, and canyoning. Co-coordinated by CEDEI and Apullacta Tours. (Additional $300 activity fee).
  • Latin American Painting (ART 201)
  • Andean Musical Culture (MUS 116)
  • Applied Voice/Instrument (MUS 103)
  • International Political Economy (PSCI 299)
  • Environmental Science (BIOL 109)
  • Health Issues in Developing Countries (SOC 380)
  • Andean Identity Politics (SOC 240)
  • Cultural Anthropology (SOC 210)
  • Diversity and Culturally Responsive Teaching (EDUC 300)
  • History and Philosophy of Education (EDUC 301)
  • Service Learning (SVLN 201)

A combination of native Ecuadorian and North American faculty members provide instruction and oversight of all coursework, internships, and service learning projects.

What is included
  • Tuition for 12 to 18 semester hours
  • Housing with an Ecuadorian family
  • All travel within Ecuador
  • All meals (except during field trips)
  • Field trips in Ecuador and Peru, including a tour of the Galapagos Islands, a study tour to the Amazon Jungle and a study tour of Peru
  • International health insurance

What is not included
  • US Passport 
  • Airfare
  • Ecuadorian visa
  • Outdoor Pursuits fee (optional course--$300)
  • Music and studio art lab fees (variable)
  • Meals during field trips, including the study tours ($10-15/day)

How to apply

Complete the online application and submit your $500 application deposit to the Center for International Education by October 1. After your application is approved, you will be instructed to complete an online CEDEI application.

Payment deadlines

  • October 1: $500 application deposit due
  • December 20: remaining balance due

Payment details

  • Make checks payable to St. Ambrose University.
  • The application deposit is deducted from the total program cost.
  • If you are not accepted into the program, the application deposit is refundable.
  • If you are accepted, the application deposit is non-refundable after October 1.
  • Failure to meet payment deadlines may jeopardize your place in the program.
  • Please submit your final payment directly to Student Account Services by December 20.
  • The final payment is non-refundable after December 20.