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Study Abroad


Women's Lives: Views from the Andes of Ecuador

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Andean figurines. Photo by SAU Alum, Carissa Rabe.

This course is now accepting applications for the Winter 2013 term.

UMAIE Course Number:  T3915
SAU Course Equivalency:
  +WMST 315 Latin American Women's Issues (4 credit hours)
Instructor:  Dr. Beatrice Jacobson, Professor of English and Women's Studies, St. Ambrose University
Prerequisites:  Sophomore status or above.
Tentative Dates:  December 28, 2012 - January 18, 2013. SAU Spring semester begins January 16.
Location: Cuenca, Ecuador (excursions to Quito, Otavalo and Guayaquil) 
  $4,255-$4,555 (tentative)

Program description

That "women hold up half the sky" is a common truism nowadays. But the ways in which women go about sustaining and improving their communities vary considerably, depending on history, geography, and other formative influences. Come to Ecuador to explore how all of these factors play out in the Andean region!

Women's Lives: Views from the Andes of Ecuador is an interdisciplinary course that will bring you in touch with women's lives in this small but diverse country. In a land of astonishing natural beauty and high altitudes, we'll visit urban and rural sites-Quito (the capital), Otavalo (with its large weaving market), the parrochia of Principal, the city of Cuenca-and more. We'll tour Inca ruins and study the role of women during Inca rule; we'll walk the cloister of a colonial-era convent and learn of women's options during the period of Spanish domination.

We'll also focus on the present-seeing how domestic violence shelters operate and meeting with women who run weaving cooperatives that try to sustain centuries' old craft traditions while also earning needed money. We'll learn from local artists about women's artistic achievements, and we'll visit with the woman alcalde (mayor) of a small rural town impacted both by migration and by mining enterprises. We'll have the opportunity to visit several different indigenous communities-where how women "hold up half the sky" varies from place to place. If student interest warrants, we'll visit an internationally recognized bilingual school that has pioneered programming for special needs children. We'll have a chance to hike the Andes, learning about the biodiversity of the region and its impact on the environment. And we'll read and reflect, making sense, as we go along, of the impressive and varied lives of Ecuadorian women.

Students will learn about family life in Ecuador through homestays during part of the program. For years, these experiences have ranked really high with students: former students regularly return to Cuenca, "just to visit with my family." Spanish language skills are not a prerequisite for this course. A home-stay with at least one English-speaking family member may be requested.

What is included

  • Round-trip airfare from Moline, Chicago or Minneapolis 
  • Housing with a host family
  • Meals (except when traveling)
  • Field trips and entrance fees
  • Travel assistance
  • International health insurance

What is not included

  • Passport fees
  • Transportation to/from airport
  • Fees for textbooks and materials
  • Meals en route and on field trips
  • Personal baggage fees
  • Possible TB test upon return to the US (minimum $28)

How to apply

Priority Deadline: April 13, 2012
Complete the online study abroad application and submit a $500 application deposit to the Center for International Education (Cosgrove Hall, lower level).

Applications will be accepted until October 1.
Students that apply after the April 13 Priority Deadline may find that their desired program is full.

  • Follow the application instructions carefully.
  • Applications will not be reviewed until all application materials have been received.
  • Make checks payable to Seminars International.
  • The $500 application deposit is deducted from the total program cost.
  • If you are not accepted into the program, or if the program is cancelled, the application deposit is refundable.
  • If you are accepted, the application deposit is non-refundable after September 17.

Payment deadlines

  • November 5, 2012:  remaining balance due

Payment details

  • Failure to meet payment deadlines may jeopardize your place in the program.
  • Please submit your final payment to Student Account Services by November 5.
  • The final payment is non-refundable after November 5.