Ecuador: Quito and The Galapagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands are a world-renowned ecological treasure—important in world history as the place where Charles Darwin began his work on the theory of evolution, but known equally today for unparalleled beauty and ecological diversity.
Service-learning in the Galápagos offers an opportunity available nowhere else to live in and learn about a delicate and complex natural environment and the impacts—both positive and negative—of human settlement, fisheries, and tourism in that setting and, at the same time, contribute through service to maintaining this unique environment.
Students may choose one of three concurrent tracks of study, with either a biology focus or a social science focus. The three programs are: Evolution, Ecology and Conservation; Marine Biology; and People, Politics and the Environment. After a brief period on the campus of the Universidad San Francisco in Quito and experiencing nearby excursions, students will attend a full schedule of classes at the Galápagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS) on Isla San Cristobal, learn from world-class faculty, and engage in service related to island ecology and/or the local island community. All program courses are taught in English. Science pre-requisites apply.
Very few people even get to visit the Galapagos, much less LIVE there!
In the Galápagos, you will live in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Isla San Cristobal, the capital of the Galápagos and the oldest settlement of the Archipelago. This small bayside village is home to the Galápagos Academic Institute for the Arts & Sciences (GAIAS), the Galápagos National Park Interpretation Center, a small museum, souvenir shops, and local townspeople. The people of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno make their living principally by artisanal fishing and tourism.
Two important challenges facing the town include increased migration and efforts to stop it, and conflicts between the fishing and conservation sectors. One key issue is the illegal fishing of sharks, lobsters and sea cucumbers outside of their permitted seasons. Despite these problems the Galapagos Islands are considered to be a good example of the way in which environmental conflicts can be resolved in a peaceful manner.