Ecuador is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. The Andes and Amazon Field School, our partner organization is located on a 1300-acre preserve along the Napo River in the Amazon Rainforest. You will have open-air, screened-in dorms and classrooms with modern day conveniences right along the Napo River. Three meals a day will be prepared for you by local community members. The program has a summer-camp atmosphere with several local excursions, hikes through the forest and time spent around the fire at night.
This 1-credit program over spring break is designed for students interested in Marketing, Communications, Business, Entrepreneurship, Fair Trade, Sustainability and Indigenous cultures. On this entrepreneurial adventure, you will get to process your own chocolate, dip into hot spring spas fueled by volcanoes and witness how indigenous people create art and song. This goal of this program is to build a deep and rich relationship with place and people and sharing your skills to help them succeed in promoting their enterprises and preserving one of the richest places on earth. You don't need to have studied Spanish to participate in Pitt in Ecuador- all courses are taught in English. It is the perfect location and program to explore new ways of preserving biodiversity in the Amazonian forest and sustainability of Amazonian communities.
As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:
- An understanding of Ecuador's natural and cultural assets including: art, chocolate, ancient cities and tourism industry
- Deep and rich relationships with local people and places in Ecuador by sharing your marketing and entrepreneurial skills
- Marketing skills and techniques by seeing how others are promoting their enterprises with the goal of preserving one of the most biological diverse and culturally rich places in the world
The Andes and Amazon Field School is located at the Iyarina lodge in the Napo region of Ecuador. Students will fly into Quito, Ecuador where they will meet as a group and explore the city before heading east to Iyarina. The Field School is located on the South bank of the Napo River, 100 miles east of Quito, and 10 miles from the town of Tena, Ecuador (population: 28,800), the provincial capital. You will travel by bus from Quito to the Field School. It is approximately a 4-hour ride with many turns and changes in elevation. There are several cultural stops along the way to break-up the trip. The Field School is approximately 1965 feet above sea level the area is characterized by small Quichua communities clustered along the river bank. The forest surrounding these communities is among the most bio-diverse in the world with a high number of endemic species of flora and fauna. Iyarina is located directly on the waterfront surrounded by a 1380 acre rainforest reserve.
Temperatures and precipitation vary based on the season. Temperatures are typically temperate. In March, the temperatures are pretty mild can average 75-90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Temperatures cool off at night and there’s also always potential for rain. It is a good idea to pack a light, waterproof/resistant jacket.
Students will live and take classes on site at the Andes and Amazon Field School. The program has a summer camp feel with open-air dorm room style cabins. The cabins are screened in and bug nets are also available for additional protection. The bedrooms in the cabin are spacious with modern-day amenities with an incredible view that overlooks the river and forest.. You can expect the following at the Andes and Amazon Field School:
- Two to three students per room
- En-suite bathrooms with hot running water
- High-quality mattresses
Three meals per day are included.
- Single menu du jour is served family style
- Meals consist of traditional Ecuadorian food and American dishes
- Vegetarian options are available upon request
- Good idea to bring/buy snack food to sustain you through meals
- Open air classrooms overlooking the Rio Napo with projection and outlets
- Fire pit for relaxing at night and small discussion space
We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change. Contact your program manager with any questions.
You will earn 1-credit on this spring break program in Ecuador. Everyone who participates on the program will take the same courses, which are taught at the Andes & Amazon Field School. This International Marketing: Made in Ecuador course is taught by Pitt-Johnstown professor Skip Glenn with supporting guest lectures by local faculty. You will have the opportunity to explore rainforests on hikes while learning about one of the most biodiverse places in the world. One of the highlights of this course is that you will have the opportunity to help locals prepare native crops. The biggest highlight though is the opportunity to make your own chocolate and pottery which are two of Ecuador’s biggest exports. The course will be taught in English. The course will be field based with supporting discussions. In these courses you will study:
- Ecuador’s natural and cultural assets which includes: art, chocolate, ancient cities and the tourism industry
- How to market the country of Ecuador to the world
Full course description and syllabus is available below. If you are seeking to count this course towards a major, minor or certificate, please meet with your advisor to discuss this program and what the course will fulfill for you. Information about how the courses on this program count towards general education requirements for different schools and campuses can be found here.
Johnstown Campus Course Number, 1-credit. This course is designed to give you an understanding of Ecuador’s natural and cultural assets including art, chocolate, ancient cities and adventure destinations and how to best market them to the world. This will be a hands-on experience where you will make your own chocolate, pottery and help locals prepare native crops as well as design promotions and refine and position their natural and cultural offerings for the global market. This is a real world experience that will be invaluable in your career as a marketer or employee in global enterprise.
Pittsburgh Campus Course Number, 1-credit, This course is designed to give you an understanding of Ecuador’s natural and cultural assets including art, chocolate, ancient cities and adventure destinations and how to best market them to the world. This will be a hands-on experience where you will make your own chocolate, pottery and help locals prepare native crops as well as design promotions and refine and position their natural and cultural offerings for the global market. This is a real world experience that will be invaluable in your career as a marketer or employee in global enterprise.
The University of Pittsburgh partners with the Andes and Amazon Field School for this program. In 1999 Tod Swanson founded the Andes and Amazon Field School in his wife's home community on the Napo River. Swanson's administrative experience includes having directed Arizona State University's Center for Latin American Studies as a Title VI National Resource Center from 1997-2007. He has also held elected office as a councilman for environmental affairs for the Santu Urku Amazonian Kichwa Community. Contact Tod Swanson.
The mission of the Andes and Amazon Field School is to provide quality in-country education on the Ecuadorian Amazon in a safe and comfortable setting. Each summer we bring together a top group of academic and indigenous experts for 8 weeks of learning and research. Together with students we seek to interpret and preserve the culture and environment of the region and to find practical solutions for a sustainable future.
The name of the station that hosts the Field School in Ecuador is in Ecuador is "Iyarina," (ee-yah-ree-nah), a Quichua word that means to think about the future by remembering the past. According to Quichua tradition memory is recorded in the land. Iyarina, therefore, means to remember by contemplating the land. This act of remembering lies at the heart of our efforts to record and preserve Amazonian tradition.
Tod Swanson, Associate Professor, Arizona State University, PhD University of Chicago, is the on-site director for the Pitt in Ecuador program. He is a specialist in Amazonian culture and environment. His areas of research includes indigenous relations to plant and animal species and Kichwa linguistics. Swanson manages the 1300 acre Iyarina Forest Preserve as an ongoing experiment in sustaining of fragmented Amazonian forest.
In 1999 Swanson founded the Andes and Amazon Field School in his wife's home community on the Napo River. Swanson's administrative experience includes having directed Arizona State University's Center for Latin American Studies as a Title VI National Resource Center from 1997-2007. He has also held elected office as a councilman for environmental affairs for the Santu Urku Amazonian Kichwa Community. Contact Tod Swanson.
Professor Skip Glenn is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. He has explored Ecuador as part of research and training done for El Museo de Ciencias Naturales in Quito and the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. His field experience has taken him from Loja Province in the south to Carchi Province in the north. Having worked with the native Shuar and local scientists, he has a deep appreciation for the natural and cultural heritage of this great Andean nation.
|Estimated Expenses Billed by Pitt||$3,299||$3,499|
|Estimated Additional Expenses||$500||$500|
|Total Estimated Cost||$3,799||$3,999|
Final program costs and will be available by October 15
Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.
The amounts above are for the 2019-2020 academic year and should be used as estimates only. Pricing for 2020-2021 will be posted and announced in the fall term.
As a part of your Pitt in Ecuador Spring Break program fee, the follow are included in the program:
- Tuition for 1 credit
- Roundtrip transportation from Quito to the Andes and Amazon Field School
- Cultural activities related to coursework
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner while at the field school
- International health insurance
Dates for the 2020-2021 academic year will be posted in the fall!
- You will fly into Quito, Ecuador and fly home from Quito, Ecuador at the end of the program. You are required to book your flights within the arrival/departure window set by your program manager. Be prepared to purchase tickets as soon as accepted to the program, as spring break is a high season for traveling. Please wait for specific instructions from your program manager
- The field school is tucked in the rainforest along the Napo River and located about 3 kilometers from the town of Tena. It is about a three hour bus ride from Quito to the Field School. If you get motion sickness, you may want to bring motion sickness medication.
- You will have many opportunities to go into Tena via bus or local taxi
- Classrooms are held in open air rooms.
- Some classes will involve hiking in the forest for a few hours. Rubber boots are provided, but it's probably a good idea to bring a pair of hiking shoes.
- While are you staying and living in a tropical rainforest, temperatures can still become cool at night or at elevation. Make sure to pack a light jacket, sweatshirt and pants.
- Three meals a day are included. Accommodations for dietary restrictions and preferences can be made, but there may be limited alternative options based on the kitchen size and staffing. Important to purchase snacks as sometimes excursions in the field may delay a meal.
- Flexibility is extremely important. Schedules may change.
- Remember that this is an academic program and that you should expect to invest the same amount of time and effort on your courses abroad as you would on a course at Pitt.
- You will need to bring a laptop or tablet with you
- There is internet and wifi, but it may be slower than you're used to in the U.S. There may be restrictions on using it at certain times throughout the day. You will still be able to communicate with your families, stay in touch with friends and use it for academic coursework.
- There will be bugs.
- The juice at breakfast is phenomenal