Pitzer in Ecuador

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Location
High in the Andes and with a spring-like climate throughout the year, Quito, Ecuador, is one of the most beautiful cities in South America. In 1978, UNESCO designated Quito as a world cultural heritage site, ensuring the preservation of some of the most impressive architecture in Latin America. With a geography that encompasses tropical Pacific beaches, Andean mountain villages, and Amazonian rainforests, Ecuador provides a dynamic setting for studying the challenges that face a small, developing nation.

Fall 2017 Students. Photo by Sebastían Granda

Host Institution
Pitzer in Ecuador is affiliated with Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), considered the top university in the country.

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  • Academics

    Courses and Credits

    Courses
    Course
    Credits
    Semester
    Units
    ECU101 PZ   Core Course: Ecuador, an Andean Country
    1.0
    4
    ECU103 PZ   Independent Study Project
    1.0
    4
    Intensive Spanish  or Content Courses (for Advanced Students)

    Students at beginning, intermediate or advanced-low levels
    will take Intensive Spanish as a second language at Academia Latinoamericana de Español, a premier language institution in Quito with which Pitzer has had a relationship for over 20 years.Students with Advanced Spanish proficiency (usually 5 or 6 semesters of college Spanish or the equivalent) and a suitable language evaluation may take content courses at Universidad San Francisco de Quito for up to two Pitzer course credits.
    2.0
    8
    TOTALS
    4.0
    16
    Prerequisites
    There is no language requirement for the program. However, it is recommended that students take one or more semesters of Spanish prior to the program whenever possible.
    Eligibility
    Students must be in good academic standing and 2.0  or higher GPA on a 4.0 scale.
    Program Dates
    Fall: Late July or early August to mid-December
    Spring: Early January to late May

    The Core Course – Ecuador, an Andean Country

    ecuador-Kate MuddThe Pitzer core course, Ecuador, an Andean Country, integrates all components of the program, including lectures, study trips, involvement in a local community organization and the family stay. It offers an important framework for understanding the social, political, economic, and environmental issues in contemporary Ecuador. Students will meet once a week in class and spend additional hours participating in a community organization in Quito to gain firsthand experience with the issues explored in the course. The core course is taught in Spanish by an Ecuadorian university professor. To accommodate students with lower levels of Spanish proficiency, for the first month of the course, the academic director synthesizes the course content in English during the class meetings; this allows all students to engage fully in the ideas and issues covered in the classroom.

    Examples of Community Service Opportunities

    Independent Study Project

    The independent study project for this program will be an ethnographic study culminating in a major paper written in Spanish for students with advanced Spanish proficiency and in English for students with beginning or intermediate Spanish proficiency. You must select a project that involves field research, and other techniques that facilitate cultural immersion.

    Intensive Spanish

    Intensive Spanish is offered at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels through Academia Latinoamericana de Español.

    Content Courses for advanced speakers are also offered through Academia Latinoamericana de Español. For a sample list of possible content courses available fall 2016 Academia Program of Studies.

    Students with advanced Spanish skills may have the opportunity to choose regular university courses available at a local university. To research course options visit the University website at http://www.usfq.edu.ec/programas_internacionales/exchange_students/Paginas/english.aspx then click ‘Schedule of Classes.’

    All courses on the program must be taken for a letter grade. All grades for this program will be shown on a Pitzer College transcript and calculated into the Pitzer GPA

    Professors in a particular field group or department determine which courses count towards a student’s major or minor, but the credit for study abroad courses is awarded through the Office of Study Abroad.  Students who wish to receive credit towards their major for a particular course should consult their academic advisor for guidelines. Some schools, field groups, or departments may wish to see a syllabus, samples of coursework, texts, or other program materials to make a determination. Check the requirements before you go.

  • Course Descriptions

    ACADEMIA LATINOAMERICANA DE ESPAÑOL
    Academic Information and Course Descriptions

    Sample –  updated fall 2016

    Academia Program of Studies

    ECUADOR, AN ANDEAN COUNTRY
    (1 credit)

    Sample Syllabus

    Profesor: Sebastián Granda Merchán
    Community Service Coordinator: Viviana Mosquera
    Lecturers: Viviana Maldonado y Nicolás Cuvi

    Description

    The seminar offers a panoramic view of Ecuador’s economic, political, social, cultural and environmental reality. The seminar focuses its attention on the Ecuadorian reality, but also considers the situation of other countries in the Andean region that share a similar reality. Through different planned activities, the seminar will allow students to understand the principal issues and challenges facing present-day Ecuador, as well as how to reflect and give meaning to their daily lives and experiences.

    Objetives

    1. Reflect on the cultural immersion process during the semester, and be conscience of the way in which cultural baggage contributes to the fostering and/or obstruction of cultural adaptation.
    2. Understand the issues that Ecuadorians from different social groups and classes have to face day-to-day, and the strategies they put into play in order to come out ahead.
    3. Analyze the way in which racism, gender discrimination, and social inequality manifests in the country; and the various initiatives that different marginalized groups put into action for improving their own conditions.
    4. Gather and consolidate different community players’ points of view, through full participation in host family life, community service and at the university; and through the implementation of qualitative research techniques.
    5. Demonstrate respect and understanding of cultural beliefs and practices even though they may differ from one’s own beliefs and practices.

     

    Activities

    The seminar includes the following activities: discussion sessions, community service, study trips and the host family stay.

    a. Discussion Sessions

    These sessions will take place every Tuesday afternoon from 2:30-4:30pm. The sessions will offer a unique space for deep discussion and analysis of topics and questions that emerge from daily life, community service, host family living and assigned readings. Student participation in the sessions is fundamental. For each session, the students must have read the selected material and prepare a written report in which they analyze and provide an opinion about questions found in the reading. In some sessions, students will be in charge of leading the discussion.

    b. Community Service

    The community service component represents an excellent opportunity to learn about the situation of Ecuador’s most vulnerable groups and the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and religious organizations that work in favor of these groups. Each student will designate two weekly sessions (of three hours each) for their community service. One of the responsibilities of the community service consists of maintaining a field journal in which students register their experiences and the most important occurances during their weekly visits to the institution, as well as respond to the questions indicated in the Fieldbook. For the final seminar, students must prepare a visual presentation (photographic) of their community service experience. More information about the field journals and the visual presentation can be found in the Fieldbook.

    c. Study Trips

    To deepen student’s knowledge about topics discussed in the seminar, students will take part in two study trips. The first will be to the community of San Clemente, an indigenous Quechua community located in the foothills of Imbabura (to the north of Quito). There, students will interact with the indigenous population of the area and will get to know, first hand, its way of life and on-going issues and projects. The second study trip will be to the Pañacocha lagoon in the Amazon Jungle. In Pañacocha, students will be able to appreciate biodiversity and witness various environmental problems that exist in the region.

    d. Family Stay

    The host family stay is a valuable opportunity that allows students to become involved in Ecuadorian culture and to get to know people of different ages and backgrounds. The program includes two distinct home stays. The first and longest will be in Quito with a professional, middle-class family. The second stay, of a few days, will be with an indigenous family in the community of San Clemente.

    Evaluation

    Final grading will be calculated in the following way:

    Final Evaluation 25
    Community Service 25
    Field Journal 15
    Reports on Readings 15
    Participant Observation 10
    In-depth Interview 10
    Presentation on Community Service 5
    Fictional Story 5
    Total 100

    Discussion Topics and Assignments

    Date Topic Assignment
    August 23 – Overview of the seminar: objectives, topics, methodology, and evaluation. -Letter to family (see Fieldbook)

    -My host family and kinship relations (see Fieldbook)

    August 30 -Panoramic view of Ecuador: geography, demographics, economy and politics -Reading: John Creswell, Qualitative inquiry and research design (chapter 4)
    September 6 -Qualitative research and its principal focus -Select and describe the topic for the ISP (in writing)

    -Field Journal 1 (See Fieldbook)

    September 13 -Presentation of research topics

    -Research design plan

    -Design research plan
    September 20 -Principal economic, political and social changes in Ecuador since 1950 -Report on reading: Carlos de la Torre and Andrés Ortiz, Populist polarization and the slow death of democracy in Ecuador
    September 27 -The Citizen’s Revolution: goals, contradictions, and conflicts -In-depth Interview: Gender Discrimination in Ecuador (see Fieldbook)

    -Field Journal 2 (see Fieldbook)

    October 4 -Gender discrimination and the Women’s’ Movement in Ecuador. -Participant observation report about the rural experience (see Fieldbook)
    October 11 – Social inequality and poverty in Ecuador -Field Journal 3 (see Fieldbook)
    October 18 -Education in Ecuador: changes, achievements, and challenges -Report on reading: Carmen Martínez, The “Citizen´s Revolution” and the indigenous movement in Ecuador…
    October 25 -The indigenous movement and the plurinational state -Report on Reading: Ivette Vallejo, Petróleo, desarrollo y naturaleza…
    November 1 -Extraction and the environment in Ecuador -Fictional story based on experience in the Amazon (see Fieldbook)
    November 8 -Ecuadorian identity: dispute about its meaning -Prepare for the final evaluation

    -Field Journal 4 (see Fieldbook)

    November 15 -Final evaluation -Prepare visual presentation on community service experience (see Fieldbook)
    November 22 -Visual presentation on community service experience

     

    -Prepare ISP oral presentation

    -Prepare ISP draft

    November 29 -ISP Oral presentation

    -Turn in ISP draft

    -Prepare ISP oral presentation

    -Advance on ISP

    December 6 -ISP oral presentation -Prepare final version of ISP
    December 13 -Turn in final ISP

    -Program evaluation

    Readings

    • Creswell, John W, Qualitative inquiry and research design, Thousand Oaks – California: Sage Publications, 2007.
    • Chambis, Daniel, y Russell K. Schutt, Making sense of the social world. Methods of investigation, Thousand Oaks – California, Sage Publications, 2004.
    • California: Sage Publications, 2007.
    • Martinez, Carmen, “The “Citizen´s Revolution” and the indigenous movement in Ecuador: re-centering the Ecuadorian state at the expense of social movements”. Ponencia presentada en el seminario internacional Estados descentrados: formación y deformación política en los Andes, organizado por FLACSO y Emory University, 2010.
    • Pagnotta, Chiara, “La identidad nacional ecuatoriana entre límites externos e internos”, Amérique Latine Histoire et Mémoire. Les Cahiers ALHIM , 16, 2008. Disponible en: http://alhim.revues.org/index3061.html

    FIELDBOOK

    During the semester in Ecuador, students will carry out a series of exercises that will allow them to reflect on their own experience in Ecuador, as well as prepare them for the process of collecting information necessary for the development of their Independent Research Project (ISP).

    Exercise 1: Letter to My Family or Friends Back Home

    Students will write a letter to a member of their respective families: father, mother, siblings. The letter should emphasize first impressions of Quito, Quiteños and their way of life, as well as the main experiences of cultural adjustment with the host family, outside the home, etc. The letter must be written in Spanish (except with permission by the professor) and be approximately three pages in length, double-spaced.

    Exercise 2: Host Family and Kinship Relations

    Students will construct a map of their family’s kinship relations. The exercise will consider the extended family that includes grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and other members of the family. The objective of this exercise is not only for the purpose of understanding the host family structure, but also to learn the names of family affiliations (aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparent, grandchild, cousins, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, etc.).

    Exercise 3: Fictional Story about the Amazon

    Students will write a story in which they record their impressions and experiences from the trip to the Amazon. The story should be minimum three-pages in length, double-spaced. This assignment is completely free form and invites unleashed creativity.

    Exercise 4: Gender Discrimination in Ecuador

    Students will conduct in-depth interviews with members of their host family and/or their community service institution on the topic of gender discrimination in Quito. Students should follow the steps below:

    1. Design the interview that is going to be used.
    2. Interview two people. It is recommended that students interview people of different ages and gender. To capture the information of the interviewee, students should select the most appropriate mechanism: digital recording or simultaneous transcription.
    3. Write a report (minimum four pages, double-spaced) that includes the most relevant aspects of each interview and notes differences and similarities between perspectives. In the end, students will carry out a comparative exercise between the way gender discrimination is expressed in the United States and Ecuador.

    Exercise 5:  Rural life and Indigenous Culture

    From the San Clemente community stay, describe and analyze an aspect of the way of life and culture of community members: use of medicinal plants, the role of children in agricultural work, gender roles in indigenous families, etc.

    For the above, students will perform a participant observation exercise during their rural experience and time living among indigenous families. The exercise should follow the steps below:

    • Clearly define a topic that will be observed, for example: gender roles in the indigenous community.
    • Design an observation plan.
    • Observe the selected topic area and make notes in the field journal.
    • Write a report (minimum four pages, double-spaced) in which the collected information is presented and an interpretation of the information is discussed.

    Exercise 6: My Community Service Experience

    Students must record in their field journals the most important facts and events that occur during their community service visits. In addition to noting their experiences and daily events, students should record the following in their diaries:

    Diary 1

    • What is the name of the community service institution?
    • What services does the institution offer?
    • What type of people look after the institution?

    Diary 2

    • What activities do you carry out in your community service? (Describe)
    • What difficulties do you encounter in the development of activities in your community service site? (Explain)
    • Do you consider the activities you carry out in your community service to be useful and/or beneficial for the institution and community? In what ways? (Explain)

    Diary 3

    • Have you been able to create relationships with those receiving services from the institution and/or with the employees of the institution? (Explain)
    • Have relationships with people from the institution been positive or negative? (Explain)

    Diary 4

    • What challenges did you find in your community service?
    • How did you confront these challenges in your community service?
    • What did you learn in your community service about the community and the institution with which you collaborated?

    Exercise 7: Reports on Readings

    Students must write a report on each assigned reading. The first part of the report should include a synthesis of the reading in which the central thesis of the text and main arguments are presented. In the second part of the report, students will analyze and/or comment on one of the text’s themes that interested them.

    Exercise 8: Visual Presentation of the Community Service Experience

    Students must prepare a visual presentation about their community service experience. Presentations can be photographic but also in video. The presentation must focus on three areas: 1. the institution and its principal characteristics: infrastructure, services offered, etc., 2. the people who benefit from the institution: age, social and ethnic group they belong to, problems they encounter, etc., and 3. Experience working in the institution. In this last part, it is important that the students’ presentations state not only what they learned the most, but also the problems they had to sort out daily.

     

    INDEPENDENT RESEARCH PROJECT
    (1 credit)

    Each student develops a qualitative research project on a specific chosen topic. In the design, development and evaluation of the research, students should put into practice all of the elements discussed in the seminar.

    First, students will prepare a written draft of their ISP to present to their ISP tutor two weeks before the seminar ends. With the comments they receive, students must prepare a final paper and submit a printed version and electronic version. The length of the written version is 30 pages that should be accompanied by the bibliography, photos, drawings, maps and other graphic material that complement the written text. The final version will need to be reviewed by a Spanish speaker to avoid linguistical errors.

    In order to avoid students leaving the ISP to the last moment, they will present a written report of their progress half way through the semester. This report will be graded and calculated in their final ISP grade.

    Research Plan

    The research plan must consider the following elements:

    1. Topic
    2. Research focus: narrative-biographic study, qualitative study, ethnographic, etc.
    3. Justification: Why do I want to research this topic?
    4. Research question(s): What am I going to research?
    5. Objectives: For what reason am I going to research? What am I going to achieve at the end of my research?
    6. Research techniques: What techniques am I going to utilize for the collection of information (interviews, observation, focus groups, other)? In the case where interviews or focus groups are used, it is necessary to be precise about who will be interviewed and who will be part of the focus groups.
    7. Ethical aspects: Which ethical considerations must I keep in mind when doing fieldwork?
    8. Schedule: How am I going to organize my time for the development of my research?
    9. Bibliography: What materials am I going to use? For example: books, articles, journals, newspapers, etc.

    Presentation of Research

    The final version of the research project must contain the following parts

    1. Cover page:
    • Name of the seminar
    • Title of the research project
    • Author
    • Date
    1. Index
    1. Abstract: Written in English and following the specifications of Pitzer College: “Abstracts should include the following: 1) Title of project 2) Type of project (internship, research study, apprenticeship, etc.), 3) Field of study for which the project should receive credit (religious studies, sociology, anthropology, music, women’s studies, etc.) 4) A short summary of the project including the following: Here is what I did (including the key research questions I asked). Here is how I did it (methods). Here is what I learned. Overall, the abstract can be very short as long as all of the above is covered”
    1. Introduction
    1. Chapters and subchapters
    1. Conclusions
    1. Bibliography: All sources used for the research: books, journals, newspapers, interviews, informal conversations, television programs, lectures, etc.
    1. Appendix (optional)

    The ISP must be submitted in printed and digital copy. The printed version must be ring bound.

    Evaluation

    The evaluation of the ISP will be calculated in the following way:

    Resarch Plan 20
    Field Work 30
    Final Paper 40
    Oral Presentation 10
    Total 100

    SOURCES

    Social Sciences Libraries

    Biblioteca de la Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)
    Dirección: La Pradera E7-174 y Av. Diego de Almagro
    Biblioteca virtual: www.flacso.org

    Biblioteca de la Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar  (UASB)
    Dirección: Toledo N22-80 (Plaza Brasilia)
    Catálogo electrónico: www.uasb.edu.ec

    Social Science Journals

    • Iconos. Revista de Ciencias Sociales de la Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales
    • Ecuador Debate. Revista de Ciencias Sociales de Centro Andino de Acción Popular

    Ambas revistas pueden ser encontradas en el repositorio digital FLACSO Andes, www.flacsoandes.edu.ec

    Newspapers

     

    Databases

    Links for critical thinking resources

     

  • Study Trips

    To deepen students’ understanding of topics covered in the core course, students will participate in a rural stay in a Quichua-speaking mountain community and a study trip to the Galápagos.

    EC 03MA15 SG Rural stay bench group

  • Independent Study Projects

    The independent study project for this program will be an ethnographic study culminating in a major paper written in Spanish for students with advanced Spanish proficiency and in English for students with beginning or intermediate Spanish proficiency. You must select a project that involves field research, and other techniques that facilitate cultural immersion. Topic selection may be limited by available resources and local conditions. Project locations will be limited to areas within and nearby Quito.

    Cotopaxi 'Throat of the Moon' in the Kichwa Language. Photo by Henri Leduc Oct 2015
    Cotopaxi ‘Throat of the Moon’ in Kichwa. Photo by Henri Leduc Oct 2015

     

     

  • Family Stays

    Homestay

    The heart of the Pitzer Exchange in Ecuador is the semester-long family stay in Quito. The opportunity to become a part of a family and develop a personal relationship with the individual family members is a distinct privilege. The families usually speak little or no English. Though the space and amenities of their homes may seem modest in comparison to similar American homes, many of these middle-class families will have domestic help.