During this high school summer abroad program in Ecuador, explore the country’s various geographical areas: the Andes Mountains, the upper Amazon basin, and the Galápagos archipelago. In each location, you will learn about the richness of Ecuador’s ecology and wildlife and the importance of preserving them. Investigate rare plant and animal species on the Galápagos Islands. Go on excursions to mountains, hot springs, and a primary forest. Paddle into the heart of the jungle on a guided canoe expedition and learn about indigenous Ecuadorian traditions.
Your discovery of Ecuador’s ecology takes place throughout every stage of the program. On your first excursion, you will see the rivers and diverse wildlife of the Mindo Nambillo cloud forest. In the Amazon basin, you will see the stunning waterfalls of the Banos and observe monkeys and exotic birds as you canoe down the Napo River. During your homestay week, hike up from the first base camp to the second shelter (16,400 feet above sea level) of Chimborazo, an inactive volcano that reaches 20,800 feet above sea level, and then bike down through a beautiful Andean landscape. The program’s four days in the Galápagos will give you the opportunity to learn about the fragile ecology and unique biodiversity of these remarkable islands. Cruise by night from island to island, swim alongside seals in lava grottoes, explore mangrove forests and flamingo lagoons, and observe the courtship displays of rare tropical birds.
You’ll also experience Ecuadorian cities and learn about the country’s history and cultures. See the gold-inlaid sixteenth-century churches and colonial buildings of Quito’s Old Town. Ride a train to Devil’s Nose. Improve your Spanish language skills through interactive lessons and conversations with local residents. Riobamba, a small city surrounded by the snow-capped Andes, provides the setting for a weeklong homestay. Share daily activities such as sports, movies, and walks through town with your host family. Learn how to prepare a typical dish such as ceviche or empanadas and, working alongside a local nonprofit, participate in a three-day community service project.
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Embark on a culinary and language journey through France on a high school summer abroad program. Explore multiple regions of the country known for their culinary specialties. Learn about French cheeses, sweets, and pastries. Take culinary classes at a cooking school such as the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon. Engage with professional chefs, meet with farmers and producers, visit local markets, and learn how to cook local recipes such as macarons and nougat.
Study French during a week of formal language instruction. Put your language skills to use during the program’s homestay, which ranges from 11 to 16 days depending on the length of the program.
The program begins and ends in Paris, giving you time to explore France’s beautiful and historic capital. Together with your group, join local residents in a café for a morning croissant before navigating the streets of Paris to the Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, or Louvre. Sample traditional baguettes, cheeses, and local specialties and enjoy a picnic on the Seine’s famous left bank. Explore the Montmartre art district beneath the spires of Sacré Coeur and dine at tiny cafés that serve regional specialties from across France.
Format Options: This program is offered in three-week and four-week formats. Please see program duration and date options to the right for more details.
Language Certificate: Students who complete the four-week program will earn a language certificate noting how many hours of language classes s/he completed.
Orientation: Paris, 2–4 days
Homestay: Les Baux de Provence, Pierrelatte, Vannes, Saint malo, Nantes, or Blois, 11–16 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels, manior (manor)
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Delve into the creative arts in Nicaragua and Cuba and examine how people in both countries have used the arts to promote social transformations. In Nicaragua, where this immersive high school summer abroad program is based, experience daily life and culture from several different perspectives. Live with a host family in the working-class Máximo Jérez neighborhood of Managua, where supporters of the Sandinista Revolution lived during the 1980s. Witness how Nicaraguans today are using the arts for economic sustainability and to express their aspirations for the future. Participate in workshops and visit artists’ studios and communities as you learn about art, poetry, and music as mediums for social change.
Stay in the coffee-producing rural community of San Ramón, in the mountains outside of Matagalpa. While there, experience a second homestay, with a campesino family, and witness the campo-city differences in Nicaragua. Visit a coffee cooperative, and hike through the lush vegetation of this cloud-covered area. Create “socio-dramas” with members of a community organization, make jewelry with seeds, take a poetry workshop, and learn how to prepare multiple dishes incorporating exotic fruits from Nicaragua.
Your journey continues as you travel with your group to Cuba. Learn about Cuba’s significance in Latin American history and the multiple connections between Cuba and Nicaragua. Spend a comparative week in the city of Havana exploring the arts in a different social and cultural context. Visit associations of young artists and African-Cuban community-based arts centers. Participate in a community workshop transformation project (Talleres de Transformación), and dialog with Cubans about their aspirations. Learn about Ernest Hemingway’s life in Cuba at his home in Cojímar and visit other historical sites in Old Havana.
Orientation: Managua, 3 days
Homestay: Managua, 10 days; San Ramon, Matagalpa,* 7 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels