Ecuador: Development, Politics, and Languages

Study Ecuador’s development processes while considering the relationship between power and language

offered by SIT Study Abroad

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Please visit our website for more information The program invites you to study development and politics from a unique angle, focusing on how power structures are imposed, reproduced, and challenged through language, whether through political speeches, propaganda, and media; through the use of indigenous languages and bilingual education; or through laws and documents that cover environmental policies, ethnic relations, and other issues. Live in Quito and engage with local experts from diverse areas of practice. The program base is in Quito, and you will spend a considerable part of the program in this beautiful city, which was founded by Spanish colonizers in the sixteenth century on top of an existing indigenous settlement. Quito is located at over 9,000 feet above sea level. It is long and wide, nestled into the Andes and surrounded by volcanoes. Its architecture reflects a mix of colonial and contemporary styles, and students will find Spanish churches, typical Ecuadorean restaurants, and hip European-looking cafés and nouveau gourmet Ecuadorian spots. Quito has several internationally renowned universities, such as the Universidad de San Francisco, from which the program draws lecturers and ISP advisors. It is also home to many NGOs, which students are able to visit and with whom students often organize Independent Study Projects (ISPs). Take a Quichua workshop as part of a seminar. As part of a seminar, you will participate in a workshop to learn basic Quichua, which you’ll put into practice during a village stay in Quichua-speaking communities.  Study in the Galápagos on a short excursion. One of Ecuador’s most challenging and controversial issues is how to develop while preserving the natural resources its development has so often depended upon. Ecuador’s constitution actually posits Nature as a subject with rights, and its many indigenous communities share a cosmovision that also calls directly for the respect of natural resources and sites. In practice, however, Ecuador relies upon extractivist industries and tourism, with their resulting environmental risks, to develop. On this excursion to the Galápagos, you will study the discourses related to sustainability and tourism as you explore this most fascinating site. Conduct an Independent Study Project (ISP). All students produce a final Independent Study Project. The ISP offers you the opportunity to conduct field research on a topic of your choice within the program’s broad concerns with power, politics, language, and development. The ISP can be conducted in Quito or in another approved location in Ecuador appropriate to the project. The program enjoys links with local NGOs, government agencies, and other projects and can facilitate contacts. Sample ISP topics include: Linguistic landscape of Quito Discourses of tourism in the Galápagos Development and poverty in migrant communities of Guayaquil Social communication, micropolitics, and activism in the Andes Political perspectives on endangered languages: the case of Shuar Bilingual intercultural education in Otavalo


  • Spanish
  • Latin American Studies
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Area/Ethnic Studies
  • Languages / Linguistics
  • Sociology
  • Social Sciences
  • Social Justice
  • Development Studies


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