|Location: San Cristobal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador
San Cristóbal Island, also referred to as Chatham Island, has a statue of Charles Darwin to commemorate where he disembarked on the Galápagos Islands. San Cristóbal is home for many birds, marine mammals, and plants. Some animals you will see while in San Cristóbal include the Chatham Mockingbird, numerous types of Frigate birds, various seabirds, boobies, lava lizards, giant tortoises, and sea lions.
The Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS) offers full-semester programs in English to international and national students of the biological and social sciences. Each program track consists of five intensive 3-credit courses taught in three-week modules. Students will first study at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito's (USFQ) main campus in Quito and then spend the remainder of the semester at the GAIAS campus on San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos. While on the mainland, program participants will go to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon Basin and USFQ's highland campus in Riobamba, the Instituto Santiago de Quito. In the Galapagos, students will visit various sites and take a 4-day cruise throughout the archipelago. In addition to its core courses, GAIAS also offers optional basic Spanish and digital photography courses. GAIAS students are also able to participate in fieldwork, volunteer work, or independent research projects for credit.
Program tracks include:
Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation
People, Politics, and the Environment
Independent study and/or community service project
Field trips & fieldwork as an integral part of every GAIAS course
Small class size & individualized attention
Optional 1-credit course, “Introduction to Digital Photography”
Optional Basic Spanish course
Galapagos boat tour & extended visits to other islands of the Archipelago
Trip to Riobamba and Volcano Chimborazo (highlands Ecuador)
Trip to Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon jungle (http://tiputini.usfq.edu.ec/)
Quito City Tour & Mitad del Mundo (equatorial divide)
Excursion to the indigenous market of Otavalo and lagoon at Cuicocha volcano
Excursion to the snow-capped volcano Cotopaxi
Galapagos homestay family
Resident Coordinators in Quito and Galapagos
For an additional cost to the regular program fee, students studying at GAIAS will have the opportunity to enroll in a diving course through a PADI certified instructor.
While in Quito students stay at a local hotel (at the beginning and end of the program).
Students living with families and are provided with three meals per day. In San Cristóbal , breakfasts are typically at the student's place of residence (host family), and group meals are arranged for lunches and dinners in local restaurants around town.
See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for immunizations to take effect. The CDC recommends the following vaccines for Ecuador (as appropriate for age):
Malaria is not a problem in Quito or the Galapagos, although it is found in Ecuador at altitudes below 1,500 meters. There will be short trips planned to the Amazon jungle and the Ecuadorian coast during the first three weeks of the program, and malaria medication is recommended for these regions. For this reason, you should discuss the proper malaria medication with your doctor and take the necessary precautions. Larium is the drug recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
A WHO vaccination record (with yellow fever vaccination record) is REQUIRED to get to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon jungle. Local authorities will not permit you to enter the region without it.
Foreign Entry Requirements
You are strongly encouraged to read the U.S. State Department's Consular Information Sheet on your host countries. It will provide you with a great deal of information to help you prepare for your trip.
Please note that EIU does not own, operate, or sponsor this program.