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This program explores and examines the social, economic, political, and cultural impacts of globalization on indigenous peoples, and the ways in which communities respond and adapt to these transformations in Peru. You can rapidly advance your Spanish and also learn introductory Quechua, an indigenous language of the Andean region.
Through my studies in Peru, I learned about indigenous populations in an array of settings, from the classroom to the Amazon to the metropolitan center of Lima. This was a kind of experiential learning which fundamentally changed the things I thought I knew about the world.
Cass Madden, Tufts University
In the Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization study abroad program, you will examine Peru's traditional and contemporary indigenous societies in the context of Peruvian identity politics and the economic pressures of globalization. With 35 to 45 percent of the country's population identifying as either an Andean peasant or as a member of a native Amazonian community, Peru is an ideal location to learn about and observe firsthand the pressures indigenous peoples currently face. You will be challenged to scrutinize the complexities of multiple identities, transformation, and marginalization visible in Peru today.
In addition to the in-country orientation and concluding reentry and wrap-up exercises, the program consists of the following components:
In the first phase of the program, you will spend six weeks living with a homestay family in middle-class neighborhoods located 10–15 minutes from downtown Cuzco. You will participate in lectures on topics such as political violence, Andean and Amazonian cultures, gender issues, indigenous movements, international indigenous law and human rights, extractive industries, and the environment.
Field-based exercises are an essential component of the program. The Research Methods and Ethics course focuses on field research methods and the ethical considerations of conducting field research in a study abroad context. In the course, you will study various topics such as appropriate methodologies; research proposal development; gathering, organizing, and communicating data; developing skills in observation and interviewing; and research ethics and the World Learning / SIT Human Subjects Review Policy.
Assignments provide an opportunity for you to test these and other techniques introduced during the course, while providing opportunities for in-depth discussions. Throughout the course, you will work to properly develop your research proposals for your Independent Study Project. By the end of the course, you will significantly advance your initial ideas, assumptions, and drafts in close consultation with their academic director.
You will spend the last month of the program working on an Independent Study Project (ISP) in which you conduct primary research on a selected topic. The ISP allows you to directly apply the concepts and skills learned in the thematic seminars and Research Methods and Ethics course, while providing the opportunity for you to deepen your knowledge of a topic of particular significance to you. Sample ISP topic areas include but are not limited to:
The ISP advisor is generally a host national or long-time foreign resident in Peru who has expertise in your field of interest. Advisors include host-country academics, field professionals, and other experts. The advisor works with you on the design and implementation of the research project. Generally, you will meet with your advisor prior to the initiation of research to explore your plan and preliminary project proposal. Once the research plan has been agreed upon, you and your advisor will meet or communicate regularly to monitor the progress of your research and to discuss unexpected issues that may arise. With the culmination of the research portion of the ISP, you will meet or communicate with your advisor to discuss the data and results of your fieldwork.
Four recent semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT.
Through the interdisciplinary coursework in the Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization program, students learn about the history and cultural identity of Peru's native Andean, Amazonian, and campesina communities while examining these groups' community development, preservation, and advocacy efforts in the context of shifting global forces. Students participate in a variety of research and cultural activities throughout the semester and learn from researchers, academics, professionals, practitioners, and community experts. During the final month of the semester, students leverage their field study experience and research skills to conduct an Independent Study Project (ISP).
The following syllabi are from a recent or upcoming semester of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of unique learning opportunities, actual course content varies from semester to semester.
Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.
The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
The Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization program includes educational excursions designed to directly complement and enhance classroom study and fieldwork. Through excursions, you will experience the innovative ways in which indigenous peoples in Peru are working toward their own community development and cultural preservation in the face of shifting global influences.
At the end of orientation, you will undertake a one-day excursion by train to Machu Picchu. Built at the beginning of the fifteenth century, Machu Picchu is located on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba River. It is Peru's most important archaeological site, and in 2007 was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Madre de Dios, located in the southeastern region of the Peruvian Amazon bordering Brazil, is a storehouse of tropical biodiversity and renewable and nonrenewable resources. However, the effects of globalization make this region more than a natural paradise; various competing economic activities, including petroleum interests, gold mining, timber, agriculture, natural protected areas, hydroelectrics, and the inter-oceanic highway megaproject compete for power, resources, and rights. In the middle of these conflicts are the indigenous peoples who have occupied this region for millennia, including the Matsiguenka, Ese Eja, and Harakmbut, as well as other communities such as the Shipibos, Quichuarunas, Ashaninca, and Yines that have arrived in this region as a result of extractive enterprise displacement processes. These groups have organized into the Native Federation of Madre de Dios (FENAMAD) and have achieved significant advances in defense of their territorial rights.
You will travel in Amazonia for one week, where you will attend lectures from indigenous leaders and participate in local community activities. For four days, you will stay in indigenous communities and have the opportunity to learn firsthand about Amazonian livelihood systems. You will have the opportunity to build a broad understanding of the ways in which indigenous peoples are confronting the impacts of globalization.
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and, by volume, the largest lake in South America. During this excursion, you will visit the indigenous community of the Uros, an Aymara people, who today live on floating totora reed islands at an altitude of 12,494 feet. When the Incas, under Emperor Pachacútec, reached Lake Titicaca in the fifteenth century, inhabitants of the area were forced to withdraw. Since then, the Uros have overcome harsh living conditions by relying on fishing, which comprises their main source of food as well as a bartering resource. Due to the impossibility of agricultural and livestock activities in the region, the Uros have increasingly sought alternative means of survival.
After visiting the Uros, you will travel to Taquile Island, located at an altitude of 12,507 feet. The island has been populated since the pre-Columbian period and remained almost isolated until the 1970s when it was mentioned in the South American Tourism Handbook, which induced adventurers to the island. You will stay on the island for four days and will learn about the way of life of the Taquileños, who are now famous for their traditional weaving.
Known as “the white city” because of the use of the volcanic white rock sillar in their buildings, Arequipa is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is surrounded by three volcanoes (Misti, Chachani, and Pichu Pichu) and integrates European and native building techniques and characteristics, and it is filled with the work of colonial masters and criollo and indigenous masons, resulting in captivating ornamental architecture. While in Arequipa, you will attend lectures on research methods and ethics and have the opportunity to process your learning experiences from your rural homestay. From Arequipa, you will also visit Colca Valley, the world's second-deepest canyon (3,400 meters deep) and home to the condor, one of the largest birds in the world.
Lima is Peru's capital and largest city. During the four-day excursion to Lima, you will explore the reality of urban migration and examine the various factors that contribute to this phenomenon. Lima provides a unique opportunity for you to develop a firsthand sense of "power wielding.” As the capital of Peru, Lima is the epicenter of native advocacy activism, initiatives of lobby groups, and policy action.
While in Lima, you will visit a community of indigenous Shipibos from the Peruvian Amazon, who arrived in Lima in 2000, seeking opportunities for education, healthcare, and employment. This community is located in Cantagallo, an impoverished zone in the center of Lima, located just five minutes from the Government Palace.
A native of Cuzco, Dr. Alvarez received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from the National University of Cuzco, his master’s in social sciences with a focus in environmental management and development from the Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLASCO), and his PhD in development studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. During the course of his studies, Alex received doctoral fellowships at the National Centre of Competence in North-South Research in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Russell E. Train Education for Nature program with the World Wildlife Fund. He also received the Exchange Legacy Lelong grant for social anthropology research from the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in France.
Alex became interested at an early age in indigenous communities of the Amazon and the Peruvian Andes, especially the impact of public policy on aspects of indigenous life. The results of his research have been presented in several scientific papers as well as at conferences in Peru and abroad. His latest publication, in the Latin American Journal of Conservation, explores the relationship of land ownership and the conservation of natural resources in terms of environmental sustainability and social justice in the Peruvian Amazon. He provides volunteer technical and scientific support to the Indigenous Federation of Madre de Dios (FENAMAD) in southeastern Peru on issues related to environmental governance, property rights, cultural landscapes, natural resource extraction, and conservation of biodiversity in indigenous territories.
Milagros del Carpio studied social communication at San Antonio Abad University in Cuzco. She has worked for several years in the fields of alternative cross-cultural education and environmental education. She specializes in interpersonal relations training with adults and young leaders as well as large-scale public service campaigns through international NGOs such as CARE and UNICEF. As a journalist, she worked at the newspaper El Comercio and the magazine Somos in Lima. She has also hosted a radio program in Cuzco, Como en Casa. In addition, she has acted in several plays and a television production and had the lead role in two Peruvian films about terrorism and drug trafficking. In her role as program coordinator, Milagros works with the academic director in developing program activities, helps oversee the program’s structure, and assists students with daily issues and cross-cultural communication.
Julia was born in the Apurimac region, in the southern part of the Andean mountains of Peru. She is a native Quechua speaker; she learned her second language of Spanish at the age of 16. Due to political violence in Peru, she had to leave that region, migrating to Cuzco. Julia has worked with the program since 2010, performing administrative duties and supporting students and staff. In 2013, Julia began work as the program’s rural coordinator and is in charge of the coordination of homestays and field activities on Taquile Island and in Arequipa.
Luis Nieto Degregori holds a degree in philology from the University Patricio Lumumba in Moscow and was a professor at the National University of San Cristóbal de Huamanga throughout periods of political violence in Peru. Luis Nieto is one of the most important contemporary writers in Peru. He has written several novels and short stories, many of them about political violence, as well as historic and urban novels like Señores de Estos Reynos, Cuzco Después del Amor, and Asesinato en la Gran Ciudad del Cuzco, among many others. Nieto is also a renowned researcher and independent consultant, with extensive literary publications, essays, and newspaper articles. He is currently coordinator of the dissemination unit of the indigenous nongovernmental organization Guaman Poma de Ayala and the editor of the journal Crónicas Urbanas.
Antonio Zapata Velasco earned his PhD in history with a specialization in Latin America at Columbia University, New York. He is a well-known historian, political consultant, university professor, and writer, renowned for his research on Peruvian history and sociopolitical issues. Previously, he was a professor at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos; currently, he is a professor at the Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú. Dr. Zapata is also a columnist for one of the most important newspapers in Peru, La República, and a political analyst. He is an associated researcher at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP) and was formerly the director and presenter of the television history program Sucedió en el Perú.
Lucy Ann Trapnell is an anthropologist and professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú with a master’s degree in education from Bath University, UK. She is co-founder of the Programa de Formación de Maestros Bilingües de la Amazonia Peruana, a training program for bilingual Peruvian Amazonian teachers, which is used by the indigenous confederation AIDESEP. Throughout the last twenty-five years she has been involved in teacher training programs with Amazonian indigenous peoples in addition to developing many studies and publishing diverse articles on intercultural bilingual education, with an emphasis in curricular topics and educational practice.
Richard Chase Smith is the executive director of the Instituto del Bien Común (IBC), in Lima, Peru. He earned a doctorate in anthropology from Cornell University and has since held positions as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, a visiting senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center and a professor at the National Agrarian University in Lima. He has resided and worked in Peru (and other Amazonian-Andean countries) for the past 40 years. His primary focus has been the invisibility of indigenous peoples in Peru and Latin America, with his initial work concentrating on political organization for land rights for indigenous peoples, analyzing this topic in terms of the Yánesha people and the Amazon Basin at the national and continental level. Dr. Smith has also been the director of the South America program for Oxfam America for fifteen years.
Alberto Chirif is a Peruvian anthropologist from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru. For the last 40 years, his professional practice has focused on Amazonian topics, especially concerning the collective rights of indigenous peoples. He works as an independent consultant and has written many specialized articles and books, including Atlas de Comunidades Nativas, El Indígena y Su Territorio, and Marcando Territorio: Progresos y Limitaciones de la Titulación de Territorios Indígenas en la Amazonía.
Ramón Pajuelo is an anthropologist from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru, and holds two master’s degrees, one in Latin American history from the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, and one in Andean history from the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (Ecuador). He is principal researcher at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, the most prestigious social studies institute in the country. His work focuses on rural communities and indigenous peoples as well as social movements and ethnicity and politics.
Silvio Campana has been the official governmental ombudsman for the Cuzco region since 1998 and is a member of the Anticorruption Unit of the Peruvian National Ombudsman’s Office. He is a lawyer from the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal (Lima, Peru), specializing in criminal law, human rights, and conflict resolution. He holds two master’s degrees from the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (Spain), conducted postgraduate studies in human rights and health at the Universidad Cayetano Heredia (Lima, Peru), and was an intern at the USAID program for human rights and democracy. He has been an advisor of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, director of various international cooperation projects, and professor at the Universidad Andina del Cusco.
Thomas Moore is a US-born anthropologist who earned his PhD at the Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research, New York. He conducted ethnological field research among the Harakbut in south eastern Peru (1973–75) and has maintained a relationship with them and other indigenous peoples of the region since then. He is co-founder and the first president and executive director of Centro Eori de Investigación y Promoción Regional, a nongovernmental organization based in Puerto Maldonado, and has been a short-term advisor to many indigenous organizations in Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia. He has taught anthropology at four universities in the US and at San Marcos University in Peru. Additionally, he has managed diverse development programs for USAID in South and Central America and Pakistan and for the United Nations Development Programme in Peru.
Daniel Rodriguez, PhD candidate at Kent University, UK, is an anthropologist actively involved in a broad range of issues relating to indigenous rights in the Madre de Dios river basin in southeastern Peru, with a special focus on voluntarily isolated indigenous peoples. Most of his work has been developed within indigenous organizations, in particular advising FENAMAD (Federación Nativa de Madre de Dios) on the impacts of gold mining and oil and gas concessions, and potential effects of mining on voluntarily isolated indigenous peoples. He has worked with the Ese Eja people in Peru and Bolivia and People and Plants International's Cultural Landscapes and Resource Rights Program since 2005.
The program includes urban and rural homestays in order to expose you to different Peruvian lifestyles, perspectives, and identities. By sharing daily activities with your families, you will be fully immersed within the local culture and have a unique opportunity to practice your Spanish and Quechua language skills.
You will live with host families for six weeks in one of two neighborhoods along Cuzco's Avenida Cultural. You will engage in daily activities with your homestay family that can include playing soccer in the neighborhood park, taking weekend trips, or joining in celebrations and religious holidays. Through daily conversations with host family members, you will discuss your impressions and experiences of Cuzco while exchanging cultural information and insights.
You will also spend four days living with a Quechua-speaking family on Taquile Island. In this community, you will become immersed in the daily routine of the Andean countryside, including assisting your families in the sowing of potatoes or the grazing of cows or sheep.
Other accommodations during the program include hostels, private homes, and small hotels in the Amazon.
A diversity of students representing different colleges, universities, and majors study abroad on this program. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect back to their experience abroad with SIT. Learn what some of them are now doing.
Alumni are also furthering their studies through Fulbright, master’s, and PhD programs. Others are working for a wide range of organizations and institutions in diverse areas from the arts to academic fields related to social and economic issues.
The dates listed above are tentative. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.
Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.
Application Deadline: Nov 1, 2015
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.