Sadie Robertson ’11: Valparaíso, Chile (SIT)
Three words to sum up my abroad experience in Valparaíso, Chile: I love Valpo. The city is vibrant, cheerful, and artsy; with brightly colored buildings and apartments that line the hills looking down onto the Pacific Ocean. The people of Valpo are friendly and welcoming to outsiders. I went to Valpo through SIT: Culture, Development, Social Justice. While the program seems a little too restrictive at the beginning, they slowly loosen their grasp on you so that during the last month where students do their Independent Study Project (ISP) you are completely on your own (if you want to be). During this period you can live almost anywhere you want in Chile in order to research the topic of your choice. Because I loved the city so much I stayed in Valparaiso and wrote my thesis on the juvenile detention centers surrounding Valpo and the marginalization of the kids who cycle through them. My Spanish improved immensely, and I came out of Chile confident with my Spanish speaking abilities. Some advice: make some Chilean friends (it’s not hard!) and speak with them. They love it, will probably try their English out on you, and are open and laid back conversationalists. The cafés are perfect for studying in, the streets a joy to walk (or climb, as Valpo is incredibly hilly), and the clubs at night are hoppin’ with cumbia and reggaeton. This program is perfect for any Spanish speaking anthropology major.
Sara Field ’11J: Quito, Ecuador (SIT)
I studied abroad with SIT Ecuador: culture and development in Fall of 2009. After a month long intensive Spanish course in a suburb of Quito, we lived in Quito for about a month taking courses as a group detailing development in the country, from economic to cultural. Following Quito, our group of about 20 students split up to do Independent Study Projects (ISPs). All sections of the program involved living with amazing local homestay families. I spent the next month in Cuenca, 10 hours south of Quito, where I did a mini-ethnographic study and participant observation with an abused women’s shelter. The program also has wonderful excursions, including ones to the Cloud Forest, the Amazon Rain Forest, and the coast. Ecuador is a lively and diverse country, and this program enabled me to learn about the history, development and current events in Ecuador in a very engaging way.
Loretta Biss ’10: Quito, Ecuador (Duke in the Andes)I studied abroad last semester in Quito, Ecuador with a Duke University program called Duke in the Andes. It was an absolutely wonderful experience, and I think it is perfect for an anthropology student. I attended 4 classes at an Ecuadorian university, lived with a host family, and volunteered at an elementary school for indigenous children. In addition to our time in Quito, the program featured four trips to different areas around Ecuador: an indigenous community in the mountains, the Amazon forest, the coastal region, and the Galapagos Islands. All of these trips were amazing, and I learned so much about the diverse peoples of Ecuador: the indigenous groups of the mountains, rain forest, and coast, as well as the Afro-Ecuadorian community