Last Updated on November 18, 2021 by AIFS Abroad
Sea lions, giant tortoises and penguins – oh my! Explore the ecosystems and biodiversity of the Galápagos Islands this summer. Get inspired by the same locations that influenced Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection.
When it comes to finding the right study abroad location to explore environmental science and biodiversity, it’s hard to choose a better destination than the Galápagos Islands. Located about 600 miles west of Ecuador’s mainland in the Pacific Ocean, the Galápagos Islands are home to many endemic species (species found nowhere else on Earth). In fact, scientists estimate that about 80% of the land birds, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals and more than 20% of the marine species are unique to the Galápagos.
Study Environmental Science Abroad in the Galápagos
Earn up to 3 credits taking the course Ecosystems and Biodiversity in the Galápagos this summer. The course is based at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) extension campus on the island of San Cristóbal and taught by USFQ faculty. Through classroom discussions and experiential learning, you’ll explore how colonization threatened the ecosystems of the islands and learn about the different approaches taken to minimize these threats over the last 50 years. You’ll also discuss how the decisions of today will impact the future of the Galápagos.
Students studying abroad in the Galápagos also learn outside the classroom. Your classroom learning is enhanced through field trips where you can experience the biodiversity and sustainability efforts of the islands firsthand. Field trips include multiple snorkel excursions, bird walks and a visit to La Galapaguera Tortoise Breeding Station. You’ll also explore the sustainability efforts of the islands through field trips to a local recycling plant and an organic coffee plantation.
USFQ and AIFS promote conservation and sustainable tourism in the Galápagos Islands through education and research. All visits on the islands are to designated visitor sites. Additionally, the AIFS Green Initiative provides carbon offsetting for all AIFS flights.
What is it like studying abroad in the Galápagos Islands?
“My experience with AIFS Study Abroad in the Galápagos was beyond anything I could have imagined. I learned so much inside and outside of the classroom. The staff on the trip were very great at making me feel safe while abroad and in a new place that is out of my comfort zone in more ways than one.” – Olivia B., AIFS in Galápagos Islands, Ecuador alum.
“I believe the pace and intensity of [the course I took] enhanced my learning the most through interactive classes and professors who were excited to teach us about Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution. We were taught in the classroom for three hours a day and were then able to use this knowledge to go on afternoon field trips and learn about these concepts in greater depth. These field trips allowed us to feel more engaged with our class topic and helped me explore my own self-interests.” – Isabel S., AIFS in Galápagos Islands, Ecuador alum.
“Definitely one of the most unique experiences of my life. Being able to explore the Galápagos and then see how life is different on the mainland in Ecuador was truly unique. And it’s not just for science majors! Anyone can find something in this trip that will inspire them.” – Julia L., AIFS in Galápagos Islands, Ecuador alum.