FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY

         THE HONORS COLLEGE AMAZON PROGRAM

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EXPERIENCE THE AMAZON!

The Amazon is one of the last frontiers on earth – a land still largely unknown in many respects, yet one that is increasingly exploited and vulnerable to destruction. Over the past 500 years, the Amazon has been a refuge for persecuted tribes, a Holy Grail and gravesite for fortune seekers, a religious, political and ecological battleground, a potential source of miracle cures, and home to an incredible array of plants and animals. The Amazon rainforests and rivers have inspired writers, artists, visionaries, filmmakers and politicians, and have given rise to some of the most persistent and fallacious of “urban legends.” Today, perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing the Amazon is how to reconcile the global calls to “save the Amazon” with the needs of Amazon countries to feed and employ their populations.

This is an interdisciplinary service and research Honors College program with a four-week study abroad component in the Amazon rainforest of Peru. During the spring semester, students are introduced to various aspects of the Amazon, including its natural and cultural history. The course also covers the present day Amazon and current challenges facing the Amazon environment and its people, particularly those affecting the region the students will be visiting in summer. Course faculty will provide guidance in helping each student develop a project they will implement in the Amazon, ensuring the project is feasible, culturally appropriate, and relevant to interests and concerns in the region. Students will learn to apply interdisciplinary approaches which may, but do not have to be, directly related to their major.

During the Summer B semester, students will three weeks at a biological research station in the Amazon.  Communities of various indigenous peoples are found scattered throughout this exceptionally ecologically diverse area, which provides habitats to a wide variety of rare animal species and supports one of the highest levels of tree biodiversity in the world. During their stay here, students will work with faculty and members of the local communities to implement their projects, learning what it is like to try to address real environmental, social, and cultural concerns. A few additional days will be spent during orientation and course wrap-up in Iquitos, Peru.  The colorful city is considered one of the main entry ways into the Amazon and is a monument to the history of European influence in the region. Students will have the opportunity to mingle with local people and practice Spanish as they experience the diversity of cultures that meet in this vibrant part of the world.

Click here to learn more about issues in the Peruvian Amazon and the types of service research our students are invovlved in.

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