“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
The program is designed to promote five goals: to enable participants to (1) acquire or reacquire knowledge and skills associated with Spanish, (2) gain confidence in its use, (3) acquire knowledge of a Hispanic culture, (4) acquire knowledge of psychological and educational practices in Ecuador, and (5) acquire a personal understanding of Ecuador. Each of these is described in some detail below.
Gain Confidence in the Use of Spanish
Immersion methods are used to facilitate Spanish reacquisition. Participants generally acquired confidence in using Spanish due to the encouragement received from their family and school officials as well as through language instruction.
Participants will travel by public transportation to Quito to receive a program of formal Spanish instruction and to discuss their respective experiences. Spanish classes will be offered daily. The promotion of Spanish written language skills also is important and is expected to occur. Participants will be expected to read textbooks and a newspaper daily.
Acquire knowledge of Psychological and Educational Practices in Ecuador
Four Week Cultural Immersion Experience participants will work either in a public school or a hospital or other clinical facility four days weekly. 10-Day Cultural Boost participants will receive didactic training in psychological and educational practices from professionals in each field. The purpose of this work is to acquire knowledge of psychological and educational services to children and youth public in Ecuador; serve as a consultant to administrators, teachers, and others; and to provide needed services as requested. Participants will be expected to engage in one or more projects that have potential of having an important and enduring contribution to the setting in which they work. In addition, participants will have the opportunity and be encouraged to submit the outcome of their projects for presentations at national conventions such as the National Association of School Psychologists, American Psychological Association, and American Educational Research Association. The nature of these projects will be determined by agreements between the professional personnel and program participants.
Reacquire Knowledge and Skills Associated with Spanish
A principal goal of this program is to help participants acquire or refresh and advance their use of oral and written Spanish. Participants will be expected to attempt to use Spanish almost exclusively. Thus, most participants should have some foundation knowledge of Spanish acquired from living in a family in which Spanish is spoken, living abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, taking high school or college courses, or acquiring Spanish language skills in other ways. However, applicants with little to no Spanish are considered. Participants also will be expected to commit to working with Spanish speaking persons following this program.
Participants will acquire or reacquire fluency by using Spanish daily in their homes, schools, and through formal language study. Each participant will live with a family in which Spanish is its primary and often exclusive language, will work in a clinic facility or school in which Spanish is the primary language, and will be exposed to Spanish language through media, newspapers, and other social and cultural activities. In addition, participants will receive small group Spanish language instruction designed to promote further competence in both oral and written Spanish.
Acquire Knowledge of Hispanic Culture
One acquires knowledge of culture best by living in it and studying it. Each participant will live in the home of a family that speaks Spanish. Each participant will have a private room and eat meals with and engage in family life in other ways. Participants also are expected to engage in community activities. Given the warmth of Ecuadorian families, participants often quickly become members of their extended family, are informed of family rules and traditions, and are expected to honor them. Participants also well meet as a group weekly. The nature of these meetings is discussed below.
Acquire knowledge of Ecuador
Ecuador has become an international destination for travelers who seek an understanding of its bio-ecological environment, walk the rain forests, enjoy its beautiful beaches, roam its volcanoes, explore its lovely smaller communities, and experience some of the country’s national holidays. Planned excursions and weekend trips allow participants to acquire an understanding of the country outside Quito.